National Safe Boating Week 2015: Float plans

National Safe Boating Week 2015 runs from May 16-22, 2015. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Wear It!’,  today we will build on yesterday’s kick-off with a focus on float plans, which are often overlooked but tell friends and family important details about your voyage. Stay tuned all week as we share important boating safety information, and feel free to share your own advice in the comments below. Boat safe!

Click on the image above to be taken to a downloadable float plan form.

Click on the image above to be taken to a downloadable float plan form.


Why should you take the time to prepare a float plan? The answer is simple… there are just too many facts that need to be accurately remembered and ultimately conveyed in an emergency situation. Without a float plan you are counting on someone else, a friend, neighbor, or family member to remember detailed information that rescue personnel need in order to find you. Having this information can make a difference in the outcome.

A Coast Guard float plan includes detailed information about you, your crew and passengers, where you departed from and the time and place you expect to return. It ensures you indicate what safety and survival gear is onboard your boat. The float plan should also include your primary and secondary means of communication during your voyage. All of these pieces of information may make a difference if something unexpected happens.

Each and every piece of information is vitally important to Coast Guard and other rescuers when a search is initiated.

Who should prepare a float plan?

Don’t think for a minute that this is intended only for those with big expensive boats. A float plan is equally effective for the owner of a 10-foot kayak or flat-bottom skiff as it is for a 48-foot express cruiser, or a 90-foot sport-fishing boat or luxury yacht. So, what type of boaters need to prepare float plans?

  • Kayakers
  • Sport fisherman
  • Hunters
  • Jet Skiers
  • Water skiers
  • Family day cruisers
  • Private charter boat services
  • Canoeists
  • Rowers
  • Rafters
  • Sail boaters
  • Power boaters


Anyone can file a float plan – and if you’re looking for a fast, easy way to do that, you can download the new Coast Guard mobile app for boating safety, which allows you to file a float plan from your cell phone and send it to friends and family. If you boat regularly, you can even save a vessel to your profile, saving you extra time when filing!

Watch the below video for how to file a float plan using the new Coast Guard mobile app!

For more information on boating safety, please visit the Coast Guard’s boating safety website.

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