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Motorboat on the WaterIf you own a boat, you should be aware of the concept of a float plan. Before you depart on your boat, you should always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to arrive. That way, if something happens and you don't make it to your destination, people will know that you're missing — allowing a search and rescue effort to commence more quickly. If you are just going out for a few hours, verbal communication may be adequate. However, if you are planning a longer outing, it is worthwhile to consider creating a formal written float plan.

What does a float plan consist of?

A float plan should include the following at minimum:
  • A description of the boat or watercraft
  • A list of who is on board
  • A list of the safety equipment you have on board
  • Your destination
  • When you expect to arrive at your destination
Although you don't need to use a special form, it may be easier and more convenient to fill out a pre-printed float plan, which you can find on the US Coast Guard website.

What do you do with your float plan?

Before you leave, provide a copy of your float plan with a friend or your marina. Let them know that you would like them to notify the Coast Guard if you have not arrived within a certain amount of time from your anticipated arrival. Be sure to notify them if your plans change. Also notify them upon your arrival back at the dock.

It is important to note that you shouldn't file the float plan with the Coast Guard. They will not accept it.

Who should create a float plan?

Anyone who is heading out for a significant period of time should create a float plan. This is the case regardless of the size of the boat or number of passengers. Kayakers, jet skiiers and yacht owners should all fill out a float plan if they plan on being out on the water for a long period of time.

Relying on a family member to remember the details of your trip that you mentioned verbally is not adequate. In an emergency situation, you want factual information to be conveyed accurately so rescue personnel can find you quickly. A float plan ensures this will happen, and it could help save your life in case of an emergency.

Enjoy the water with peace of mind. Call Silver Coast Insurance at (909) 877-2200 for more information on Rancho Cucamonga boat insurance.
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