Pre-Departure Float Plan
Before going out on a vessel, it is always a good idea to leave a float plan with a relative or friend, or at least with a local marina. A float Plan should:
- Describe the vessel, including its registration number, length, make, horsepower, and engine type.
- State where you are going, the detailed route, your planned departure time, and your expected return time.
- Give the name, address, and telephone number of each person on board and an emergency contact.
You can help assure a good time while operating your vessel by performing this pre-departure check:
- Check the weather forecast for the area and timeframe during which you will be boating.
- Make sure that the steering and throttle controls operate properly and all lights are working properly.
- Check for any fuel leaks from the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor.
- Check the engine compartment for oil leaks.
- Check hose connections for leaks or cracks, and make sure hose clamps are tight.
- Drain all water from the engine compartment, and be sure the bilge plug is replaced and secure.
- Check to be sure you have a fully charged engine battery and fire extinguishers.
- If so equipped, make sure the ignition safety switch and wrist lanyard are in good order.
- Make sure you have the required number of personal flotation devices (PFDs), and check that they are in good condition.
- Leave a float plan with a reliable friend or relative.