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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 06-29-2011
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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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Old 06-29-2011
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I haven't done so far, but then our sails have never been out of sight of our home harbour. Will leave one with a friend when we head out to Telegraph harbour in August though, seems prudent.
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Old 06-29-2011
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Between Text and SPOT, anyone needs to know where i am will know.
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Old 06-30-2011
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we always file a FP when making a passage, but that is it. We give it to friends, typically.
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Old 06-30-2011
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I am here as a result of a filed float plan. When a waterspout flipped a 34 ft catamaran that I was delivering , the Coast Guard was on the scene after I had spent only 16 hours in the water. My wife contacted another professional captain after I had failed to establish contact with her within a predetermined window of time. After repeated attempts to contact me via VHF, cell phone , and , SSB met with no response , they called the C.G. . Regardless of the length or location of my sailboat deliveries [even daysails] , I have always filed a float plan. As much as I love the ocean, I don't want to spend the rest of my life there.
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Old 06-30-2011
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We do. We sometimes have the wife's kids aboard, and so it is all the more important.

BoatUS has a PDF that you can download and fill out. Handy.
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Old 06-30-2011
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Day sailing.. No.
Extended Cruising.. we used file a detalied Float Plan, but now with SPOT we are much more laxed and will simply send a proposed itinerary to loved ones and friends who need to know.
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Old 06-30-2011
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When cruising for multiple days, we use an actual float plan.

When day sailing, we don't use anything. Probably a mistake.

When cruising to a near by port for the night and back, we just tell a family member or friend (usually my Dad).

I want to get a SPOT, but I would still do a formal float plan for multiple day cruising.
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