Lumiform Mobile audits & inspections
Get App Get App

Stay Safe On The Water With A Float Plan Checklist

A float plan indicates where you are going and what time you are going home. It serves as a reference for authorities to find boaters if they fail to turn up when they stated in the plan. Learn what information a float plan should contain and use our free template for your boat trip.

What Is a Float Plan?

The Coast guard auxiliary requires their boat crew to have a float plan checklist. This part is essential for their safety. It contains information about the boat, the owner, and the security equipment on board.

Inventory everything while still on the dock. Do not leave if one item is missing. It is better to be safe than to risk getting lost at sea.

The checklist must include the following:

  • Identity of owner or operator
  • Information about the vessel (size, color, type, engine)
  • Driver’s license
  • Registration papers
  • Certificate of completion of boating safety course
  • Marine radio
  • Safety equipment
  • Latest boat registration papers
  • GPS
  • Life jackets (free size) Working and proper navigation lights for night operation
  • Fuel supply and oil level

Make sure to leave a copy to someone you can trust. Placing the document in the car or sticking it to the refrigerator will make finding it easy.

This article covers the following topics:

1. Why you should file a float plan

2. What information a float plan should contain

3. Advantages of getting a real-time overview management system

Sailboat on a long trip

Why You Should File a Float Plan Form

Suppose you went fishing with a friend using his boat. You told your wife about it. But, you did not specify your time of departure and arrival. Your wife has no idea how the boat looks. You did not say where you would fish.

You did not go home the day you left. Your wife thought you were taking a two-day fishing trip. You fail to turn up the next day or the next. Your wife panicked. She called the coast guard. Yet, she cannot give any information aside from the fact that you went fishing.

How could the coast guard help? It is like looking for a needle on a haystack. The saddest part was that the authorities did not find your husband and his friend. This tragedy happened because your husband or his friend did not leave a sailing itinerary.

On July 5, 2021, two boaters went missing. They shared their float plan with a relative before leaving. When they did not return on time, a relative called the coast guard. The relative reported that they went to Newport.

The Coast Guard launched rescue operations. They sent a boat and a helicopter to Newport. The fire department of neighboring areas also helped.

The rescuers found the one boater stranded near Morrison Creek. The other one swam to safety and called 911. Thanks to their leaving a preventing boat plan to a relative. The rescue was successful.

The scenarios above show how filing a float plan form or failure to do it can make a difference.

Here are some reasons why you need to file a trip plan:

  1. Your relatives can seek help when you fail to turn up at the time stated in the float plan. When you fail to turn up hours after the stated time, family and friends will take action. They will ask for help from the coast guard and other authorities.
  2. The plan states your whereabouts. Once someone knows your destination, it will be easy to find and rescue you.
  3. Authorities or people in the area can identify your boat. Including a description of the boat is important. It will help rescuers find the right boat.
  4. It makes rescue easy and immediate. Knowing where to find you and what to find will make rescue operations fast and productive.
  5. Saves time and money. A rescue operation can be costly. Filing a float plan will save time and money. It can save lives during emergencies.

White control panel

A Float Plan Should Contain What Information?

Anyone that heads out to the sea needs a plan of his trip and itinerary. Informing a friend or a relative about your trip can be helpful. It can prevent delays in rescue operations.

So, what are the three important things to include in your trip plan? First, supply information about the sea vessel. That will help identify it and the operator or owner.

  • Number
  • Length
  • Passenger capacity
  • Engine type
  • Horsepower

A photo of the vessel

Authorities can easily identify and confirm sightings using the information. If you have an idea about insurance information, include that in the document you filed. Authorities usually contact insurers when there are no people on the boat they find.

Passenger Information

Your plan should contain details of your passenger or passengers. Write down their name, address, phone number, emergency contact, allergies, and medical conditions. Doctors will know what medication to use and what kind of medical care you need.

Route and timing

Tell people where you are going. Include the route that you are taking. Rescuers need a specific route to locate you fast.

Specify the time of departure and arrival. Keep in touch with people at home daily. It will save them from worrying about you. Update them if you happen to change the route. In case of emergency, rescuers will look at the right place.

Generally, a more detailed trip is more helpful than a mere outline. Having a detailed plan can contribute to safety and the success of the search and rescue operations.

Advantages of Getting a Real-Time Overview Management System

Get a real-time overview of all checks and actions happening in the float field. Boat companies can particularly benefit from this digital float plan form and enable their skippers to make float plants efficiently and make their trips safer. Within the Lumiform dashboard, you can monitor in real-time all boat timings, negative responses, overdue inspections, the average score of audits and track raised issues in real-time.

A digital solution like Lumiform offers can drive you many advantages in managing forms, analyzing data and timing. With the mobile app and desktop software you can:

  • Access free, ready-to-use journey management plan templates from the Lumiform template library.
  • Convert existing paper forms to digital format or create your float trip management plan templates in just a few steps with theflexible form builder..
  • Use the app.on your smartphone or tablet to perform pre-trip inspections – offline or online.
  • View and annotate photos during inspections to create a comprehensive and detailed report.
  • Automatically generate and send inspection reports. to the appropriate personnel.
  • Store inspection reports in secure cloud storage to ensure that only authorized personnel can access the data.

Try Lumiform for free

Safe trip with a float plan
Share this content:

Your contact for all questions concerning Float Plan Checklist

You have questions or would like to schedule a personal demo? We are happy to help you!

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.