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The Terminology of Boat Technology

When it comes to boat terminology, constantly changing methods and materials can contribute to increased confusion.
Boating Safety


DEADRISE: The angle of the V of a hull's bottom measured from a flat plane. The marine industry measures deadrise at the transom for a convenient comparison.

DRAFT: A vessel's depth (including props, shafts and struts or outboard lower unit) below the water's surface. "Draft" is a noun, not a verb. A boat draws three feet; it doesn't draft three feet.

LOA: Readers specifically asked about this one. And no, I have no answer as to why boatbuilders list models differently than the actual length. LOA means the true length over all, including any overhangs like a bow pulpit or a transom swim platform or bracket. The actual length of a boat without any overhangs is called length on deck (LOD).

NMMA OR CE CERTIFICATION: The National Marine Manufacturers Association has a very stringent set of guidelines boatbuilders must meet to qualify their hulls for NMMA Certification. Those guidelines are based closely on the American Boat and Yacht Council specifications. When a builder requests NMMA certification for a new model, inspectors go over it with a fine-tooth comb to ensure it has been built with strict adherence to those specs. CE refers to the same type of rigorous adherence to boatbuilding requirements set by the European Union. The CE label certifies that a product has met consumer safety, health or environmental requirements. CE actually stands for conformité européenne.

WEIGHT (DISPLACEMENT): Dry weight means the weight of a vessel with no fuel or equipment. When calculating trailering weight, don't forget to add all your gear, fuel and water.

Mar 3, 2012

I thought it was Length Over All, and LoW was Length Over Water.

Mar 3, 2012

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"Tean Lucky" (not verified)
Jan 1, 2012

LOA...This is a common misconception of many people! Most of the manufactures and boat dealers call the LOA, "Length on Axis", in order to confuse the buyer into thinking the boat is larger than it actually is.
This is why you should always ask what the real length is! Many people would buy say a Model 1900 of XYZ brand only to find out later that the real length of the boat is say 18'1" not adding in the bow pulpit or the transom platform. It's a tricky little deal to get more boat for your money!
Measure any boat from the bottom of the transom V to the point of the bow to get your real length!
This started back when dealers would add a optional "bolt" on transom platform and add the length into the boat . Not illegal by any means, just sales trick.

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