Filing a Float Plan

September 22, 2021
File a Float Plan

The following excerpt is from the United States Coast Guard.

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.  All facts must be conveyed in an emergency situation. Without a float plan you are counting on someone else.  That is to say, a friend, neighbor, or family member needs to remember the information that rescue personnel need to find you.  Moreover, this information will make a difference in the outcome.

What size boat warrants a Float Plan?

Don’t think for a minute that this is only for those with big expensive boats.  For example, a float plan is equally effective for the owner of a 10 foot kayak.  Likewise for a flat-bottom skiff.  In addition it is just as important for a 48-foot express cruiser, or a 90 foot sport-fishing vessel.  So, what kind of boats require one?  You must consider the surrounding elements for instance.

It is simple to say that family day cruisers or let’s say private charter boat services should file a plan.  You have to ask yourself where will you be and for how long.  For example, power boaters are not likely to file a float plan if we are out on the lake for a few hours.   On the other hand, sail boaters who plan to tour all of the New England shores will absolutely file a plan.

It is always a good idea for kayakers, sportsmen, canoeists, rowers, stand up paddlers, and rafters to file a float plan.  These activities can turn dangerous in an instant.  PWC operators who plan to operate in large bodies of water and or are planning an overnight.  In the same vein, planning an overnight always constitutes a plan.

Who should prepare a float plan?

Typically, the operator of the vessel is the individual who prepares the plan. However, all persons onboard should be aware of the importance of letting someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Don’t be afraid to ask the operator if they have left a float plan with a reliable person.  Always include a photo of your vessel with your plan.

Of course this is readily available.  Here is a link from the United States Coast Guard:  Click here to download a PDF fillable form

Connecticut Boating Certificates covers this topic in their Public Classes.  Did you know that Connecticut’s license is reciprocal with the entire United States.