Waterways offer a natural and perfect setting for boat riding. Spending your time sailing brings forth a unique way of interacting with some of nature’s hidden gifts. Besides that, you can also engage in other activities, for example, fishing.
However, come to think of it, before setting out, you must ensure that you have met all the boat safety standards.
In most instances, some sailors violate the boat safety standards by overloading or overpowering. This makes it challenging to control the boat. It can cause your water vessel to capsize or sink, putting your life and that of the people aboard at risk.
What is the best way to avoid overloading your boat? Here are some pro tips to help you safely load your vessel.
Best Ways to Avoid Overloading Your Boat
Start by Identifying How Much Weight Your Boat Can Carry
Whenever you hope onto a lift or elevator, there is always that warning plaque. It denoting the maximum number of persons or weight it can carry at a go. Boats too do have a similar capacity plate that specify the maximum capacity.
However, unlike the elevator, your boat won’t stall or warn you in case you overload it. As such, it is essential that you note the total number of people and the maximum weight capacity that your boat can carry.
Usually, the capacity plate is always affixed close to the captain’s station. Make sure you follow the guidelines on overall weight allowed for your safety and that of other passengers.
Carrying Heavy Loads
Instances do arise where you need to carry heavy luggage (that do not exceed the maximum weight capacity). In such cases, place the heavy loads at the bottom and ensure that they are at or close to the center. This will ensure that there is even weight distribution on your vessel. This boosts balance and by extension, the safety of those onboard.
Please, No Extra Passengers
The capacity plate does indicate the number of persons the boat can carry at any given time. However, most people tend to overlook the rules and try estimating the number of passengers by seat size.
Always stick to the number stipulated under the capacity guidelines.
Pro Tip! Always try to carry a little less than the maximum number denoted. Here is a formula you can use to determine the maximum number of passengers assuming each weighs 150lbs averagely.
Number of People = Boat Length (ft.) x Boat Width (ft.) ÷ 15
Don’t Compromise on the Essential Boating Gear
Proper sailing gear is essential to ensuring your safety and that of others while you’re in the water. Some people are tempted to leave out some safety gear to help meet the maximum safe weight capacity.
This is not advisable, always try to work out everything and ensure that the safety numbers are right. Preferably, pack the safety gear first before loading the extra items.
The Rule of Thumb
When planning for your trip, you’re typically asked to avoid packing excess stuff. If you don’t need it don’t carry it. It is always wise that you make a packing list of the essential items you will require during your trip.
Additionally, note down the weight of each item on your packing list so that you can know if you are within the allowed weight window.
Overloading your boat will strain your boat’s engine making it challenging to operate and (or) navigate. Aside from that, it can also lead to fires due to the engine overheating, putting your life and those of your passengers in danger.
To improve your safety, also consider factors such as the weather, boat’s build, and your experience level in boat operation.