Having a proper float plan form, filled out with crucial details about the boat, its occupants, where we expect to be, and what to do if we aren’t, has been on the to-do list for a very long time. Progress was made before the recent sail, but the completed item was not quite ready. Suzanne has been the informal holder of the float plan for all of these trips, as we stay in touch while I’m out and about, including about plans and checking in after arrival, and she knows the boat and has access to an assortment of records. Still, managing this so casually has not been the proper way to do things, and would add difficulty in the event of an actual emergency. Since arriving home I’ve come back to the float plan project, and the form itself is finally in order. I’ve found it helpful for thinking through equipment lists, as well as for gathering all the assorted boat information in one place, completely apart from the float plan’s official purpose.
There are several float plan forms available on the Internet (linked below). They provide for varying degrees of detail, but no single one that I found seems to include everything. This inspired me to start making a list that would cover all of the items from all the publicly available float plans that I could come up with, as well as details that were not listed anywhere but that have seemed important. Then I had some fun formatting, making a blank for my own use over time. It seems that other people inclined for the more thorough version of this sort of thing might find this form useful also, so voilà: here is yet another blank float plan available on the Internet…
Here’s a version in XML format, for anybody who would like to copy this and then make changes of their own: composite float plan-blank-XML (Please note that if you want to keep the original layout, the margins will need to be set at 0.5 all the way around – this setting is sometimes lost during the download process.)
And here’s a version in PDF format, for those who might want to simply print the pages and fill them in by hand: composite_float_plan-blank-pdf
At the bottom of both versions is a page with links to each of the float plans that I found already available, from official sources like Boat US, and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary; there is also a link for a page about why it can be a good idea to write one up. All of these references are copied in a tab near the top of the Sailing AUKLET home page, for easy access… Comments/suggestions are welcome.
Here’s to another safety item that one hopes to never actually put to the test!
Coast Guard Auxiliary Association: http://www.floatplancentral.org/download/USCGFloatPlan.pdf
Nautical KnowHow: http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/boating/float1.htm
US Power Squadron: http://www.usps.org/o_stuff/fp_form.html
Why Prepare a Float Plan: http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/float_planning.aspx