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Boat Float Plan: Include This Important Information

Whether you are the skipper of a 50-foot yacht or 10-foot kayak, a boat float plan is important to complete before spending time the water. Many people mistakenly think that a float plan for boating is only necessary when running a large boat, but a float plan will always be beneficial in an emergency situation, regardless of the size or type of vessel.

How is a boat float plan helpful? There are detailed facts that need to be recalled and communicated in the event of an emergency. Without having a float plan on file, you will have to hope that someone else can remember all the detailed information that rescue personnel will need in order to locate you, your boat, and your passengers.

Float plans are simple to update and complete. In fact, you can even find free downloadable PDF float plan forms online from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Many marine insurance providers also offer sample boat float plan forms. You can create a master copy and then just update as needed.

Learn more about some of the important details that should be included on a float plan.

Once you have completed your float plan for boating, be sure to leave it with a reliable person who you can depend on to notify the Coast Guard in the event you don't arrive back or check in as expected. When you do safely arrive at your destination, don't forget to check-in so that everyone knows you have arrived back safely.
 

  • Description of the vessel, including boat registration numbers, size, make, capacity, horsepower, and type of engine.
  • Destination, your detailed route, planned departure time, and expected return time
  • Include the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of everyone on board along with an emergency contact for each.
  • List of boat safety equipment and survival gear on board.
  • List of communication systems on board.
  • Include a recent clear photograph of your vessel.
Once you have completed your float plan for boating and completed your boat safety checklist, be sure to leave it with a reliable person who you can depend on to notify the Coast Guard in the event you don't arrive back or check in as expected. When you do safely arrive at your destination, don't forget to check-in so that everyone knows you have arrived back safely.    

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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.