PADDLERsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 03 - Trip Planning and Preparation


Your float plan is a document that outlines your expected travel journey. Consider it a way of leaving a ‘footprint’ on the water that can be followed by someone searching for you.


Where to Leave Your Float Plan

A float plan should be left on shore with a responsible person who will know what to do  with the information in the event of an emergency. If you don’t return from your trip on time, the person with your float plan can use it to help rescue teams locate you.


The Communication Forms of a Float Plan

At minimum, you can text a friend, send an email, make a phone call or leave a note. If you have Facebook, you could make a status update which includes the following information about your whereabouts:

  • What are you doing?
  • Where are you going?
  • When will you return?
  • Who are you going with?


Float Plan Information

A Facebook post or brief text message will be helpful, but if you ever find yourself lost and floating in the dark, you’ll be glad to have filed a more complete float plan with someone you trust. Rescue authorities may already be on their way!

Additionally, rescuers will be able to respond much faster if your float plan contains the following details:

  • Your time of trip departure.
  • Your expected time of return.
  • The names of the paddlers in your group.
  • Your planned route (and any possible stops).
  • The make and color of your paddle craft.
  • Your instructions in case of emergency.

Make it easy for yourself and use the BOATsmart! Float Plan. Download free copies from®!


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