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Know your Boat’s Capacity Limits

The U.S. Coast Guard requires every boat less than 20 feet to list the vessel’s capacity limitations. This includes the number of people, the overall weight, and the boat’s power maximums. The weight is not just based on the number of people on board, but also added gear and equipment. Therefore, it is not recommended that you exceed either the number of people or the weight. You could be ticketed by law enforcement for exceeding the vessel’s capacity listing.


Grady-White adheres to stricter standards set by the American Boat and Yacht Council and the National Marine Manufacturers Association which require capacity plates to be included on all boats up to 25 feet. Boats over 25 feet are not equipped with capacity plates, leaving it up to the boat owner to use their best judgement on how many passengers they can safely carry.


A good rule of thumb is that you should only carry the number of people that you have actual seating positions for in the boat.

Carrying too much weight in your boat, whether people or equipment, can cause the following concerns:
• Reduced control of the boat.
• Decreased stability.
• Increased risk of taking on water from large waves.


If your boat is sitting with the scuppers below the water line, you may want to reposition or reduce your load.

When determining the right number of people and equipment for your boat, consider not only the recommendations of the boat manufacturer, but also the current and predicted conditions of the waters where you’ll be boating. Rough conditions may call for a decrease in weight.


Following these measures will help ensure a terrific day on the water every time.