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Whether you are looking forward to a day canoe trip with friends down a river just a couple of towns away or a week long adventure with family, a float plan should be part of your preparations to ensure the safety of everyone in your group and on your boat.

“I have never prepared a float plan before, why should I now?”

The U.S. Coast Guard refers to their float plan as the world’s only life-saving device on paper because no other float plan in the world speaks to both the preparer and the holder of the plan.

The reason a boater would even bother with a float plan to begin with is simple: there are just too many details that would need to be remembered and passed along should there be an emergency.

Seems pretty simple doesn’t it.

Float plans are not just for those folks who own a 65 foot yacht.  They are used by many different types of people, in different types of boats, participating in different kinds of activities, such as:

Power Boaters. Sail boaters. Family day cruisers. Sports fishermen. Private charter boat services. Kayakers. Canoeists. Rowers. Rafters. Jet Skiers. Water Skiers. Hunters.

Normally, it would be the skipper, the captain, or the person at the helm who would prepare the float plan, but it can be done by anyone in the group, as long as it gets done.

The USCG periodically updates their float plans to keep it updated to show the latest boat safety equipment and search and rescue practices and technology.  By downloading your copy from Float Plan Central, you know you always have the most up-to-date plan at your fingertips.

Once you have figured out the who, what, where, when, and how of your trip, take a moment to think about what equipment and provisions you will need.  Then, who the person is you will be filing your Float Plan with.  Be sure to leave it with someone you trust, someone you know will follow up on it and you.  Normally it would be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, the marina operator or park ranger perhaps.

Now as you are preparing your float plan, decide what level of detail you are going to need for the kind of activity you are planning.  There are two methods recommended by the USCG to figure this out:

1-      The General Purpose Planning method is reusable, perfect for the short – one day or less trip.  It is the faster of the two types of plans to do and it still provides the information a search and rescue team would need in an emergency.

2-      The Trip Specific Planning method is for a one-time use, for long even multi-day trips, it takes more time and thought to prepare depending on the complexity of the trip.  Most importantly – provides all the necessary information a search and rescue team would need.

The front side of the plan is where all the pertinent information will go; details about the boat itself, the people on board, what equipment you have, and your itinerary.  Fill it out to completion because the more information is passed on to those who will help, the faster help will come.

On the back of the Float Plan form is the Boating Emergency Guide, this is intended for the person you have trusted and filed the float plan with and will give them step-by-step instructions on how to proceed.

The Float Plan is another aid made available to you by the USCG to ensure your safety.  Not only to protect you and those who are with you but to protect your investment as well.  Your boat insurance company will appreciate your use of the Float Plan, as well.

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2 Responses to Is a Float Plan right for you?

  1. Jay Helms says:

    Greetings – I want to introduce your organization to our Float Plan app for iPhone / iPad: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/float-plan/id515421694?ls=1&mt=8

    We’re a little biased but we believe this is the quickest and easiest way to leave a float plan with multiple people.

    Thanks,

    Jay H.

    -www.facebook.com/bigtunaapps
    -Twitter: @bigtunaapps
    -web: http://www.bigtunaapps.com

  2. […] Home | Boat Insurance | About Us | Contact Us BoatBrowser.com   Is a Float Plan right for you? One ply better than two… By Admin On April 2, 2012 · Leave a Comment · In […]

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