Safe Boating Course


CHAPTER 1: The Boat


The other topics that we learned about in Chapter One involved federal and state regulations.

First, we learned that there are four different classes of boat, each determined by their overall length. One of the reasons why it’s important to know what class of boat you are operating is that each class has different mandatory equipment requirements. In a “Class A” boat, you may only need a whistle as a sound-signaling device. Not so in a “Class 3” boat. It’s important to know and comply with these guidelines both for safety and to meet the law.

CLASS A (Less than 16 ft in length)

CLASS 1 (16ft to less than 26 ft in length)

CLASS 2 (26 ft to less than 40 ft in length)

CLASS 3 (40 ft to less than 65 ft in length)

We then learned about two important pieces of information that are attached to a boat’s hull: the Capacity Plate and the Hull Identification Number.

The Capacity Plate carries information about the maximum number of persons, the maximum gross load capacity, which is the total weight including persons, supplies, fuel and engine and steering equipment, and the maximum outboard engine size you can attach to your boat. We also reviewed some handy calculations for determining maximum capacity and horsepower if your boat doesn’t have a capacity plate.

Things to remember include:

  • you might need to adjust the number of persons in your boat if they weigh over one hundred and fifty pounds; and
  • you always need to decrease the weight in your boat in bad weather.

Overloading or overpowering your boat can have serious consequences. You never want to be in a situation where your boat is swamped or capsized.

Finally, we learned about the Hull Identification Number, a serial number for boats that’s used to register a boat and track its history. Remember, never deface a HIN!

Okay, it’s time for your first quiz. Ready?

One tip before we start. Remember to look over all your answers before pressing the submit button.