Boater Safety: File a Float Plan!

One of the most highly recommended boating safety tips endorsed by the U.S. Coast Guard, BoatUS, and many other national marine organizations often goes unheeded in the boating community.

However, your friends at Emerald Coast Marine Center believe that “filing a float plan” is a very smart strategy for boaters. We encourage you to consider the benefits of this safety measure and recommend your compliance. While the chances of anyone ever having to access it is minimal, filing a float plan has proven to be a life saver.

As our goal is to always provide helpful information and resources for Emerald Coast boaters, we hope you’ll take time to review and consider the benefits associated with this blog topic.


What is a Float Plan?

Think of a float plan like you might a Pilot’s Flight Plan.

It is a simple document completed by the boat owner or operator prior to launch that details boating plans for a particular day, or for a specific trip or extended period.

The plan documents basic information about the boat, its registration number, the crew onboard and safety equipment.

It also documents logistics about the planned whereabouts for boating activity and the expectations for return time to the dock (or designated location). It also provides contact information.   

How do you File the Float Plan?

Once you’ve completed the form, boaters are encouraged to either print a hard copy and/or email it to a spouse, family member who is not attending the outing, local dockmaster or the marina manager. It’s that simple.

When you return back to the dock or home, extend the courtesy to simply drop an email to float plan recipients to advise you’re safe and sound.

What’s the Benefit of Filing the Float Plan?

If for some reason you and your crew don’t return when scheduled to your destination, having a handful of folks with your float plan in hand is a great safety measure and precaution. The ability to search and locate your boat and crew in the case of a breakdown or other unexpected event is obviously highly improved and impacted when a float plan is made available to local rescue operators.

Float Plan Template

The few minutes you spend completing and filing the float plan is well worth your time.   

Your friends at Emerald Coast Marine Center are pleased to provide the following optional float plan templates provided by BoatUS, in both Word Doc and PDF formats.    

To view the Float Plan in Word Doc Click Here.

To view the Float Plan in Adobe PDF Click Here.