It is essential to know how much extra horsepower is allowed on the boat. If you are not well aware of such details, you might end up sinking your boat due to overloading with a too powerful boat engine. Let us dive deep into the topic but first of all, let me tell you that the maximum horsepower for your boat is on the capacity plate.
What is horsepower?
Horsepower is the power equal to 550-foot pounds/ second. Horsepower is used to measure the power of an engine. The term horsepower was earlier exclusive only to the power of the steam engine. But nowadays, the term ‘horsepower is used for boat engines and auto engines. You can find plenty of outboard motors featuring 5 HP to 25 HP in the market. You might be wondering who invented the first steam engine? The answer is James Watt. Watt improvised on a design pioneered by Newcomen.
What is a capacity plate?
The capacity plate is located in the transom or the vicinity of the boat operator. The capacity plate indicates the number of persons or maximum capacity on board. Boats that overload is in danger of sinking. It is highly advisable to follow the indication of the capacity plate.
- You should never exceed the maximum number of people mentioned or the maximum weight capacity.
- When a capacity plate indicates the maximum weight, it means the combined weight of the outboard motor, passengers, and gear. Generally, a boat also is equipped with PFDs or life jackets, fire extinguishers, etc.
- In many places, to exceed the maximum weight is a violation of marine rules.
In case if you don’t have a capacity plate, the US Coast Guard recommends a manual method to calculate the maximum weight suitable on board:
- The formula is; multiply the length and width of the boat
- Divide the result by 15.
For example- an 18 feet long and 6 feet wide boat can carry six people at most.
What is the various horsepower capacity of different boats?
It is essential to know the federal regulation of the boat’s engine power. According to federal law, boats that are less than 20 feet have the capacity plate in the helm area or steering wheel. The capacity of the horsepower your boat can hold depends on the following factors;
The manufacturer gives limits
Check the owner’s manual or the capacity plates for further information.
Boat horsepower to the weight ratio
Pounds per horsepower or horsepower per pound. For example, let’s say your boat’s weight is 5000 pounds and contains a 300 horsepower engine. Divide 5000 by 300; the result will be 16.6 pounds per horsepower. If you do the opposite, divide 300 by 5000, you will get 0.06 horsepower per pound.
It is impacted by horsepower, the amount of fuel consumption of the boat. You need to choose the right fuel system for your boat.
What functions your boat serves and your way of operating the ship.
Number of passengers
The number of passengers you usually carry.
The general rule is based on weight. It is advised to have a weight between 20 and 40 pounds for each horsepower.