April 20, 2021| Safety
By: Larry Orlans
"They're late! Where are they?"
Hopefully, this will not be a question raised in your home this boating season, or ever. Owning or renting a boat is a great way of enjoying the outdoors. Fishing, waterskiing, tubing, or using a paddleboard are all very popular water activities on Lake Hopatcong. However, it is very important to advise others when you are planning to engage in these water sports, before you leave home.
An excellent way to inform others of your plans is by preparing a Float Plan. A Float Plan is an overview of a boating excursion that can give search authorities a head start on where to locate a boater, if they fail to reach their destination, or return home.
Important information to include in your float plan is a description of your vessel, how many people will be on board, where you are headed, if you have a cell phone or radio, and most importantly, when you expect to be back.
No matter the length of your excursion, someone responsible should always be advised of your plans. It could be a family member, friend, marina staff, or anyone you trust to check on you.
If your trip is a multi-day, lengthy voyage, a highly detailed Float Plan is crucial to ensure your safety. If it is just a morning of fishing locally, a simple “Honey, I’ll be fishing in Byram Cove for a couple of hours, and I’ll be home by three o’clock” may be sufficient.
Just don’t go out on the water without anyone aware of your plans. We want you home in time for dinner.
More information on Float Plans from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Adobe Acrobat version of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Float Plan
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Safety App for the ability to prepare a float plan on your mobile device
This post is part of our 2021 Spring Safety Series. Larry Orlans is a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Safety Instructor and Auxiliary Operations Officer for Flotilla 15-10.