Here at L.A.O, water safety is a must. Creating a float plan helps to map out your excursion, and keeps those on the shore informed. Should you not arrive at your destination as scheduled, your float plan will contain important information. This article details how to make your own simple float plan, and provides the tools to make a more complex, multi-day plan. If designing your own float plan is an added step to getting on the water, attached below is our L.A.O. float plan.
Float plans can be complex, however for shorter paddles and those simply looking to get outside, they can be simplified. Depending on your needs, a float plan can be as basic as:
Be sure to share your float plan with someone reliable who is staying on shore. Don't file your plan directly with the Coast Guard or Search and Rescue, leave it with a third party who will contact authorities on your behalf. Be sure to communicate your return to the person with your float plan, on time, and upon landing. Even though you've filed a float plan, make sure you have the ability to call or radio shore for assistance, should it be required.
For longer or solo adventures, the more specific your float plan, the better. Make sure you document your paddle’s expected duration, location, and routes. Include your estimated time of arrival on your float plan, and include an emergency contact should you be overdue/ missing. Your float plan should contain basic information about you, your craft, and your paddle. Document all paddler’s names, ages, gender, clothing, skill level, and medical info to aid any required search efforts.
Include your launch and landing locations, and any stops you will make along the way. If your adventure involves portaging or any overnights, be sure to list any paths you plan on taking, as well as your campsite’s location. For multi-day adventures, list how many days of food and water you have packed, and emergency equipment such as flares, fire starters, etc.
While float plans are a very important part of water safety, be sure to also check the forecast, bring food and water along, and have a way to call or radio for help.