Those headed out to open water on a boat, kayak, or other watercraft should leave a float plan behind. This document is the best thing you, your friends, family, and search officials can have in the event of an emergency.
The Float Plan Document
Float plans provide authorities an overview of your planned boating excursion, giving them a head start in the search should a boater fail to reach his or her destination. There are several things your float plan should include. A thorough description of the vessel, with the name, color, type of boat, size of the motor, and vessel ID number can help authorities identify your craft more easily. Include the name of all persons that are onboard, where your final destination is, and approximately how long the outing is going to take place. Make sure to include the route that you plan on taking, as well. Provide any contact information you have for people onboard.
The Document’s Safekeeping
Floatplanes aren’t required to be filed with the Coast Guard, so don’t leave your document with the local office. Have a trusted family member, a friend, or the marina dockmaster hold on to a copy of the float plan. They will be able to get a hold of the Coast Guard if there is an emergency. If your plans change or you cancel the trip, be sure to let your contact person know.