The California Department of Boating and Waterways reports that there were 473 boating accidents in 2012 — a decrease from 512 in 2011. There were 53 people killed in the 2012 boating accidents. It is difficult to determine how many deaths or injuries could have been avoided if proper float plans had been completed.
A float plan is compared to having insurance. Just like insurance does not prevent an accident but helps after the fact; a float plan cannot prevent a crash, but can help prevent loss of life or a catastrophic injury.
A float plan is a document detailing your departure time, travel itinerary and destination point. It should be left with your marina, yacht club or friend. The plan also contains a description of your boat, the list of passengers (names and contact details) and a list of the safety equipment on board.
Although tracking transmitters, such as Personal Locator Beacons or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons, are the most effective ways to signal for assistance, not every California boater possesses such devices. A float plan can be an effective option in helping rescuers locate survivors of boat accidents.
The California Division of Boating and Waterways explains that the search for a late-arriving boat has an increased degree of success if the U.S. Coast Guard or other rescue agencies know where to search. The state agency provides a sample float plan to be filled out by boaters.
Float plans are not just for skippers of big fancy boats. The following California boaters submit float plans:
Boating accidents are often caused by negligent maintenance or a defective boat design. A personal injury lawsuit may be filed against the parties responsible for your injuries. An experienced San Diego boating accident attorney is available for a free consultation to discuss your case.