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Thread: Boat length mods

  1. #1
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Boat length mods

    I am sure there are folks on here that know far more than me when it comes to boating regulations regarding construction. I have a 17'6" Wooldridge AK. I love the little boat but it is very narrow in side ("93 model). I have heard that this is due to all of the flotation along the sides to meet the federal requirments. I have seen so many variations on boat "length" when shopping for one that it seems to be a sort of grey area. I was considering having a pair of 30" cooler racks welded to the back of my boat to give me some more storage space. Once these racks are part of the boat could I then name it and register it and consider it to be a 20' plus vessel?

    If it was considered a 20' vessel then it would seem that I can rip out all of that foam and rework the sides so that I had more floor space.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I don't know legally what would happen as far as doing that.

    I will say with boating projects you will be much, much, much better off just selling the boat and getting a 20' boat.

    With such a custom boat your resale will be seriously reduced, and if there was an accident your insurance company would have a perfect out to deny coverage based on "unsafe modifications to a boat".

  3. #3

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    If the boat title is clear, then it belongs to you and you can do what ever you wish. Coast Guard measurements are by the volume of water the hull will displace, so if you add to the hull displacement then it would be that length.
    Resale is always something to thing about. I have spent many thousands on a boat built in 1965. I no not see the day I will sale it and hopefully my family will enjoy the boat long after I am gone.
    It's a personal thing. MOst boats are resold many times.

  4. #4
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Positive floatation (usually foam) is required of manufacturers, not owners, of boats less than 20 feet in length. The owner is not legally obligated to keep or maintain positive flotation devices. But, keep in mind that such requirements are there for your safety. Large boats go down slower than small boats, and often carry dinghys or other life rafts. The positive floatation requirement for small boats gives passengers something to cling to when it sinks out from under them.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
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  5. #5
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Personally, I would not add any more dead weight to the back of my boat. Alaskans are easy to get out of balance. Moving a person in the seat can save/cost me MPG and MPH. On more than one run, I have asked people to swap seats due to their weight. Usually, it is to move weight to the front of the boat. My boat is 2006 and they moved the windshield forward for balance with the 4-stroke engine.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I am sure there are folks on here that know far more than me when it comes to boating regulations regarding construction. I have a 17'6" Wooldridge AK. I love the little boat but it is very narrow in side ("93 model). I have heard that this is due to all of the flotation along the sides to meet the federal requirments. I have seen so many variations on boat "length" when shopping for one that it seems to be a sort of grey area. I was considering having a pair of 30" cooler racks welded to the back of my boat to give me some more storage space. Once these racks are part of the boat could I then name it and register it and consider it to be a 20' plus vessel?

    If it was considered a 20' vessel then it would seem that I can rip out all of that foam and rework the sides so that I had more floor space.

    Thoughts?
    I doubt the CG would consider it a 20 footer, I have a 19-6 riverboat and had the vessel safetry check done this spring. I got a little nervous before the inspection because it does not have weight rating (yellow) placard. Probably another name for that tag that escapes me at the moment. Any way I had added a rear step and a grab bar in the front, these two items would have made the boat over 20 foot.
    So I e-mailed the CG prior to the inspection to find out where I stood w/o a placard. The reply was the CG does not take into account those items when determining the lenght of the boat. The other thing I found out is the placard is not requried by the owner. that is the boat builders resposibility, so I did recieve a USCG safety sticker. and as previously pointed out, adding a 2.5 foot extension to the back of a 17.5 Wooly is probably not a good idea.

  7. #7
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    Default boat mods

    At the risk of giving everyone a headache, take a look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metacentric_height Modifications to recreational boats in Alaska are extremely commonplace; occasionally, the mods will render the vessel non-seaworthy. Capsizing is a primary factor in fatal mishaps and we are starting to look very carefully at owner-modified boats. I'm not an attorney and don't know the legal ramifications of boat mods, but I'd guess that if a person owned a modified boat that someone got killed in, the lawyers would have quite the field day....

    There is a Product Assurance branch in the Coast Guard that inspects and tests factory boats for safety; they do not inspect/test privately modified boats. My recommendation is to hire a qualified marine engineer if you're considering major mods and even with minor mods, you can find yourself in deep water (excuse the pun, please!) if your metacentric height measurement is out of whack. Boat Safe! Mike

  8. #8
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    Default Google it?

    A short time ago I needed my boat to grow a few inches. I looked into how boat length is measured. There seems to be more than one way, but the consensus was that boat length is measured from the bow of the hull to the stern of the hull. Add ons, such as forward cleats, or stern float pods do not change the length of the boat. At least for registration and insurance purposes.

  9. #9
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Ben Sherbahn at Silver Streak Boats has done this kind of work on boats before. I had talked to him about it 4 years ago for my old boat while I was suffering 2 footitus but I just checked his web site and he is not longer mentioning extending boat lengths on his site. Might want to give him a call and get the skinny on if he still is or why he stopped and stipulations. Just a suggestion.

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