PORTSMOUTH, Va — As more people hit the water, those who patrol it are warning all to make sure someone on land always knows their intentions.
The United States Coast Guard, along with the Virginia Marine Police, is encouraging all boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders and anyone who spends time on the water to fill out a Float Plan prior to their trip.
“Make sure you file a float plan with a neighbor or family member, someone that is going to have a phone number with them, and that way when you leave, they know where you are going, how many people you have on your boat, etc.” said Bryant Stephens, an officer with the Virginia Marine Police.
The float plan also includes a description of your boat, who is on board, a description of the safety equipment you are carrying, where you expect to be, and when you expect to be there.
The plan can mean the difference in rescue response time if something goes wrong, according to Stephens.
“Not knowing anything where [a boater is] is almost impossible to target a search area,” Stephens said.
The USCG recommends “saving” the plan on your computer as a PDF, and printing the results each trip.