Chapter 1: The Basics of Your Boat

Chapter Review

After a brief overview of what was covered in this chapter, there will be a chapter test to ensure one is comfortable with the material before moving onto chapter two.

Sides of a boat

In this chapter, one learned about the specific terms for the different directions on a boat; bow, stern, starboard, and port. The various parts of a boat, and terms which will be important when discussing safety, were also covered.

Boat Terms and Definitions

Additionally, the different types of hulls and the advantages of each were also covered. Remember that the V-shaped hull is the most common type of hull, on powerboats.

V-Shaped Hull:

V-Shaped Hull

Flat-Bottomed Hull:

Flat-Bottomed Hull

Other than the parts of the vessel, one also learned about different regulations on both the federal and state level. Recall that recreational boats will fall into one of four different classes, based on their length. The class of boat determines the amount and type of safety equipment you must take with you when you head out.

Boat Classes

The three different types of engines: Outboard, Inboard, and Sterndrive were also covered. Remember that the Outboard and Sterndrive engines are responsible for both steering and propelling the boat.


Boat Inboard Engine


Boat Outboard Engine

Two of the most important things discussed in this chapter are the Hull Identification Number and the Capacity Plate.

The Hull Identification Number is a serial number used to track a boat's history, make, and model. Never deface the HIN and ensure that the lettering follows the standards for color, placement, and size.

Hull Identification Number

The capacity plate is significant because it details the maximum number of people, maximum gross load, and often the maximum horsepower. We also introduced the equation needed to calculate the maximum horsepower if it is absent from the capacity plate.

Remember that the maximum gross load is a combination of all the people, equipment, tools and fuel. Take all of these factors into account when trying to determine whether one is within the maximum gross load. One may need to adjust the number of people, on a vessel, if occupants weigh over 150 pounds, as this is the weight used to calculate the maximum person capacity. Therefore, it's possible to go over the maximum gross load, even without exceeding the maximum person capacity.

Overloading or overpowering a boat can result in damaged property and personal injury. So, when in doubt, always be cautious with the maximum gross load and maximum person capacity.