PADDLERsmart! Canada Knowledge Base

Module 03 - Trip Planning and Preparation


A Trip Plan (also called a ‘Float Plan’ or ‘Sail Plan’) is a document that outlines your expected travel plans and schedule while you’re on the water. You should always give your Trip Plan to a responsible person on shore, before heading out for your trip.

In the event that you do not return from your trip on time, a Trip Plan can be used by search and rescue organizations to help pinpoint your location.

Click here to download a BOATsmart! Trip Plan!

Preparing a Trip Plan

Your Trip Plan should include:

  • The name and license number of your boat
  • The type of boat (power or sail)
  • The size and colour of your boat
  • The type of engine your boat is equipped with
  • Distinguishing features of your boat
  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • Number of passengers (guests) onboard
  • A description of your trip, including:
    • Time of departure
    • Time of return
    • Proposed route
  • Type of radiophone and channel monitored (if so equipped)
  • List of safety equipment onboard including flares, life jackets, PFDs and life rafts
  • Instructions in case of emergency

Trip Plans should always be left with a responsible person who knows what to do in case of an emergency. Even for short boating trips, you should let a responsible person know where you will be boating, when you are expected to arrive home, and the distinguishing features of your boat.

Filing your Trip Plan

Where to file your Trip Plan: A trip plan should be filed on shore with a responsible person, a marina, or with the local Canadian Coast Guard detachment. The person you file your trip plan with should know what to do if there is an emergency.

Changing your Trip Plan: If you change plans during your trip, notify the person that you filed your trip plan with. This ensure that they know your location, and will avoid a false alarm or unnecessary emergency actions.

On return: Once you’ve returned from your trip, you must notify the person or organization with which you filed your Trip Plan to let them know that you have returned safely. Failing to do so may result in a false alarm and the launch of a search and rescue operation.

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