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What is a float plan and why you need one

A float plan is a detailed list of information regarding your trip. It contains the who, what, where, and why of your planned day out or voyage. Think of it as an inventory of the entire trip. You need it because every year emergency services receive calls about people who haven’t returned back from a boating trip. Unfortunately, unless the missing person left behind a detailed float plan, it can be hard to know where they were headed, who was with them, and when they were expected to return.

Without a float plan you are counting on someone else to remember detailed information that rescue authorities will need in order to find you. Information that can make a difference in the outcome.

Information to include in a float plan

Describe the vessel, including its registration number, size, make, capacity, horsepower, and type of engine. State what safety equipment you have onboard, where you are going, the detailed route, your planned departure time, your expected return time and the number of people you have onboard. If possible, include a photograph of your vessel with your float plan. Leave the float plan at your local marina, with a relative, or friend.

Calculating your arrival time

Allow for a buffer zone around your arrival time which accommodates for various conditions you may encounter during the trip. You will need to consider weather, wind, boat speed, any known issues which could slow you down, possible stops you could be making and trip time. The longer the trip the greater the your buffer zone will need to be.

Check in at your final destination

When you arrive at your destination contact the person/s you left your float plan with. Let them know all is well and advise of any changes to your arrival time.

Download our FREE float plan template (interactive PDF form – complete, save and email as you need it)

If you get caught in a sudden storm or run into an emergency situation, having a float plan filed with a responsible person could save your life.

Food Aboard

Boating Provisioning Checklist

Food Aboard
Ensure you have plenty supplies on board to provide you with sufficient energy to enjoy your boating day out.

Traveling by boat is one of the most pleasurable ways to reach a destination for fishing, waterskiing, swimming or simply anchoring up. If you want a relaxing trip, it is important to ensure you have plenty supplies on board to provide you with sufficient energy to enjoy you day out on the water to the full.

Healthy, tasty and hydrating

Hydrating with food
Out on the water you are exposed to the elements – wind, sun and salt. These natural stressors make you tire more rapidly, regardless of your age or level of fitness. Most of the water you need has to come from drinking it. NOTE: If you are travelling two nautical miles  or more from shore you must carry two litres of water for every person on board.

You know you can also hydrate with food.

Think high water content fruit and vegetables such as:

  • Watermelon and strawberries (contain roughly 92% water water per volume)
  • Grapefruit with 91%, melons with 90% and peaches with 88% water.
  • Pineapple, cranberries, orange and raspberries 87% water by weight.
  • Apricots hold 86 percent water, while blueberries and plums contain 85% water.
  • Apples and pears contain 84%.
  • Cherries and grapes contain an average of 81% water.
  • A banana’s composition includes 74% water.
  • Top of the vegetables list are cucumber and lettuce, consisting of 96% water.
  • Zucchini, radish and celery are comprised of 95% water.
  • 94% of tomato’s weight is water, and green cabbage is 93% water.
  • Vegetables which contain 92% water include cauliflower, eggplant, red cabbage, peppers and spinach.
  • Broccoli is 91% water by weight.
  • Carrots contain  87% water. Green peas and white potatoes contain 79% water.
Watermelon
Watermelons contain roughly 92% water water per volume making them great hydrating fruit to have aboard.

Good food to have aboard

Fresh salads are always enjoyable aboard. During summer months it would be a shame not to make a stop on your way and grab the juiciest and tastiest fresh vegetables from a market located near the boat ramp.  Mix tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, and onion will ensure your necessary intake of vitamins for the rest of the day. This is exactly what you need when you spend hours out in the hot sun and wind. These foods contain high quantities of water. Add cheese, nuts and sprinkling of fresh or dried herbs to make your salad tastier. During the colder winter months think thermoses of soup. Try a warm potatoe salad enhanced with onions, celery, capers, herbs, chopped hard boiled eggs, homemade mayonnaise and crispy bacon. This salad will make your day.

Eggs

Eggs are rich in protein. They will boost energy levels and keep you in the right mood for your trip. Other essential nutrients in eggs are Vitamins B12, A, E and D, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, and selenium. All these elements are essential for overall health.  Bring wraps full of scambled eggs, chives, smoked salmon or crispy bacon.

Tuna or salmon

Fish is an important source of Omega-3 which helps to protect the heart, brain and keep skin and hair looking healthy. Tuna is a rich source of omega-3, good proteins, and Vitamin D. It makes a light and tasty meal or snack for crew. Open a can and spread on toast or crackers.  Add sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of dried and/or fresh oregano or basil to complement this nutritious food.

Fruits

Just like vegetables, fresh fruits are great to help reduce the effects of dehydration and provide a high intake of vitamins. The best choice are fresh seasonal fruits you can pick up from local producers on your way to the marina. Those containing high quantities of water are recommended.

Home-made sandwiches

There’s nothing better than the classical sandwich. Sandwiches will help you feel energetic especially if you spread them with a little butter and your favourite chutney, line with lettuce and mix them with ingredients like meat, cheese, salami, smoked chicken, turkey, or fish with vegetables.

Quick snacks and sweet treats

If you can carry a esky or portable refrigerator aboard it’s useful to pack olives, pickles, cheese and salami. Just slice and put them on a large plate for everyone to enjoy with crackers or fresh bread. Whip up a big batch chocolate brownies, pack into eco-friendly biodegradable zip sealing bags and enjoy!

These are some of the basic foods that will keep you full and spirits up.

Waterspouts at sea

Waterspouts are a natural wonder to look at, but when
fully-formed can be destructive to vessels.

Waterspouts look like a slender tornado but, only occur over water. They are caused by  cool, unstable air masses passing over the warmer waters causing up-draughts to form, which can tighten up into a spinning column. The cool, moist air usually supports a full condensation funnel.

They are occasionally seen near the coast in late summer and autumn.  Waterspouts can be dangerous for boaters and shoreline locations. They are not usually a threat farther inland as they collapse soon after moving onshore.

Though considered to be  generally non-destructive at sea, a waterspout has the potential for being destructive. Like a tornado, the most destructive aspect is its ability to carry anything that comes in its way with it. Sand particles, small floating structures, animals and sometimes even small boats may be carried along with a waterspout.


Avoid navigating through a waterspout

Avoid the temptation for a closer look. Try a course at right angles to its apparent direction of movement.

Look for the weather signs
Dark spots on the water, followed by rings or a sudden shift in wind can be warning signs of a developing waterspout. Look for the telltale signs in the line of flat bottom cumulus clouds or thunderstorms, or in the lines of thunderstorms that can develop any time of year.

If a waterspout is in close proximity and you are unable to avoid it, take down any sail, close any hatches and if possible stay below deck.

Find out more about weather for boaters from the Bureau of Meteorology.

 

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