Float Plan

By: News Release
Jul 22nd, 2020

Imagine this: a mother comes to you needing help. Her 16-year-old son and a friend left this morning to go fishing. It is now after dark, storms are developing, and she hasn't heard from her son or his friend.

As a Coast Guard dispatcher, you must now launch a search for the missing boys so you ask the pertinent questions.

Q: Where were they going? A: On the river!

Q: Where did they launch from? A: Huh!

Q: What time were they due back? A: Don't know!

Q: Can you describe their boat? A: It was green and had a motor on the back!

And it goes downhill from there.

Sounds bad but this kind of conversation is not that uncommon. People have a tendency NOT to plan for disaster. That only happens to other people.

Loved ones get excited when family members do not return. In that excitement they may not remember all the important details.

Searching miles of water with little or no viable information makes rescue much more difficult and the delay could mean disaster for the missing party.

That is why all boaters should make regular use of a "FLOAT PLAN".

A float plan is simply a document that you fill out which describes your vessel in detail, who is on board, where you are going and when you should be expected back. Fill this out whether you are going out for the day or for a week. Local area or a long trip. Kayak or cruiser. Leave the completed form with a responsible person who will know when you return.

Whether you are a power boater or kayaker, the USCG Float Plan works for you.  Set up a basic plan ahead of time and save it on your computer. Update it when you decide where and when you're going to go. Then give your completed plan to whoever you choose to follow up should you not return or check-in as planned.

It is really simple to do. Go to http://www.cgaux.org/ and click on "Float Plan Central or go to  http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/ and download the form. Fill out the information that does not change such a vessel description and save it. Next time simply fill in the information for the current trip and give it to the right person.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org