Vicki asks “How Many People Can Fit in a Boat?”
That’s a very good question, Vicki, because
overloading a small boat is a very dangerous thing to do. Luckily, there are some federal
regulations helping to protect you.
Boat builders must comply with Federal law by putting a Capacity Plate in sight of the helm (steering area) on motorized boats less than 20 feet in length. This plate displays three important items: the maximum weight of persons on board in pounds, the maximum carrying weight of the vessel in pounds and the maximum horsepower recommended for the boat.
If you own a boat that was built prior to the Federal law mandating capacity plates, or have a homemade boat, the following formulas can be used to determine safe loading capacity.
Remember that you need to keep everything
in the boat balanced – this includes people, pets, coolers, etc.. Even if your boat has
the capacilty to carry a few people and a few coolers filled with soda, you don’t want
everyone sitting together on one side. You should also secure your gear, so it doesn’t all
slide to one side if a boat passing you creates a wake or you become unbalanced for some
Also, in a small boat, it is best to remain low and toward the center. See How Do Boats Float? for more information.
Thanks for the question, Vicki!