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Old 25-05-2010, 06:24   #1
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Float Plans

I've mostly day sailed with family and friends, and taken short coastal cruises with flexible destinations, so I admit that I've been lazy/negligent about filing proper float plans. At best I can say that usually someone knew my general time intentions if not my destinations.

My future plans include a lot more solo cruising covering a lot more distance to exotic locations, but essentially doing much the same kind of sailing during the day from port to port. The big difference is that I'll be doing it solo. (Unless I meet the right woman between now and then)

So, who files formal float plans? With who? Does the "Spot" service with text qualify? Any other float plan services you'd recommend? Would it be seaworthy/worthwhile to just have a floatplan forum on these boards? Is relying on the internet even a good idea?

Comments welcome.

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Old 25-05-2010, 06:40   #2
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Your location, departure point and destinations will make a difference to the advice you get.

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Old 25-05-2010, 11:18   #3
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Around here (Tampa Bay, FL) it's a personal choice - most people don't. But our office takes them regularly from a few of our members who go out diving or fishing frequently. Boat name, boater's name, #POB, expected return time, contact info...if we don't hear from them within a reasonable margin of error of their estimate, we call them, then their on-shore emergency contact, then CG. I don't think I've ever had a missed FP that was actually a problem - sometimes unloading the catch is so exciting they just forget to call us back. We also occasionally get longer ones - someone sailing from Key West to Cedar Key, for example, will check in with each office along the way, and that one will forward the FP to the next office along the route so they know to expect to hear from them.
But for daysailing, in an area with good VHF & cell phone coverage, not going far offshore, and especially if there are other boaters around, most people here don't bother.
For long or potentially riskier trips, I know I would leave a plan with someone I trusted and check in with them when possible to keep up to date.
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Old 25-05-2010, 14:32   #4
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Here's a sample from the USPS (and that's not the Postal Service)

USPS® - Float Plan Template

I file a float plan for anything offshore or overnight.
Capt. Douglas Abbott
USCG/MCA IV/M.I./C.I. 500-ton Oceans
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Old 25-05-2010, 17:31   #5
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Thanks for the USPS form. I plan to use it .
Eat Well. Savor Life.
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Old 25-05-2010, 19:06   #6
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I like that!

I made up my own 'sail plan' but the one posted here is more thorough. I do like to list some other pertinent info. like people to contact in case we don't arrive or change plans. We usually leave one w a relative, one w the home marina and one at our home.
A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, he said, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again.

J.M.Synge, in The Aran Islands
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Old 25-05-2010, 20:35   #7
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In the UK many people going on a longer journey down the coast, or crossing the Channel, call the Coastguard on the VHF and give their destination and ETA... they do appreciate it very much when these people then let the station down the coast know when they've arrived... mobile phones are usefull for this as well these days.. saves the hassle of a false SAR..
Others don't bother notifying anyone...
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I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy. ”

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Old 25-05-2010, 21:05   #8
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I've switched to SPOT. It's no more reliable than a float plan, but it gives me greater control over when people ashore should begin to freak out.

cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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