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Boat Size Classifications & Requirements

Boat Classes By Length

Federal and state law requires that you have specific safety equipment on board depending on the class of your boat.

To know whether you need flares, a fire extinguisher, a flashlight, an air horn or all of the above, you'll need to know the boat's class.

Boat classes are determined by boat length. Let's review the four different classes of recreational boats as determined by length.

2 people on a class A boat, length is less than 16ft

Class A

Boats measuring less than 16 feet.

 person on a class 1 boat, length is 16ft to less than 26 ft

Class 1

Boats measuring more than 16 feet but less than 26 feet.

people on a class 2 boat, length is 26ft to less than 40 ft

Class 2

Boats measuring more than 26 feet but less than 40 feet.

people on a class 3 boat, length is 40 ft to less than 65 ft

Class 3

Boats measuring more than 40 feet but less than 65 feet.

How To Determine a Boat's Size

boat on water, length measured from bow to stern

To find out a boat's length, measure along its center line from the outside of the bow to the outside of the stern. That means any attachments, such as swim platforms or wakeboard towers, don't count towards its length.