Your Boat’s Gross Load Capacity and Horsepower Recommendations
You must be aware of the federal regulations for your boat’s engine power (horsepower) and gross load capacity (maximum weight). According to federal law, motorized boats that are less than 20 feet in length must have a capacity plate in the steering or helm area. Understand that the capacity recommendations for your boat are meant for boat operation in good weather conditions.
The boat capacity plate must be permanently displayed where it is clearly in view for the operator when the boat is underway.
Note: Coast Guard statistics indicate that capsizing is a leading cause of boating-related deaths. You can prevent your boat from capsizing by understanding the recommendations on the capacity plate.
The maximum passenger weight (in lbs.) and the equivalent number of adult passengers
The total maximum weight (in lbs.) including the gear, the engine and the total number of persons, or the total amount of passenger weight
The recommended maximum horsepower capacity
Determining Your Boat’s Capacities
Personal Watercraft Capacities
PWCs are a different type of boat and the acceptable loads they can carry are measured differently. Acceptable loading information will depend on the size of the PWC. If there isn’t a capacity plate, make sure you reference the state laws and the manufacturer’s information in the owner’s manual.