Saturday, March 20, 2010

Float Plan

What is a float plan?

Essentially it's a plan left with someone on land which includes details about your boat, route, leaving and returning times, persons aboard and any other important information. You should file one whenever you venture on the open sea. Then if something goes wrong and you don't return when expected, the people who have your float plan can notify the authorities and initiate a search and rescue for you.

What does a float plan look like?

Here's one way to do it. Use an official-looking form like this one. At least it reminds you of what information you might want to include.

But you don't need to use a fancy form. When I venture out on the bays locally on my Laser, my float plan is to tell Tillerwoman where I am launching from, the general area in which I will be sailing, and the time I expect to return.

But here's a 21st century way to file a float plan...

Yup. The US Coast Guard is now suggesting that a good way to file a float plan is to put it on Twitter or Facebook. This has the advantage that you can update it with status reports during your voyage, and all you need is a cell phone capable of sending text messages.

I can see the logic in this, but it still strikes me as strange that a program created a few years by a kid at Harvard to allow students there to connect with each other, and an even more recent creation of some geeks in California originally intended for people to buzz their friends' cell phones with inconsequential messages, are both now being officially endorsed by an arm of the US federal government as recommended tools for public safety.

How strange is that possum?

Tweet me! Maybe I'm getting old...


JP said...

It reminds me of the way the Navionics iPhone app has a button to post a chart with current position to Facebook.

Personally I'd rather a way point editor / VMG calculator but maybe it's not such a bad feature after all

Tim said...

I think that there is a real danger with this is that all your friends might know that your off for the wekend sailing but which one is going to check that you're back?

I think making one or two people responsible for raising the alarm if you don't in touch with them far more reliable.

Unless of course you have you send in you request for assistance by Txt. E.G.
Status update: "Sinking!Send for the Coastguard"
1 hour ago . comment . like

Zen said...

yeah, life is full of strangness

Zen said...

Float Plan, That is a good name of a blog.

Pat said...

There's also the other float plan -- wearing a life preserver and/or clipping into the boat as conditions merit.

The World Tour said...

Love the technicalities of the 21st century. Twitter, Facebook. blogs, tumblr, flickr.. all to make us get closer to the ones we want to be close to and keep us updated with whatever needs to be up to date on.

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