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Whether you are the skipper of a fishing charter boat or a recreational boater, you need to recognize the inherent dangers of being on the water.  While planning for the worst-case scenario may seem dismal, it can be a life-saving idea. If you or your loved one is heading out on the water, we strongly advise that you create a float-plan.

Who should use a Float plan?

Anyone who will be on the water for an extended period; all of the following should create float plans before venturing out on the water.

  • Hunters

  • Jet Skiers
  • Kayakers
  • Power boaters
  • Rafters
  • Rowers
  • Sailboaters
  • Sport fisherman
  • Water Skiers

What is a Float Plan?

A float plan is a simple document which you should leave with a responsible person who will notify the USCG if you fail to return from your trip.
The float plan will explain:

  • Trip Details: where the boater is going and the expected time of return
  • Boat Details: type, length, color, etc.
  • Guests: a list who is on the boat and the guest cell phone numbers
  • Safety Equipment: a list of the safety/survival equipment
  • Auto Details: model, license plate and parking location

The final section on the float plan informs the responsible person whom you left the float plan with as to what emergency action should be taken upon failure to return.

For example, “If I have not returned by 8 pm, please call my cell phone, and if you cannot reach me, then please call the United States Coast Guard.”

Complete your float plan and leave it with someone who will be aware if you do not return as scheduled. A float plan should become second nature, just as you would prepare your life jackets for the guests on your boat.

Marine emergencies are time sensitive, and this plan could save time and lives!

shutterstock_15657421Did you know that Rhode Island requires boaters to have a Boater Safety Education Certificate, not a boating license? Anyone born on or after January 1, 1986, is required to pass an approved boater education course before legally operating any vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower. In addition, anyone operating a personal watercraft, or jet ski, regardless of age, must have passed an approved boater education course.

In addition to reviewing your local boating laws, it’s important to always practice boating safety. We have provided some tips to help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip:

  • Be weather-wise. We are at the start of hurricane season, and you should always check local weather conditions before departure.
  • Download the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) boating safety app. The USCG released a mobile app last month that features: latest safety regulations, ability to request emergency assistance, file a float plan, and more.
  • Develop a float plan. Always be sure to let someone else know your plan, including where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone.
  • Have proper lifejackets onboard. The majority of drowning accidents result from boaters not wearing a lifejacket. Make sure everyone onboard has a lifejacket and that it properly fits.
  • Avoid alcohol. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved.
  • Consider a free vessel safety check. The USCG offers complimentary boat examinations to evaluate the safety of your vessel.

For more information on boating safety or to inquire about marine insurance, please call OceanPoint Insurance at 401.847.5200.