WHY A FLOAT PLAN? Why should you take the time to prepare a float plan? The answer is simple... there are just too many facts that need to be accurately remembered and ultimately conveyed in an emergency situation. Without a float plan you are counting on someone else, a friend, neighbor, or family member to remember detailed information that rescue personnel need in order to find you. Information that can make a difference in the outcome.
WHO DOES DO A FLOAT PLAN? Who should prepare a float plan? Don't think for a minute that this is a device only for those with big boats who go offshore. A Float Plan is equally effective for the owner of a 10 foot kayak or flat-bottom skiff as it is for a 48-foot express cruiser, or a 90 foot sport-fishing vessel or luxury yacht. So, what kind of boaters prepare should float plans?
Typically, the Skipper of the vessel is the person who prepares the Float Plan. However, it is advisable that all passengers fill out their own Float Plan with sufficient detail so their emergency contact person (the person you leave the Plan with) can get in touch with the Captain and if necessary - the Coast Guard.
DO MOST OF IT AHEAD OF TIME. Most Plans can be almost completely filled out ahead of time (information that doesn't change trip-to-trip), and copies made from this to have on hand to make it easier to fill out with specific "trip information." The following links provide three Float Plan samples ranging from the detailed Coast Guard Auxilliary-published form that can be filled out on-lin and then printed, to a more simplified Plan more tailored to our local boating area. Feel free to pick and choose which approach works best for you. But do it...
REMEMBER - A Float Plan is one of the very few life-saving pieces of paper you'll ever run across...
Sample Float Plans
Coast Guard suggested float plan (On-line interactive version)
2) US Coast Guard suggested float plan (Blank copy for printing)
3) Simplified float plan with local Coast Guard emergency phone number