Before heading out, you should complete a “Trip Plan”. The plan should include enough details to assist in an emergency or search and rescue efforts. The plan should be filed with a responsible person who is familiar with the instructions that need to be followed in an emergency situation. If changes are made to the plan during the trip, this person should be notified so that in the event of an emergency, unnecessary actions and confusion are avoided. Do not forget to inform the person when the trip is over. Trip Plans should include the following information:
- Name and number of the boat and type of engine.
- Whether the boat is a sailing or a power driven boat.
- Name, address, and telephone number of the owner.
- Number of persons on board.
- Size, type, colour and distinguishing features of the boat.
- Type of radiotelephone, if any, and the channel monitored.
- Safety equipment carried, including flares, PFDs, and liferafts.
- Description of the trip, time of departure, time of return, and route.
- Instructions in case of emergency and other pertinent information.
Pre-departure checklists are also important. Before heading out on a boat, the boat operator should go through a pre-departure checklist. Take this precaution to avoid situations that could lead to an emergency.