Before you take off on a trip it is wise to inform family and friends about your intended course, destination and arrival plans. This simple practice is a safe guard to make sure that you have people ashore who are going to be concerned about your wellbeing if you don’t keep to your predicted schedule. There is a Float Plan form that you can complete and send to your contacts (don’t send this to the USCG) by visiting this website, http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/.
Here is what the USCG says,
“FLOAT PLAN. INSTRUCTIONS: Complete this plan before you go boating and leave it with a reliable person who can be depended upon to notify the Coast Guard, or other rescue agency, should you not return, or check-in as planned. If you have a change of plans, or will be delayed, notify the person holding your Float Plan.”
We recommend that our clients become familiar with preparing float plans and develop a reliable shore-based contact crew as part of their travel planning routine. The USCG float plan form includes a smart pre-departure overview including a check list for safety gear, a list of passengers, travel waypoint itinerary, and expected departure / arrival and check-in times.
Here is a link to the actual USCG Float Plan PDF document.
On page three of the form there is a “Boating Emergency Guide” that your shore-based family and friends can follow to notify the USCG if you do not check in within a reasonable amount of time of your predicted arrival.