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Old 05-06-2013, 02:31   #1
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Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

Following on from the recent couple of threads about "Lost" boats, with mixed outcomes.....

......just curious as to what people include in the info they supply to the folks ashore (Friends / Family / random folks on the internet looking to "help"? ), especially in the event that they become overdue and / or the folks ashore start to worry - and what "you" expect (require?) to happen?

I am thinking mainly of when going on extended passages, especially trans ocean.

Am expecting a mixed bag of responses - IMO no right or wrong answers, even if some might be a bit on the wishful thinking side .
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:24   #2
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

Longer passages we provide the following info to a couple of relatives:
Departure point and time
Details of who is on board
Probable destination
Expected time taken (and we stress each trip that this could easily be tripled, so not to worry)

They already have this info:
Boat name
Registration details
Mobile phone number, call sign, MMSI number
Boat insurance details
Where our wills and details of all financial affairs are kept (not being morbid, just a sensible thing to do)
Boat details: safety equipment, power and watermaking ability etc.
At any time we generally carry provisions for at least a couple of months

Shorter passages (overnight) we generally usually don't bother notifying anyone any more. Nice to have some freedom of movement .

If we had to set off our EPIRB I would hope that someone would come check it out, but certainly don't take this as a given.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:10   #3
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pirate Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

Departure and destination ports... possible stops on the way.
Don't 'Expect' anyone to do anything when I'm on my own boat...
Do expect the owner to go 'Ape ****' if they don't hear from me en-route...
But then I'm not the type who at the end of the day at work stands on the train with mouth and phone next to someone else's ear yelling "Hello Darling... I'm on the train... see you in half an hour" when they do the same trip at the same time 5 days a week, 52 weeks of the year...
No Will, No life Insurance, No Schedule.... even if the owner demands one... staying afloat and alive is my only priority...
Status Checks on me can be found by... Google searching my name or BM61... or my FB page...
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:04   #4
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

I used to tell my close relatives I'd call about once a month, but not to worry if it was two months. Since I've outlived most of them I don't worry about that anymore.
My friends know they'll see me when they see me.
Life is simple.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:15   #5
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

I usually write to my children (all adults, none under the age of 45) before I leave port to go on a passage, and after arrival. They have long since been told that it is very easy to take three times as long to get *somewhere* than we anticipate, and therefore I have time to relax after arrival, and wait for something interesting to happen before I write again. They have never been in a situation to cause a search to be instigated for us, and I believe they understand that we are in the hands of the Fates, by choice. I believe they're used to us doing it by now.

Jim writes to his sister and his kids from a prior marriage when he feels like it.

Ann
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:50   #6
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

A) We say nothing to our families. We say we are going sailing and they should expect no news until it arrives.

B) Our EPIRB shore contacts (all of them sailing people) get information about our departure and arrival points/times. We declare our ETA at 150% of what we assume the slowest slog to the destination might take = roughly 200% of what we consider to be our regular passage time for any given winds/currents and otherwise estimations.

We ask nobody to take any action should we default. The info we leave is only in case SAR party contacts our EPIRB shore contacts.

b.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:01   #7
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

For long passages we send emails to the two people we listed as emergency contacts on our EPIRB registration. We have a satellite phone and post twitter updates from it every day or so with location and news (usually "everything is fine, caught a fish, it sure is hot out here...").

Formal float plans and "if we're not here by x date call the USCG" stuff is nice in theory but you never really know the date you'll leave let alone the date you'll show up and if you're becalmed or otherwise rerouted the last thing you want to be worrying about is some ticking clock to SAR resources getting mobilized because of some paranoid non-sailor back home.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:09   #8
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

I just call or email and give them the general parameters of where I am going and when I am likely to arrive, but my instructions are always the same: "Don't worry unless you hear from me!" I tell them never to call the CG or anyone if they think I am overdue--it is up to me to make the call.
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Old 05-07-2013, 22:53   #9
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

People have to learn that sailing Boats are just that, Sailing boats, and are very slow,

It depends on the wind how long it takes, and the direction of the winds at the time,

Vanuatu to Bundaberg, I estimated 10 days at the minimum, Which I told my G/F at the time, Along with GPS position X 4 times, and the towns and Island I was parked near,

I was reported as missing after 10 days, and vessels to Keep a look out for me,

12 days later, When I came into range on the mobile, I gave my G/F a ring, She was happy to hear my voice, I wasnt dead, Hahahaha

She asked me where I was, 12 miles from Bundaberg,

She then said. how long till you get to Bundaberg, I said about four or five hours,

The wind is in the wrong direction for me to sail in, So its a combination of sail and diesel to get there,

Plus I cant sail for crap, I just get there eventually, I am not in a hurry,

Thats when the Penny dropped for her, Just how slow sailing Boats actually are, and mine is slow,

4 to 7 knots is not fast, even 11 to 15 knots is still very slow, when going a long distance,

The interesting part was, when I was talking to the Rescue Woman who took the phone call from my G/F that I was missing,

She did not ask my G/F for my position in a way that my G/f Understood,

So the position I was supposed to be in and the search would commence from was 1000 miles away from where I was,

I explained to the Rescue girl a different way of asking Landlubbers questions, And she agreed, I was right,

If she had of asked the right questions, Land questions, instead of Marine Questions, She would have received my last 4 GPS positions, as I had My G/F write them down, and the last 2 positions where I was Parked,

Both Island names were written down as well by my G/F, and only 6 miles apart,

So they did have a very fine point to start any search for me, to start from, And A to B search direction, I am in the Coral Sea some where, Between Vanuatu and Bundaberg,

Failure to communicate, So very easy, and quite confusing to searchers looking miles away in the wrong direction,

I also asked my G/F why she had said I was missing when my Auto Epirb had not been activated, She was just worried about me.

I said to her, thats not good enough, You will know I am missing if my Epirb Goes off, Because the Rescue service here will be ringing you on the phone to confirm that it is my Epirb going off, and I am in trouble,
I did have two current Epirbs on board at the time, So one would have gone off,

So never report I am missing untill you get official notice, Which will be within about 4 hours after my Epirb goes off,
No, I dont have communication with any one out there, And I dont want or need it,

People on land, think in minimum transit times, I said minimum 10 days, I put food and supplies on for a month,

10 Days would have been nice, But I did a lot of unneccesary long extra sailing miles, Due to my lack of sailing capability and the wind going in the wrong direction for me, Hahahaha

Just my 2 Cents worth,
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:03   #10
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr B View Post

Just my 2 Cents worth,


Easy for folks on boats to assume what is obvious for those onshore / unfamiliar with voyaging by small boats.

Probably the answer is to spoonfeed them like small children - or treat 'em like Mushrooms!........but that also dependent on who each Skipper (and each crew) has ashore.
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Old 07-07-2013, 13:28   #11
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

H i, there Mr. B,

I agree with you on most of what you said, but I never ever tell someone who hasn't made ocean passages the soonest time I might be in. Because of the same sort of deal you experienced with your GF. We once told people who should have known better when we'd be in to Hilo, HI, and the going was slower than we anticipated. A mere 4 hours after our ETA, they had the Coast Guard lookig for us. No, increase the number of hours by days, or the total time by 75%, then you get to be EARLY, which is somehow more to your credit than being "late."...even by hours on a 10 day or so passage. It just makes life easier. I don't like the dishonesty, but they do teach themselves to worry according to what you tell them, so your exaggeration becomes their protection. Odd, huh?

Family members, I make them understand it's a window of x to y days, and even that could vary to the longer side; and that we'll let them know when we're in our new destination, and have done that for the past 25 yrs. or so. It has worked well, for me. I'll be checking in with them to see how it has worked for them.

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Old 07-07-2013, 14:26   #12
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

YMMV, of course, based on circumstances.

For most passages of about two weeks or less, here's the information required to file a Float Plan with the Waterway Net (7268kHz LSB daily @ 0745 Eastern Time):

FLOAT PLAN INFORMATION
1. Call Sign
2. Boat Description: including type (sloop, ketch, yawl, trawler), size and color of hull, deck and superstructure.

3. Boat name and hailing port

4. Documentation or state registration number

5. Type of EPIRB and is it registered?

6. Marine SSB and VHF equipment on board

7. Number of persons aboard

8. Departure point and time
9. Destination, route and ETA
10. Name and phone number of person to contact if you fail to check in daily while the float plan is in effect

Further details can be found here: Waterway Net Web Site

We work frequently with the USCG and BASRA on missing/overdue boats. This is the type of information we've found to be useful over the years.

Our float plan information requirements were developed mostly for amateur radio operators aboard boats. In our experience it is VERY RARE to have a boat on passage with a Float Plan fail to check in each day. Our Net stations are widely dispersed, from Maine to the Caribbean, so if you are putting out any kind of an HF radio signal at all SOMEONE will hear you.

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Old 07-07-2013, 14:34   #13
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

I personally feel that EPIRBS and satphones have made float plans obsolete. I tell friends and family that if the CG needs to be notified, I'll take care of that myself.
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Old 07-07-2013, 14:54   #14
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I personally feel that EPIRBS and satphones have made float plans obsolete. I tell friends and family that if the CG needs to be notified, I'll take care of that myself.
I still think it's a generally good idea to give your epirb contacts the summary of what you're up to. Who's onboard, ages, gear onboard, etc. To some extent it's only fair to keep them up to speed since if the epirb lights up they're going to get the phone call.

And if I'm not mistaken that Nina boat had an epirb and sat phone : stuff happens.
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Old 07-07-2013, 15:18   #15
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Re: Float / Passage Plan for folks ashore - what (and why) is in it?

We tell our close family members."see ya when we see ya" also where we PLAN on going, not where we may end up! They know what we have aboard, and they also know we really don't care where we may end up!! No one in our family would ever start a search even if we were many many days late! They know only to well the things that can and will cause us to be behind any time line they or anyone else might have in there heads ! We have never had an secdual, never will have one! We have been know to change from one destination to another just because we want to ! and ya just never know which way the wind will blow, or how hard or how little ! we just say we will call when we get somewhere! Of course we have ssb/ham, and one of our daughters has one also, which makes everyone a little happier!! And we have found over the years that Ham operators are very happy to patch messages thru to folks if needed! It's not to hard to learn how to use a ssb/ ham set up, never had a sat phone, don't expect to ever have one, the old stuff we know how to use LOL and we are cheap cruisers ! LOl but we do have epirbs and such as that !! Thats enough for us old folks !!
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