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Thread: legal question on horsepower ratings and boat identification

  1. #1
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    Default legal question on horsepower ratings and boat identification

    Hey you guys, two questions that are probably pretty basic.

    In regards to rated horsepower capacity: does local law enforcement in AK (e.g. State & Wildlife Troopers, Park and Forest Service, USFWS, USCG, etc.) pay much attention to the horsepower of the outboard on your boat as compared tot he data plate? I've run "overpowered" outboards for years in FL and never had an issue (although I keep hearing that it's actually illegal to do that-I don't know.) Wonder what the punishment is for running an o/b larger than the data plate calls for.

    In regards to boat ID and aforementioned data plate. The Grumman Sport Boat I bought last sumer had no official data plate...until I removed the rotting wood from both sides of the stern this evening. Guess what I found? Data plate. When I replace the wood, the data plate will be fully concealed again. Is it legal or acceptable practice to relocate that data plate to another part of the boat, or is required to be left as installed? (ORRRRR, given my aforementioned concern on horsepower, should I just put new wood over it and pretend this discussion never happened?

  2. #2

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    that little plate is just a suggestion in these parts . unless your on the peninsula they have a few more restrictioms everywere else you should be good to go. the only thing i think they really care about is did you pay your registration and do you have the required gear

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    im sure somebody will see that and get all offended people on here are very sensitive about ratings and things iv ran way overpowered motors on boats and never had any problems with the law even if it is illegal the guy writing the ticket would have to know alot about boats to figure it out

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    As stated before, it's pretty much "suggested" up here. Now, certain boat shops may look at it differently and not mount an overpowered engine on a boat per the ID plate just for CYA on their part and "liabilities". Depends on who ya talk to... But you can mount it yourself. I did. Then took it down for them to do the rigging. Easy cheesy....

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    The hull plate is the legal max hp. And correct. You will very very Seldom ever get checked on it. Like was mentioned above. Good luck finding a shop that will mount a motor on a boat that exceeds the rating.

    The other issue is god forbid you ever have an accident or incident with the boat where someone gets hurt. The lawyerswill eat you up!

    Now that said, I spent my childhood growing up in a sportboat. Mom dad, 2 kids and the dog along with a weeks forth of camping gear food and clothes. We ran a merc 9.9 on it. Dad still does as does my brother on his. Family friends ran Johnson 15's on theirs. Never an issue in 30 years. I've seen 25's on them too. Now you're asking for trouble lol. Our sportboats have 1000's of miles all over Mn and Canada. Countless air miles tied to the floats of a beaver or otter. The good old days. Great boats. And I would still run a 10 on one. Just pray a lawyer never has a reason to check your plate.I wwouldn't worry about a lawman checking it.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    The information and "specs" are not law, and the authorities cannot cite you for being in variance with the plate.
    It is the recommended horsepower not some legally binding regulation on your max HP. It may not be safe to run a bigger motor but they can't fine you or throw you in jail for doing so.
    I do not believe the data plate is required to be there once the boat has ben bought from the dealer. So I think you are good on that one. Especially since it was covered up when you bought it.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    I bought a jetboat from Alumaweld years ago. Wanted more HP than the current plate suggested on the boat.
    Alumaweld sent the dealer a new higher HP plate to mount on the boat and we were all happy, happy, happy!
    The boat is still in the Kenai area running the same motor.
    BK

  8. #8

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    Based on my research, there is no US Coast Guard regulation restricting you to the maximum HP rating on the plate, but some states do have restrictions such as Florida and Utah. I can't find any reference to any such restriction in Alaska law, but may have missed it.

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    Thanks for the feedback guy, much appreciated.

    Yeah, I have a 9.9 for my Sport Boat, as well. Seems like a good fit. I think I"ll leave the data plate where it is, as it will be well hidden behind the transom wood. It will make another way to Identify the boat as mine if it is stolen.

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    Member pacific23's Avatar
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    Most places... On a rec boat, go by the plate and if the same boat is commercial, well, hang what ever the transom will support.
    The final say so is usually YOUR insurance company, a quick phone call to them will CYA.

    I would love to have a 300 on my 23. but my Insurance Co. says 225 HP [ newer Pacific23s are rated at 275HP]

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    Quote Originally Posted by pacific23 View Post
    Most places... On a rec boat, go by the plate and if the same boat is commercial, well, hang what ever the transom will support.
    The final say so is usually YOUR insurance company, a quick phone call to them will CYA.

    I would love to have a 300 on my 23. but my Insurance Co. says 225 HP [ newer Pacific23s are rated at 275HP]
    I don't much care about what an insurance company thinks, as I have no insurance on it. (15' aluminum sq stern canoe made in '69 and an outboard from '77??? How much could it cost to replace, and how much damage can I do with it to someone else? Not much on either-not enough to warrant to insurance.)

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