Federal law states that all boat builders must have a capacity plate, decal, or sticker clearly visible on the boat, in full view of the helm. If your pontoon boat doesn’t have one, or yours is missing then you could be breaking the law.
Laws will differ from state to state, so please check to see what the regulations are in your area. I have links to all state laws on this post here.
How to Replace Your Missing Capacity Plate
If you do need to replace yours then you can actually pick them up on Amazon. There’s a company on there who let you buy new pontoon boat capacity decals, where you tell them the information to put on there, and they then print it out and send it to you.
The new pontoon capacity plate will include:
- the maximum weight of persons on board in pounds,
- the maximum carrying weight of the boat in pounds and
- the maximum horsepower recommended for the boat
With this pontoon boat capacity replacement solution, you have the peace of mind that not only do you have all the capacity information close to hand, but you will also be complying with the law, and won’t attract any unwanted attention from the US Coast Guard.
Below is an example of what your new label sticker could look like once it’s fixed back into your pontoon.
Having a pontoon capacity plate on board is so important, not just due to the legal implications. By having yours in clear sight of the helm, with one glance you can make sure that you aren’t overloading your boat, or over-powering it.
For example, it will help you to make sure you don’t exceed the maximum horsepower limit and keep you safe, so you don’t have too many passengers come on board and destabilise the pontoon.
Whilst the capacity plate limits displayed on your decal are designed normal operating conditions, I would carry a lighter weight if out on rough water or bad weather.
Missing Capacity Plates: Important!
Please note, if you buy and install a new capacity plate on your pontoon boat with information that is falsified and incorrect then you could be committing a federal crime.
The capacity plate and the information on it is the manufacturer’s declaration that the boat and its components comply with all Federal boat construction and safety standards.
Altering or falsifying this certification and capacity information can bring loads of legal headaches, not to mention voiding any boat warranty, denied insurance coverage and opening yourself to high dollar lawsuits (including punitive damages for intentional acts) in case of accident or collision.
In ALL cases get the correct plate for YOUR make, model and year of boat.
Call the manufacturer of your pontoon boat to double-check what information should be on there so you get it 100% correct.
Seemingly identical boats may have different capacities. For example a 2012 Sun Tracker 22′ DLX has a 90 HP maximum. The 2014 Sun Tracker 22′ DLX has a 115 HP capacity.
Putting the 2 boats next to each other there is absolutely NO visible difference, yet one is rated different than the other.
Please, please, please make sure that yours has the correct missing and replacement information on it.