If you have ever been on the receiving end of a phone call or text telling you that a friend or loved one went out for a day sail and is overdue then you already have some idea of why it’s so important to file a float plan with someone.

The overdue skipper almost always calls to say everything’s fine. But a lot of worry and frustration could have been prevented by taking a few minutes to file a float plan. You can find one in the Skipper’s Handbook section at the front of every Watwerway Guide Book or CLICK HERE to download a printable version of this form PDF from BoatUS.

A float plan lets your family and friends know your whereabouts and, should a trip come to grief, the plan will give the searchers a valuable head start locating your boat.

Whether you are on the water for an afternoon or a month-long excursion, a float plan can be a lifesaver. Print out our easy-to-use form (below), fill it in and leave it with a spouse, other relative and/or a friend. You may even want to leave a copy with your marina manager.

The Float Plan starts with the basics: phone numbers to be called if the boat is overdue, a description of the boat, registration numbers, etc., that can be penciled in at the start of the season. Copies can then be made and details added before each trip.

Waterway Guide: Even for a Day Sail, It’s Smart to File a Float Plan

Note: The Coast Guard does not accept float plans and should only be notified by your spouse or friend if there is a “deviation” (you are overdue) from the float plan.

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