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Know A Boat's Capacity

BoatEd.com, Used by Permission, Copyright © 2000 by BoatEd.com

Boat Length Classifications

A boats length class dictates the equipment necessary to comply with federal and state laws. Boats are divided into four length classes:

  • Less than 16 feet  (Class A)
  • 16 feet to less than 26 feet (Class 1)
  • 26 feet to less than 40 feet  (Class 2)
  • 40 feet or longer (Class 3)



Inboard Motorboat Length



Length is measured from the tip of the bow in a straight line to the stern. This does not include outboard motors, brackets, rudders, bow attachments, or swim platforms and ladders not a molded part of the hull.

A Boats Capacity

Always check the capacity plate usually near the operators position or on the boats transom. This plate indicates the maximum weight capacity or the maximum number of people that the boat can safely carry.

PWC do not have a capacity plate. Always follow the recommended capacity in the owners manual and on the manufacturers warning decal.

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