The Importance of a Float Plan

The best thing you can do before heading out on a boat trip is to leave a float plan with someone you trust, especially if you plan to take a longer boat trip. Float Plans are a rescue tool for authorities in case of an accident. It should be left with someone you can rely on to notify the appropriate authorities if you cannot return on time.

What information should a float plan contain?

  • The name and description of the owner or operator
  • The names, descriptions, and info of the passengers
  • Information about the vessel: its size, type, color, engine, etc.
  • Onboard safety equipment
  • Details about the trip: departure, return date, route, stops along the way, etc.

Boaters can communicate Float Plans via paper, telephone, email, texts, or other forms of communication, but keeping Float Plan forms around is probably easiest. A paper Float Plan can be left with a friend, relative, or marina in an emergency. The operator should always tell the plan owner when they arrived safely at the next stop or if the trip was delayed. Doing this will avoid search and rescue resources.The US Coast Guard has made Float Plan forms available on their website at for you to copy and use.



Take My Boat exam on a tablet