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post #1 of Old 06-29-2011 Thread Starter
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Float Plans

Just curious if anyone else files float plans with family and/or friends when they sail. I do. I even leave at least a note on the fridge when I take my kayak out alone on my way home from work saying where I'll be and when I expect to be home.

Last summer I was on the other end of a SAR case when a sail club member neglected to check in with one of his kids during a week-long sail on the Chesapeake. He had not left a formal float plan with them but he arranged to call his two kids at a pre-determined time each night. On the night of a severe thunderstorm he called one but not the other, assuming that the one he called would notify the other. The kid he didn't call called the Coast Guard.

I happened to be the last call made on his cell phone and that evening received a call from USCG Sector Baltimore. I missed the initial call but when I saw on my missed call log one from USCG Sector Baltimore I hit redial. It put me straight to the watchstander's desk. He told me that they got my friend's cell phone record from Verizon which is how they knew that I was the last one he called. Then the kid was so excited that I just hit redial and was able to reach him that he forgot the reason why I called. He explained that they had just upgraded their phone system after the Rescue 21 system went online and they weren't sure how well it was working.

Once I got him back on track the questions he asked me matched exactly the information on the CG float plan form that I use. Unfortunately, I had no information to give them other than that my friend sounded fine when I talked to him.

Needless to say, when the Coast Guard showed up at his anchorage that stormy night and found that he and his wife were fine and had turned their cell phone off, they were NOT happy.

We ended up using the experience for training after one of our sail club meetings.

I was happy to see that the system works and I make sure to provide as much information as possible to the two people I email our float plan.


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