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Float Plans - Do you prepare them?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by VidaAqua, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. VidaAqua

    VidaAqua New Member

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    Why or Why not?

    I have been reading about this topic lately and it does not seem that very many people bother with float plans for their voyages. Do you? Why? Why not?

    Any float plan tips?

    Charter captains,

    Do you create float plans when you take customers out? if no, why not?
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Always! It's as simple as this: When I'm putting out I simply give my wife a description of the boat (including bottom paint color), how many adults and children are on board, where I'm leaving from and going to and an ETA. Generally I'll call her just before I break the inlet and give her my ETA inside my destination inlet. I generally add 15 minutes to that, and then if I'm an additional 15 minutes late she's to call the USCG (their number is in her speed dial). If I'm just running the bays it's much loser as in 'I hope to make_____ by ______'. Along the way I'll generally give her a call just to keep in touch, and then I'll call when I'm secured at the destination. I figure it will generally take the CG several hours before they mount a search. I don't want to spend any extra time treading water.
  3. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Do you mean Voyage Plans?
  4. VidaAqua

    VidaAqua New Member

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    When looking at the USCG site, they are referred to as Float Plans so that is what I called them here. Not sure about the terms Voyage Plans? What do you mean by it to see if we are talking about the same thing.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I'm sure he does mean Float Plan. You can actually download a formal float plan @ http://www.floatplancentral.org/ The main thing to remember is that a float plan is only as good as the person you give it too. Make sure they have to correct numbers to call and that you can count on them making the call without delay. Without a float plan it could literally be days before anyone starts looking for you. Of course, if you're running down the ICW to grab lunch, no need for one. You need it when you might be in adverse conditions, dangerous areas or areas where there won't be a lot of boats around to give assistance. If you go out into the ocean or any large body of water you should have one. Just the other day we had a boat go out fishing in LI Sound. While anchoring the boat flipped. Luckily the guys made it to shore, but had the currents pulled them away they wouldn't survive if no call was made til they didn't show up for work the next day.
  6. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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  7. goplay

    goplay Senior Member

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    My wife and I have cruised over 3000 miles in the last 12 months and have never filed a float plan. The USCG doesn't want to know about and we have no one we would file one with.

    Mind you, we have satellite Internet, satellite phone, all the USCG numbers for our route, and are diligent in tracking our position at intervals on paper.
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You sound like an island. That's sad. Besides being a smart thing to do, filing a float plan would give you an opportunity to form a bond with at least one other person. It might also give another person a connection they're lacking. There must be one person (old friend, distant relative, former co-worker) you wouldn't mind forming a long distance bond with. It could even give that person's life purpose. I have a 90 year old that I call each evening. Now, my float plan is usually my wife, but the 90 feels like she has a responsibility, and if I don't check in she'll call my wife. Sort of a back up system.:) Modern electronics are a wonderful thing, but they sometimes fail. Besides, things happen fast on a boat. Just watched a show last night about a boat that developed a list, and by the time the crew got to the engine room she rolled. No time for even a May Day. Even if an EPIRB activates the CG will only search so long and so hard. A call from a human might push them a little further.
  9. goplay

    goplay Senior Member

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    Puh-leaze. I said I don't file a float plan (with someone appropriate)... not sure how that equates to not having friends. Typical uncalled for comment from NYCAP123.
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Sorry, but that's how it sounded when you wrote
    And don't mistake compassion for insult.
    If that's not the case then it's just foolish not to file one. It's not a big imposition.
  11. goplay

    goplay Senior Member

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    No, that's how you chose to interpret it and respond to it. Of course you must be right.

    There is nothing wrong with filing a float plan. Unless you are on a strict schedule, then it provides a false sense of security. In the sudden sinkings that NYCAP123 referred to, I am not sure how a float plan would have helped since you'd be in the water for... how many hours? Sure, it *may* be fewer hours than if you had no float plan.

    So this is no mis-interpretation, I am referring to filing a float plan at the start, versus checking in at regular intervals.

    We are fortunate to cruise without a strict schedule. That's partly why we have a boat instead of being on a cruise liner!

    At the end of the day, disaster preparation for the kind of boating you do is the critical factor in surviving at sea.