2015 New York Safe Boating - 29

PREPARATION FOR GETTING UNDERWAY
As the operator, you are responsible for the safety of all your
passengers. It's crucial to have a plan, and to be prepared
for emergencies. Remember that you can't walk away from
an accident on your boat. Consider how you will respond
to any problem or emergency before you set sail. Inform a
reliable person of your plans so that someone can sound the
alarm	if	you	don't	return	when	expected.

7

The Float Plan
Bernadette and Carol worked hard in their boating safety
class, and it paid off-they got the highest grades in their
class. This was exciting, because their parents had promised
that if they did well in the class, they could take the family
boat out for the afternoon at the end of the summer.
Finally, the day arrived. The girls went through their
checklist twice: "Let see ... PFDs next to our seats, check.
Visual distress signals in the glove compartment, check ...
Fire extinguisher, tool kit, extra line..."

Before you get underway...
Float Plan

Meanwhile, Dad filled the tank and ran the blower, and
then he supervised the sisters as they checked out the
engine compartment. Finally satisfied, he was about to
push the girls off when Bernadette said, "Dad, wait! We
forgot to give you our float plan-here it is."

Before venturing out aboard your boat, prepare a float plan
and leave it with a reliable adult, such as a parent or other
relative, a friend, or the operator of the marina. The float
plan	tells	how	long	you	expect	your	voyage	to	last	so	that	
someone	on	shore	will	know	when	to	expect	you	back-and	
when to start the search if you don't arrive as scheduled.
The float plan also gives searchers or rescuers information
that will help them locate you if you don't return as planned.

After a lovely voyage they arrived at Gills Bay and tied the
boat to the family's camp dock. The water was still summer
warm so they went swimming and launched themselves on
the rope hanging from the old maple tree. There weren't
other people around, so they cranked up the tunes and
danced. The two sisters enjoyed an afternoon to remember.

Of course, if you adhere to safe boating practices and
exercise	good	judgment	on	the	water,	you'll	usually	return	
from your voyage on time, safe and sound. When you get
back onshore, notify the person with whom you filed your
float plan. Every time you take to the water, complete a new
float plan.

Around five o'clock the girls started to pack up. They stowed
their gear, checked that their PFDs were next to their seat,
and ran the blower. Carol turned the key-CLICK. She tried
it again-CLICK.

Your float plan should include the following
information:

"That's strange" she said, "the gas gauge shows that we
have plenty of gas. Bernie, check the battery and see if
the cables are still connected, and I'll check the fuses." But
everything looked fine.

	The names of everyone on board;
	A description of the boat;
	Your proposed route, including where you plan to

Bernie figured it out. "Oh no, we ran the battery down
playing music all afternoon! Let's think, what should we
do?" They tried to call Dad on their cell phone, but they
couldn't get a strong signal. They hadn't seen another boat
in hours, and they weren't near a town or a road, so the
distress signals wouldn't help. But just in case, they decided
to hang their distress flag high up a tree.

embark and your final destination, and any stops
you plan to make along the way;

	When you plan to leave; and
	When you plan to return.

An hour passed. The shadows were lengthening, the sun
was almost down, and it was getting chilly. The girls were
trying to be brave, but it was getting hard not to be scared.
Finally they heard the low rumble of a boat engine.

The more information you can provide the better. A
thorough float plan increases the chances that search units
will be able to locate you if you need assistance. Should
your plans change during your trip, be certain to notify the
individual with whom you've filed your float plan.

"That's a boat!" said Carol, "We have to light a flare." But
before they could get the flare lit, the boat started to veer
and head in their direction. It looked familiar...it was Mr.
Shapiro's boat, and Dad was on it!
"Dad, how did you find us? We thought we would have to
spend the night out here!" Very happy and relieved, Dad
asked, "What did you give me before you left the dock?"
The girls cried out in unison "Our float plan!"

29


http://www.floatplancentral.org/

2015 New York Safe Boating

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