If you are planning to go on a weekend water outing with your friends or family, a float plan is a must for you. A float plan is one of the most important safety measures for boating enthusiasts!
Boating has become a common outdoor activity for people. There are many people who enjoy going on water outings for fishing and leisure during the weekend.
However, your fun and adventurous weekend trip can soon turn into a nightmare if you don’t take safety precautions.
Many accidents can occur during your weekend water outing. The smooth waves can turn violent, winds and weather might get worse, your boat might stop working, etc.
All these things will leave you stranded in the middle of the ocean with limited supplies. In order to avoid this problem, you need to prepare a float plan in advance.
A float plan will give all the necessary information about your boating trip to authorities in case of emergencies. It will help speed up rescue missions.
However, the most important thing is not to create a float plan but to hand it over to a responsible person. After you create your float plan, you need to leave it with your friends or family, who will notify the authorities if you go missing.
What Is A Float Plan?
It is a document that contains all the necessary information about your boating or weekend outing trip. Moreover, it is also known as a trip plan.
It will include the entire plan of your boating trip. It is like leaving footprints on the water so that people can track you.
You have to prepare a float plan in advance so that you can hand it over to a responsible person. In this document, you need to provide information about the boat or vessel, passengers in a vessel, travel plan, emergency equipment, etc.
If anything happens to you or if the responsible person doesn’t hear from you, they can immediately hand over the float plan to rescue authorities.
It will help the authorities to take immediate action and follow the information given in the plan to speed up the rescue process.
The rescue team can easily locate your vessel in case of emergency if they have a float plan to follow. Because of this reason, it is mandatory to create and float plan before every water outing.
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What Information Should Be Included In The Float Plan?
If you want to return safely from a weekend water outing, you need to fill in a float plan correctly and enter valid information. In case there are changes in your plan, you need to update the plan or inform the responsible person about it. Here is the information you need to include in a float plan.
- Vessel Details:
It will contain all the information about the boat or vessel you are using for the trip. As there are many different types of boats, you need to provide specific information. It must include,
- Name of the vessel
- Registration number
- Type of boat
- Colour of the boat
- Size of the boat
- Type of engine
- Passenger capacity of the boat
- A year and make of the vessel
- Unique features of the boat
- Photo of your boat
- Safety Equipment Details:
Apart from providing information about the boat, you also need to provide information about the safety equipment available in the boat for an emergency. It will help the rescue team to plan the mission. Here is the information you need to provide.
- Sound signals
- Visual distress signals
- Charts, radar, maps
- Number of life jackets
- Colour of life jackets
- Navigation equipment
- Passenger Information:
A float plan must also include passenger information. You need to provide information about the total number of people on board. You need to provide basic as well as background information about them. It must include,
- Name of the boat operator
- Address of the operator
- The contact number of the boat operator
- Total number of passengers on the boat
- Name, contact number and address of each passenger
- Emergency contact information
- Information about allergies and medical conditions of all the passengers
- Photo of each passenger
- Route and Timing Information:
This is the most crucial information. It helps the rescue team to narrow down and start their search. It should include,
- Date and time of departure
- Expected duration of the trip
- Anticipated arrival date and time
- Information about the travel route
- Information about possible detours
- Emergency instructions
You need to include all this information in your travel plan. Make sure you enter the correct details.
How to Create a Float Plan?
A float plan is not a formal document. You can easily use a pen and paper to create a float plan. Simply enter all the important information and hand it over to a responsible person.
You can also create a soft copy of your float plan and share it online. There are many online templates available on multiple websites. You can simply copy the format or download the float plan, fill it and share it with your friends and family.
Nowadays, many people are creating an online float plan and sharing them with their loved ones on the cloud so that they can easily update all the changes.
What Should You Do With Your Float Plan for a Weekend Water Outing?
If you are going on a weekend water outing, simply creating a float plan is not enough. You need to share it with the right person. It will help the person to call for help if there is an emergency on your weekend water outing.
You don’t need to mail it to your home address or to the nearest coast guard station. Instead, you need to leave it with your close friends or relatives.
The person should be trustworthy and reliable. It should be someone who can notify the search authorities if you don’t return from your trip.
You need to be regularly in contact with this person so that you can inform them about the emergency or change in plans.
You can also share your float plan with a trusted agency. There are many search agencies that provide this service.
Many people leave their float plan with their local marina. They might help you in case of an emergency during the trip.
It is wise to create a soft copy of a float plan using the right template with correct details and share it with at least two trusted people. You can share it with your neighbours, relatives, family, friends, colleagues, trusted agency of the local marina.
Most of the people who frequently go on weekend water outings have a dedicated person to leave the float plan with. It helps them to easily communicate with them and inform them of the travelling plan.
Once you return safely from your trip, make sure you deactivate the float plan by informing the person. It will help them to avoid calling for an unnecessary rescue.
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