Loading your Boat

If you’re anything like us, and looking to get the best out of your time on the water, it’s all about being prepared. Complete your pre-departure checklist, check the weather, put on your life jacket and get ready to hit the waterways.

Before you take off from the dock, it’s important to consider how you load your boat with both your equipment and the passengers you’ll have onboard. Loading your boat improperly, either by overloading it or by uneven weight distribution, can result in unpredictable boat handling. Here are our tips to help you load your boat accurately.

  1. Consult your pleasure craft’s compliance notice on your boats hull and ensure that:
    • Equipment and people do not exceed the ‘recommended gross load capacity’ of the craft
    • The number of people onboard does not exceed ‘the equivalent number of adult persons’ the craft is capable of safely carrying
  2. Ensure each passenger is wearing a properly fitted and approved PFD or life jacket.
  3. Be sure that the boat operator boards first and then assists each passenger aboard.
  4. Position equipment and people on the boat so that weight is equally distributed and as low as possible throughout the watercraft.
  5. Each person should be properly seated and positioned before the next person comes aboard.
  6. Check that all equipment is securely fastened and stored properly to prevent uncontrolled shifting once the craft is underway–you should stow gear in lockers that are easily accessible in case of emergency and as low as possible to help stabilize the watercraft.

Equipment being loaded onto a boat

Instructions for Personal Watercraft Passengers

If you’re a passenger in a boat, there are a few things you should know to be sure you have a safe enjoyable time out on the boat. Keep the following in mind:

  • Know the location of the safety equipment onboard
  • Read and understand the warning labels on the powerboat before heading out
  • Understand that a personal watercraft is less stable than a traditional vessel and that the boat will become more unstable as each passenger boards the craft
  • Understand the importance of keeping your weight stable and evenly distributed
  • Keep legs and arms within the boat at all times
  • Stay away from the boats intake grate while the engine is running – items such as long hair, loose clothing, or PFD straps can become entangled in the moving parts of the jet intake system, resulting in severe injury or death
  • Understand that the jet propulsion system is powerful and water and/or debris exiting the jet thrust nozzle can cause severe injury–operators and passengers should avoid being close to the jet thrust nozzle at the rear of the machine
  • Never place their feet or legs in the water to aid turning
  • Hold onto the seat strap while underway