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Old 10-17-2006
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"Is your Coastguard aware of your vessel, and have you informed them about your intentions?" Which brings up a good point, to have a float plan and to leave it with someone.

Some years ago I couldn't make a delivery trip so my friend left the float plan with me. The trip was an estimated 7 days, and he figured it would take tens days at the outside, max, even allowing for the worst wx. Well...a lot of small things went wrong, but on the ninth night I called the USCG to ask them, if I had to report a boat overdue, what exactly would be involved?

It turns out there are MULTIPLE pages to fill out for a search form, including detailed information like hull color and deck color, that sometimes the holder of the float plan just won't know. So...when you leave a float plan, try to find out what the USCG would want for a full S&R report, and make sure that you've left enough information behind.

"It's a boat. I guess maybe a white boat?" just doesn't help much.

They honestly don't mind folks calling up--or showing up--to ask safety questions during normal business hours.

On my friend's trip...first the alternator went out. Then a hurricane came through. Then the engine packed up. They wound up making land about 500 miles off course, because that was the only place they could get to. Safe & sound, but thoroughly off schedule, very late on the tenth day.
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