Filing a float plan
Mid morning yesterday we watched our friends on the schooner Coral pull up their anchor, raise sails and quietly slip out of the anchorage. Quietly that is until neighboring boats began blowing their horns, bidding them farewell. Coral’s destination was Trinidad where we understand they plan to haul the ship to have some maintenance done.
Trinidad is a very popular location for having boat work done due to the excellent availability and lower cost of both parts and services. There are apparently downsides to Trinidad but because we have never been there ourselves, anything I write here about that would be hearsay. We have however read that, in the past, some boats have had issues with pirates while traveling between here and Trinidad. What some people do, to add an additional level of safety while making the transit, is file a float plan with the Trinidadian Coast Guard. The basics for doing so, which I copied from an internet post I found, are as follows:
First, contact the Coastguard prior to your departure – they need to know:
- boat name
- no. of persons on board
- brief description (monohull/catamaran, colour, size)
- estimated departure date & time
- estimated arrival date & time
Contact the coastguard on arrival.
Important: If you decide not to stop in Trinidad or have to abandon your passage and turn back, please do contact the coastguard as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary concern and search operations.
- Trinidad Coastguard – by phone on 868 634 1476 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Grenada Coastguard – visit the coastguard in Prickly Bay, or call them on 473 444 1931
In addition to the float plan, there’s a 24/7 monitoring station, Trinidad’s North Post Radio. Operating on VHF Channel 16, they can be contacted in the event of an emergency or if you prefer, they will monitor your progress (3 hour call ins) between Trinidad and Grenada. Their equipment is capable of reaching southern Grenada.
Should we decide to venture south to Trinidad, for whatever reason, we will no doubt file a float plan as I just described.
Coral is a pretty big vessel to maneuver between the anchored boats.
Good bye, guys. See you in a month or so.