Why should you file a float plan?

20th April 2022 Elena Manighetti

Why should you file a float plan?

Filing a float plan allows emergency services to conduct a focused search, should you go missing at sea. A good float plan can save your life. 

Let’s delve into the topic in more detail.

What is a float plan?

A float plan is an overview of a boat trip. It explains where you left from, where you’re headed, and when you’re expected back. The plan contains crucial information that can help the authorities locate you, should you end up in trouble.

Why should you file a float plan?

If you have an accident or suffer an engine breakdown, you can end up stuck aground somewhere, drifting out to sea, or even sinking. In such situations, timing is everything. 

You can only survive for a number of hours in the water. Strong winds can blow your boat for hundreds of miles, making it hard to find you. Prolonged sun exposure causes heatstroke. 

If search and rescue services don’t know where to start looking for you, they will need to conduct a search on a much larger area, which means they will take a lot longer to find you. 

Moreover, if they don’t have all the information they need, such as your boat model and colour, they may waste time checking on boats that are not in distress.

Filing a float plan will allow your safety contact to realise that you’re overdue and act quickly. When they alert the authorities, they will be able to provide all the information needed to give them the best chance of success. Plus, the local coast guard can ask nearby vessels to keep an eye out for you via VHF.


What should you include in a float plan?

Ideally, you should include as much information as possible in your float plan. The more details you include, the more focused the search. 

When creating a float plan, include:

  • Your full name and physical description

  • Number, full names, and descriptions of your crew

  • Mobile phone numbers of all crew members

  • Vessel information, including name, size, type, model, colour, engine size, and MMSI

  • Number and types of safety and communication equipment on board

  • Satellite phone number

  • Boat trip details: departure date and time, expected arrival date and time, origin, destination, planned route, scheduled stops, amount of food and water on board, …

How do you file a float plan? Use the Deckee app

float plan

Filing a float plan traditionally involved filling in a template either on your computer or by pen. Then, you needed to send it to a friend, family member, or local marina. 

This process takes quite some time and planning, which is why many boaters tend to forget to create and share a float plan. Most people send a quick email or WhatsApp message, containing very little information, to a friend. This is not enough.

At Deckee, being committed to helping boaters stay safe on the water, we decided to help solve the issue. On our free app, you can quickly fill in a float plan and share it with a loved one. When you do this, they receive a notification and can follow your progress directly on the app. If you become overdue, they get an alert and are able to call for help immediately.

float plan

You can save your vessel and safety contact information in the app, so filing a float plan will be a lot quicker next time. 

To help you remember to do it, we have added a prompt that encourages you to create a float plan when you start tracking a new trip. With just a few taps, you can send it even at the very last minute.

Float plan, just like all the Deckee features, is available for free on the Deckee app. Try it out.

Sharing a float plan can save your life. Don’t rely on luck. Play it safe.

Download the Deckee app from the App Store or Google Play now. Check the marine weather forecast, look up points of interest, inspect Aids to Navigation, and more. We constantly add new features to the app, so you can have fun on the water while staying safe.

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