Capsizing is a leading contributor to boating fatalities in the U.S. Paddlers must always be cautious when loading a canoe or kayak to prevent overloading or improper weight distribution, either of which would heighten the risk of a capsizing emergency. To stay safe (and stay dry!) you must know how much weight your paddle craft can safely carry and how to balance the weight load.
Does your paddle craft have a capacity plate attached to the hull? They aren’t required on paddle craft, but if your canoe or kayak has a capacity plate, it will indicate the maximum amount of weight that your paddle craft should carry. The ‘maximum weight’ includes the total weight of passengers, equipment, provisions, fuel and the engine assembly. If you don’t have a capacity plate, but you would like this information, check your owner's manual or contact the manufacturer.