Stay Safe on the Water with what3words and a Float Plan


July 24, 2023


Introducing a new tool that assists in location, navigation, safety and emergencies when out on the water. what3words is a free app that is used to identify a location anywhere in the world. 

what3words is uniquely different to Google Maps. The tool allows you to communicate exact locations using GPS coordinates, making it more precise than other map programs. It’s a geocode system that has divided and given every 3-metre square in the world a unique code. Essentially a 3-word “address.” 

For example, if you were out on the water and needed to send someone your exact location, the steps are simple. When you open the app, it immediately gathers your location and generates three words. You can then share these words (location) with anyone you choose.  


Shown in the first image, the map (and entire world) is divided into small squares – even parks and bodies of water. By clicking on any square, it automatically generates three words. 

In the second image, someone could be stuck in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia. They could easily open the app and their 3-word address would be generated. In this case it’s “refreshment.smartest.asserted.” They can then share these words with significant others or emergency authorities and help could be sent to that exact 3-metre square location. 

Not only is it a tool for helping people find you, but it’s a great app for navigating to places on land or meeting up with friends. Simply go to an address or place on the map, touch a square and navigate to that location. 

No matter where you are in the world, on water or on land, what3words helps you find and share precise locations. A great new tool for out on the water. 

You can download the app on Apple here

You can download the app on Google Play here 

Learn more about what3words here 

Float Plan














Float Plan

One of the easiest ways to increase safety out on the water this year is getting into the habit of filing a float plan. 

A float plan is a safety tool that provides and outlines the details of every trip you take out on the water. It specifies all the necessary information about where and when a vessel is going. 

Typically, a float plan should consist of these key points:
• Name of everyone onboard 
• Description of the vessel (make, model, year, colour, name)
• Location(s) travelling to
• Return date and time

Even if you’re heading out on a kayak or stand-up paddle board for 30-minutes or out on a fishing boat for a few hours, it’s important to have a float plan no matter what the vessel or length of trip. 

Float plans should become second nature. They don’t need to be complicated. Leave your float plan with someone every time you leave the dock. This can be a family member, friend or a marina/yacht club staff member. It can either be verbal, written or a single text message. The more information the better, but it can be as simple as telling someone what time you’ll be back to the dock. 

Remember to always carry a main form of communication along with a backup. Cellphones and VHF radios are both a must.  

Location detecting services such as Find My iPhone on Apple products as well as Find My Device on Google/Android are other great ways to share your location with family and friends. Make sure to download what3words!

Remember to stay safe as you head out onto the water this season. Happy boating! 


Allegra Smith-Herriott is the Associate Editor of Canadian Yachting. She is a Sport Media graduate from Ryerson University and is an active sailor and power boater on Georgian Bay. She can be reached at

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