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Coast Guard

sbourgoin

Where the paddle takes me
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
100
Location
Port Alberni, BC
Good Morning,
Just curious if anyone connects with the Coast Guard prior to a long trip (multi-week trips) and provides a float plan and details
Wondering if I should consider this for my planning for my inside passage trip from Victoria to Skagway in 2024.
I will have my inReach up and running and marine radio on hand.
Cheers,
Shawn
 
For personal trips, no. I leave a float plan with my wife and she is my contact on my InReach. In theory, if I don’t show up a the end of my trip, it’s her job to liaise with CG. But realistically, if I run into a problem during my trip, it’s my job to contact whoever I can via VHF or, if that doesn’t work, InReach.

I’m not sure that filing a plan with the CG would do much good. It’s not like they would track your progress.

One thing I will do, however, is this: if I am guiding a school group, I will sometimes look up the local RCM-SAR detachments and get in contact. I like to know what resources they have and how fast they could get to our group. I’ve also phoned the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre to get clarification on what resources are deployed seasonally. For example, they will deploy RHIBs to places like Cortes Island in the summer that would speed up any rescue. I just like to know that for my planning purposes when I am responsible for other people’s children.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
Yes...I am working on a detailed Float Plan to leave with a reliable person. I'll look into SAR contacts and add them to my phone.
 
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A related question: has anyone tried tracking an iPhone that is off the grid using Find My?

IE: if you turn your phone on when out on a remote trip, can your spouse track you?
 
A related question: has anyone tried tracking an iPhone that is off the grid using Find My?

IE: if you turn your phone on when out on a remote trip, can your spouse track you?
My recollection from using AirTags was that they were dependent on other people's phones who were near my AirTag (when the airline left it behind, for example). Apparently the FindMy Phone system works in a similar way. From the internet: Nearby devices securely send the location of your missing device to iCloud, so that you can find it in Find My.
Now, with iPhones having some satellite communication capability, that may be changing?
 
At least in the US, the coast guard does not want a float plan filed, until they need it to find you.

If it is a large happening, they may want you to have a marine event permit, which is a float plan on steroids. This is more likely in areas with active boating (Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium had to get one).

More common seems to get to have ground support connected by InReach, Spot, Sat Phone, etc. That person would have all the float plan info and be the most likely one to call if you don't check in.

Myself and another guy (Anders) were the safety support for Matt Krizan when he paddled the entire California Coast (link to Men's Journal article) about 10 years ago. He had an InReach and that was what we used to contact him. He used 2 of us both as duplicate (in case one of us wasn't available on a day) and also to double check - Anders and I both independently sent Matt weather/surf reports and if Anders and my predictions were off, Matt would start asking questions.

Matt used the breadcrumb feature, so we would see every 10 minutes or so where he was. He would also check in each night with us by text after he landed and got settled.

One night at the southern end of Big Sur (so north of Morro Bay), one of Anders and I noticed that his break crumb track ended short of the beach, but not on the beach. And he hadn't checked in yet. So we started talking with each other and deciding what to do, inclduing whether to call in the authorities. We came to the conclusion he was likely Ok, so we'd wait to see if he checked in. If he crashed and burned on landing (most likely problem at that point), the chance of his InReach dying at the same time seemed small, so we'd expect it to still transmit. In the end it just was that Matt turned the InReach off shortly after landing to save batteries. He thought he left it on long enough so we'd see he landed.
 
Good Morning,
Just curious if anyone connects with the Coast Guard prior to a long trip (multi-week trips) and provides a float plan and details
Wondering if I should consider this for my planning for my inside passage trip from Victoria to Skagway in 2024.
I will have my inReach up and running and marine radio on hand.
Cheers,
Shawn
Hi Shawn..

It is probably simpler to leave your trip intinerary with a solid responsible person. And contact them by phone when the opportunity comes up and of the INREACH has a communication feature. biggest issue I see is when your friend calls out CCG..... If you get direct comms before each leg discuss weather days abbr lack of tracking from INREACH that can occur in some places..... If a particular leg is 4 days then maybe decide that give me until 7 days befire calling CCG....

The tracker will Di an amazing job I use then for flying a big helicopter in many countries around the world from the back of a ship... Bottom line is no I wouldn't contact CCG... Just have the responsible pal keep track of you and have a few people watching you on the tracker.... I woukd tend to have the tracker attached directly to me when en route.

On big ocean crossing in the helicopter I have one tracking device attached to me and one on velcro on the dash.
Call if you want to chat 604 388 7600
Cheers LP
 
Ditto on that "Find My" - tags rely on BlueTooth Proximity (BlueTooth Range is about 30 ft) and an eventual WiFi (or cellular to WiFi) connection. I use them and though they let me know that, yes, my keys are in the house and I didn't leave them at the store (someone else was driving), at a distance, they may report the last known contact with another device rather than their current location.

Reviewing my Spot track after a trip, I'd also see myself still stranded offshore because I turned off the tracking when I landed - before it updated to my shore location. Maybe they've changed the tracking algorithm so it sends one more location point before it turns Tracking Off. Whatever the case, NO ONE ELSE - those watching at home - seemed to mind/notice that I was still 100 yards offshore.

This brings up the point of educating the responsible person back home on what constitutes an emergency. Because devices fail. And humans sometimes forget to push the "I'm here and okay" button when they land at a new campsite. I remind those watching that if I need help, I'll send a HELP signal. That does assume that I'll be able to (i.e. not knocked unconscious).

I've worked with three preset messages; "I'm Okay.", "I'm okay but I need help getting back", "Full on S&R SOS". I figured I'd use the second one if something happened to my boat and I needed a lift (water taxi) or tow to get back. I also may have a fourth, "I'm okay but off my float plan a bit because of weather or having too good a time."

One time, a person back home called the local police, who called the Sidney (B.C.) police, who called the Spot people, because the home person was not getting my Plan B messages - my error in message configuration. But, had they looked at the daily tracking chart, they would have seen that each day I did send a message and was moving closer to the return port. The Spot people understood this and told the Sidney Police right where we were (we had just landed 50 yards from the ferry dock).

So it's important that the responsible person understand all the information available. If tracking shows you at a different campsite each day - even if they don't get an "I'm here" message - then you (or someone with your device) is alive and moving.

You may also want to keep spare batteries at hand rather than in a drybag stowed in the boat.
 
If tracking shows you at a different campsite each day - even if they don't get an "I'm here" message - then you (or someone with your device) is alive and moving.

I do make sure to emphasize to my 'contact person' that I could be wind-bound in one spot for several days, so that's not a cause for worry.
And I also emphasize that I have the PLB and my VHF radio (and a spare VHF, and an AA battery pack) so that even if the satellite communicator (ex-SPOT, now ZOLEO) isn't working, they shouldn't worry.
I'm lucky that my wife got accustomed to the 'not to worry' principle back in the 1970s when I was off climbing, canoeing, and winter camping. :) No electronic do-dads then, and I'm not sure we would have used them if they had been available. It was a similar attitude to that held by present-day paddlers who won't use GPS - it changes the experience. I know that many climbers frowned on the use of radios on 'big money climbing expeditions' when that started.
 
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I get the disdain for the electronics; I do. BUT, so many times around here (in the mountains) there are failed rescue attempts because even if the lost person was able to contact help, they didn't know where they were. In one sad case, a climber was in a snow cave, saying his last words to his wife, but he had no way to tell her (and S&R) his lat/long. In another case, a family got stuck on a snow-covered Forest service road - out of cell service. No way to contact anyone and no way to tell someone where they were.

Perhaps it will take the sting out if you remember that you are reducing the risk of those who may eventually be sent out on a rescue. And there is thinking of the person back home. They do fret.

Have you ever had to car caravan with someone and had the stress of keeping each other in sight with heavy traffic and big trucks? It is so much more relaxing if you each have one of those hiker-type (FRS?) walkie-talkies. They don't have a lot of range but you don't have to constantly keep the other vehicle in sight.

So I have to think of it as an evolutionary tool; it wasn't used before because it wasn't available before. And remember, is not a perfect tool and may not work every time - like most things in the world.

These things do not have to be primary devices; they are just supplemental to the "right way" to do it.

PS: "Back then" I was only thinking of myself. After all, I was in my 20's and Invincible. :)
 
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