Whether you’re the skipper of a 50-foot yacht or a 10-foot kayak, a boat swimming plan is important before spending time in the water. Many people mistakenly think that a boating swim plan is only necessary when operating a large boat, but a swim plan is always beneficial in an emergency situation, regardless of the size or type of the vessel.
How is a boat plan helpful? There are detailed facts that need to be accessed and communicated in an emergency. Without a filing plan, you have to hope that someone else can remember all of the detailed information that the rescue personnel need to locate you, your boat and your passengers.
Float plans are easy to update and complete. In fact, you can even find free downloadable PDF float plan forms online from the US Coast Guard and US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Many marine insurers also offer sample forms for float plans. You can make a master copy and then update it as needed.
Learn about some of the key details that should be included in a float plan.
When you have your boating swimming plan finalized, leave it to a reliable person you can rely on to notify the Coast Guard in case you don’t come back or check in as expected. When you arrive safely at your destination, don’t forget to check in so everyone knows that you have come back safely.
- Description of the vessel, including boat registration numbers, size, brand, capacity, power and engine type.
- Destination, your detailed route, planned departure time and estimated return time
- Include the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone on board and an emergency contact.
- List of boat safety equipment and survival equipment on board.
- List of communication systems on board.
- Include a recent clear photo of your ship.
Once you’ve completed your boating swim schedule and completed your boat safety checklist, leave it to a reliable person you can rely on to notify the Coast Guard in case you don’t come back or check in as expected. When you arrive safely at your destination, don’t forget to check in so everyone knows that you have come back safely.