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Float Plan Registry - FAQs

Common questions about float plans:

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What is a Float Plan?
A float plan is a written collection of details about an intended outting in your boat that is usually filed with a family member, friend, or other trusted land-based contact. A good float plan specifically describes the vessel, equipment, passengers and crew, and the itinerary of the planned voyage.
Why do I need a Float Plan?
If your float plan contains information about your expected return, the person you filed it with can initiate assistance on your behalf when you are overdue. Your float plan will tell responders all the key information about you, your vessel, and your intended whereabouts which significantly reduces response time.
What information should a float plan contain?
A float plan should contain key information about your trip so that any search and rescue team would have all the information necessary to locate you quickly.
  • Vessel Information - A detailed description of your boat including safety and communication equipment.
  • Persons aboard - A list of people aboard the boat including basic identifying characteristics such as age and gender.
  • Itinerary - A detailed description of your travel plans including planned arrival and departure dates/times, and any available check-in information.
How do I contact the US Coast Guard in an emergency?
The US Coast Guard has an excellent web page to answer that question. See http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg534/Contact_CG.asp.
How do I contact my local US Coast Guard field office?
The US Coast Guard has put a list of regional office locations and contacts on their website here: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg534/RCC_numbers.asp

Common questions about Float Plan Registry float plans:

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Why use Float Plan Registry instead of leaving a simple note?
It's easier, faster, and has automatic notifications.

You can file a float plan with all the proper detailed information using Float Plan Registry in less time that it will take to write a note. When you publish your float plan, a link to your online float plan is automatically sent to your contacts by email. They may use this link to review your float plan online, or even print it if they wish. If you make changes to your float plan, you don't have to redistribute it, your contacts will always have all the latest details when they view it online.
What are checkpoints and how do I use them?
Some trips in your boat involve multiple destinations. For example, lets say you're taking a two week cruising vacation to the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Your trip could include an overnight visit to Friday Harbor and overnight anchorage in Fossil Bay. These are checkpoints. You can build a float plan itinerary using checkpoints, with each representing a location you plan to visit.

We call them checkpoints because they also represent points in your voyage where you may want to provide a check-in status. This is handy when you want to let your float plan contacts know you reached some point in your journey or have returned home safely.

You may enable alerts for any checkpoint. Alerts provide a way for Float Plan Registry to remind you when its time to check-in and notify your contacts when if you are overdue.

What does it mean to "Publish" a float plan?
When you publish a float plan using Float Plan Registry, it becomes available for your contacts to view. In fact, when you publish a plan, Float Plan Registry automatically sends an email to your contacts containing a link they can follow to view your float plan online.
What is a Guest List?
A guest list is exactly that, a list of your guests. When you venture out with guests aboard which are not part of your crew, you can enter information about each person on your float plan's guest list. Information on the guest list includes the names, age, gender, and contact information of all your passengers.

If you are kayaking, another way to use the guest list is to record the names of the people paddling in your group. That way, a single float plan can be used to keep track of your entire group.

What if I don't have Internet or Cell Phone coverage to check in?
If you know you'll be traveling to a destination with limited or no internet or cell coverage, use optional checkpoints to form your itinerary rather than required checkpoints. With Optional checkpoints, the system will not expect a check-in status update from you at a specific time. You can then choose to check-in when communication is possible.

However, a required checkpoint for your return to port is a good idea. This tells your contacts that you have arrived home safely.
Do I have to re-publish my Float Plan after making changes?
No. If you've published your float plan, there is no need to re-publish it after making additional changes. Any time your float plan contacts view your float plan online, they will always see the latest edition, no matter how many updates or check-ins occur.
Can I enable alerts for select checkpoints of my float plan?
Yes. A float plan may contain any combination of alert-enabled and non-alert-enabled checkpoints.
What happens when I Snooze a checkpoint reminder?
When you "Snooze" a checkpoint reminder, the system will automatically add 60 minutes to the expected check-in time, and 60 minutes to the overdue-after time.
How long is the Snooze interval on checkpoint reminders?
One hour. When you hit the Snooze on a checkpoint reminder, the system will automatically send another reminder in one hour.
How long are Overdue Notices sent after a checkpoint is missed?
Float Plan Registry will send overdue notices once an hour for six hours to all the contacts listed on a float plan.
How can I share my float plans with my friends?
Float plans are shared in three ways:
  1. Float plans are automatically shared with contacts when you publish them.
  2. You can also share limited float plan information with members of your Virtual Yacht Club if your profile security settings allow. With adjustments to your profile security settings, you can share float plan information with your virtual yacht club members, friends of your virtual yacht club members (friends of friends), or with anyone that has a Float Plan Registry account (public). The default share setting keeps all information private.
  3. Create a public link to your float plan using the "Make Public" option available when you create your float plan. Share the link with whomever you choose.
Do my Float Plan Contacts need an account to view my Float Plans?
No. Float Plan Contacts receive an email with a link to your online float plan that does not require authentication.
What is a Vessel Log
Float Plan Registry allows you to maintain a vessel log within your Float Plan Registry account. You can make entries into your vessel log using your account, by sending an email to your vessel's unique email address (you may setup a vessel email when setting up your vessel), or by sending a text message to our vessel log number.

Profile questions:

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What is a Float Plan Registry Profile?
When you register for a Float Plan Registry account, you then record all the details about your boat, crew, and contacts into your profile. Then, when you build a float plan, it's a simple matter of assembling the relevant parts of your profile together.
Can I use Float Plan Registry if I have more than one Boat?
Yes. You can add as many boats as you wish to your profile. You can even designate one as your "default". When you build a float plan, you simply choose the boat you'll be using from your list of defined vessels.
What if I sell my boat?
No problem. Simply inactivate it. It will no longer be listed in the available vessels for new float plans. And, all your old float plans will still be conneted to it.
What is a Crew List?
A crew list is simply a list of all your detailed crew member information. When you build your Float Plan Registry member profile, you can add an unlimited number of crew members. You may also define a "default" set of crew members which normally travel with you. This "default" set of crew members will automatically be associated with any new float plan you create. Of course, you can select any crew member you wish to be part of your float plan.
What is a Float Plan Contact?
A float plan contact is a person you trust to send your float plans to. You define float plan contacts in your membership profile. When building a float plan, you are able to select which of your contacts will receive notice for the plan you are building. When you publish a float plan, each contact associated with your float plan automatically receives an email containing a link which allows them to view your float plan online, anytime they wish.
Is there a limit to the number of Contacts I can add to my profile?
No. You can add as many contacts as you wish to your profile. You may also designate which contacts are automatically added to your float plans by making them "default" contacts. Add family members, key friends, your marina manager, harbor master, anyone you wish. Of course, you'll want to check with them first to be sure they are up for the responsibility.
Why does my profile need Timezone information?
If you build a float plan itinerary that includes required checkpoints, the system uses the checkpoint arrival and overdue dates and times to generate automatic reminders and notices. In order for the notices to be generated and sent at the appropriate time, the system must know your local timezone.
Can I change the email address associated with my account?
Sure. It's easy. See the help article How do I change my Email Address?
Is my Float Plan Registry profile and float plan information secure?
You bet! We use the same SSL security and encryption technology as your most trusted sites to protect your information. Once you log in, all your pages are encrypted using SSL.

Other questions:

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What is a Virtual Yacht Club?
A Virtual Yacht Club is a group of other boaters you have connected with in your Float Plan Registry account. You can share your float plans with members of your Virtual Yacht Club. You can view your Vitural Yacht Club member's float plans and connect with them at any location or checkpoint.
Why would I create a Virtual Yacht Club?
For many of us, our love of boating has a lot to do with the people we meet while boating. Virtual Yacht Clubs gives you the opportunity to see what your friends boating plans are and easily connect with them on the water.