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Coast Guard urges boaters to file a float plan.

May 22, 2018 07:03AM ● By Editor

No one plans to get lost out on the water. No one plans to have their boat break down far away from land. No one plans to have an accident on the water. And unfortunately, not many people plan ahead to make it easier to be found by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to plan ahead before venturing out on the water by filing a float plan with someone on land and by downloading the Coast Guard Boating Safety social media app.

“The Coast Guard and other response agencies do not search for 100 percent of the people who are not reported missing, in distress or overdue,” said Mike Baron, recreational safe boating specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth district. “Always file a float plan.”

A float plan includes all the pertinent information the Coast Guard will need in a search, including the names of the owner and operator of the vessel, description of the operator and passengers, and information about the vessel. It will also include information about your trip including departure date, departure location, destination, your planned route and your return time.

Boaters are not the only ones advised to prepare a float plan. Kayakers, fishermen, canoeists, jet skiers and private charter boat services are also urged to prepare a plan and leave it with a family member or friend on land.

Plans are easy to create. Information on float plans and how to obtain a blank form can be found at floatplancentral.org.

Float plans can also be downloaded from the free Coast Guard Boating Safety App, which provides a variety of important information and services including safety information within the state, a safety equipment checklist, weather reports from the nearest NOAA weather buoy, navigation rules and requesting a free vessel safety check.

“Embrace solitude not isolation,” Baron said. “Share your day out with someone on shore.”

The Coast Guard mobile App is not intended to replace a radio, nor should boaters rely on their cellphones to call for help. Cellphones will lose a signal out on the water and away from a cell tower. Boaters should first contact the Coast Guard using their marine radios on VHF Channel 16.

Learn more about the free downloadable Coast Guard Boating Safety App at uscgboating.org/mobile.

Watch the Coast Guard PSA about filing a float plan

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