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Float Plans – Do You File One?

As the Miami Boat Show quickly approaches it reminds me of the many boaters who travel from all over the world to attend this show. And, I can’t help wondering if the guy I overheard on the bus trip from the parking lot to the Strictly Sail Show ever got his catamaran. If so, did he file a float plan before leaving the show? You see, the guy announced he was there to buy a catamaran though he had never been on one, much less know how to operate one.

At the Ft. Lauderdale Show a couple years ago I had the privilege of interviewing Captain sinkingboat1
Kevin Keith and his girl friend. Captain Keith talked about how his crew became members 
in the survivor club through ACR Electronics. He talked about what happened with his situation and gave details of an interesting rescue where a combination between US Coast Guard and Sea Tow took place.

After the award ceremony I asked Captain Keith if he filed a float plan. His response shocked me. He and his crew had not done this. In fact, he went on to say he wasn’t familiar with them and wasn’t sure where to get one.

float_plan_thumbWe did agree, however, filing a float plan is something they would start doing. “Just as important,” says Captain Keith, “is to make sure the MMSI number for one’s EPIRB gets registered.” The MMSI number should have the contact name of a family member who should know your plans as well as verify the number of people on board, where you went out of, approximately how long you’re going out for. All this information is also on a float plan.

Today it’s really easy to file one. Just go online to www.floatplancentral.org. Click on the green button that says USCG Float Plan to get the current version. If you have more than 5 passengers or 6 destinations planned for your seafaring voyage, click on the Float Plan Supplemental link to include these extras.

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