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.
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.