Powering Above OEM Rating

A conversation among Whalers
Jefecinco
Posts: 1187
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:35 pm
Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Jefecinco » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:21 am

I'm aware of no Federal Law prohibiting an increase in engine HP above that rated for a boat by the manufacturer. I believe re-powering a boat with higher than the rated HP is widespread and legal. If I'm mistaken I welcome anyone to cite an authority if they disagree.
Butch

jimh
Posts: 8524
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby jimh » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:44 am

BUTCH- Public Law 92-71, known as the "Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971" introduced the basis for the Coast Guard to develop federal regulations regarding the maximum power rating for monohulls boats of 20-feet or less and to bind the manufacturer to affix the rating to the boat. This topic is widely discussed in older threads and in the FAQ. See

Q6: Can I Exceed the Rated Horsepower?
http://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/FAQ/#Q6

State laws often explicitly prohibit powering a boat above the manufacturer's rated maximum.

User avatar
Phil T
Posts: 1507
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:08 pm
Location: NYC then MA, NY, ME,DC,ME, now Kentucky

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Phil T » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:25 pm

Jim posted:

State laws often explicitly prohibit powering a boat above the manufacturer's rated maximum


I have yet to read of more than 5 instances where a state or state entity has restricted owners from exceeding the manufacturer's rated hp at the time of initial sale.

I am requesting you show the evidence to make this statement.Merriam- Webster defines often as: many times or frequently.

What do you define as often?
Member since 2003
1992 Outrage 17, 1992 Evinrude 115

biggiefl
Posts: 839
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:31 pm
Location: south Tampa Bay area
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby biggiefl » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:38 pm

I am not familiar with any state that strictly prohibits it. Even Ohio has language that states it might be acceptable. How would boat racing be legal? how would LHG exist all these years? In NJ the Marine police had 115's on their Montauks, Coast Guard had 90's.
On my 24th Whaler. Currently in the stable: 86 18' Outrage, 81 13' Sport(original owner), 87 11' Sport, 69 Squall(for sale cheap).

46er
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:16 pm
Location: Coastal NJ

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby 46er » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:43 pm

In NJ it is

From the NJ State Police Boating Safety Manual, page 35, which is the text book used to obtain the state boating safety certificate, commonly referred to as 'license'. The violation would fall under state statute 12:7-47.

No vessel shall be operated in a reckless or careless manner.
Reckless or careless operation shall include operating any
vessel in a manner which unnecessarily interferes with the
free and proper use of any waters, or unnecessarily endangers other craft therein or the life or limb of any person upon
any craft or in the water. This also includes, but is not limited
to, exceeding manufacturer capacity plate specifications.

User avatar
Phil T
Posts: 1507
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:08 pm
Location: NYC then MA, NY, ME,DC,ME, now Kentucky

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Phil T » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:23 pm

While I acknowledge I am splitting hairs, 46er is correct the Boating safety manual does state that, the NJ statues 12:7-47 does not.

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2013/title-12/section-12-7-47/

I would suggest that the statement regarding overpowering is not by NJ statute but rather administrative rule making and has to do with the terms of reckless operation of a vessel. I proffer that in the past, operators of vessels at high speed with power exceeding the capacity plate could not be cited due to the omission of this language.
Member since 2003
1992 Outrage 17, 1992 Evinrude 115

jimh
Posts: 8524
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby jimh » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:20 pm

“0ften” as in the states I looked at had some language about it. See my remarks in the full article regarding how the actual statutes and what is printed in a handbook might be at variance. “Often” as in you should check your own state regulations carefully.

Also, there are many state laws that limit horsepower on certain lakes, no matter what the boat is rated. Clearly the states have the power to impose horsepower limits.

The behavior of Boston Whaler is a clue: they refuse to state a higher power rating for a hull made a year earlier when they decide to raise the rating on the current production hall. That reticence must be related to federal regulations. Something is holding them back.

Also, read the FBSA 1971 text (linked above) regarding to what entities the rule applies; the language is rather broad in scope.

But get above 20-feet boat length and the interpretation might change.

Who wants to fight a citation to the state Supreme Court? Unless you are a lawyer with a mission, it won’t be worth it. Also, boating related cases may or may not be heard in Admiralty Court these days. You might find yourself in traffic court.

Also, I can no longer find the USCG opinion that stated they did not have an regulation specifically prohibiting exceeding power rating. That language has disappeared from their website.

Hey, if you want a 190 MONTAUK with a higher power rating, buy a hull from a later model year.

Prudence and caution may be appropriate, particularly if you have to be a defendant in a trial.

46er
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:16 pm
Location: Coastal NJ

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby 46er » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:22 pm

Easy enough to verify; contact the NJ State Police Marine division or contact a manufacturer certified outboard dealer. Jim has the best recommendation.

https://www.njsp.org/marine-services/index.shtml

Jefecinco
Posts: 1187
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:35 pm
Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Jefecinco » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:28 am

I didn't want to start a debate. I remain convinced it is not a violation of US law to exceed manufacturers capacity plate HP on a privately owned boat. Lets let common sense prevail. There is much interpretation involved when reading official publications. For example the reference to a state rule saying capacity plate limitations must not be exceeded is most likely referring to the "number of persons" information.

Furthermore the rules, if they apply to HP limitations, are virtually impossible to enforce. How does an enforcement entity deduce the horsepower of a boats' engine? I believe they deduce the power from looking at the engine cowling and reading the information on it. It would take a very suspicious official to read the small manufacturer's data plate on the engine. Even if the engine HP is suspect the data plate does not reveal any modifications that may have been made to the engine such as an ECU/EMM update or racing piston installation, etc.
Butch

onlyawhaler
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:11 am

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby onlyawhaler » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:29 pm

I think the two bigger questions are insurance and selling an overpowered boat when that time comes.

It is really not a big deal if a state giving a ticket on the ramp or the Coast Guard state on federal waters or off shore waters. Thats an inconvenience, not a game changer

Boat insurance and the very possible fact that selling in the future your overpowered creation may give you some real heartburn are the concerns.

It is very possible to call a number of insurance companies, state the year, make, and model, and engine horsepower, and the person on the other end of the call may take the info and bind coverage. Yet in a bad accident, coverage may be declined at the worst possible moment that a boat owner may need it. Their systems and that agent on the other end may not show or know an overpowered situation.

Insurance companies will always look for a reason to walk versus pay. If that is discovered, even years later than the quote on the phone. Overpowering may give an Insurance a back door and deny coverage in a catastrophic event where liability is high and they are looking at everything.

If you don't believe me, try binding insurance and while in the process, disclose to the agent that the engine power is in access of the max rated horsepower. Or,to make it real, call on your existing policy now on an over-powered boat and disclose it. Watch that conversation that was going so well, go sideways instantly. I know, I have been through this with a over-powered boat. It is a bad feeling thinking you are covered when you may not be covered in the event of a bad accident when they start examining everything—much different that some stolen poles or a fiberglass damage claim. If personal injury is involved with an over-powered boat, good luck and hold your breath

Wwhen you come to sell the boat there is another problem: disclose that the boat is over-powered and watch your buyer struggle with that, call a insurance company to check it out, find out how hard it is to get confirmed coverage with disclosure (which you need to do), and watch that excited buyer walk away.

Others with a legal back ground can comment on this, but selling a over powered boat may not, even if disclosed, absolve you of liability if the buyer has a big problem down the road. It very well may come back at you.

I would never do it again after experiencing what I have experienced.

Good luck
Onlyawhaler

User avatar
Phil T
Posts: 1507
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:08 pm
Location: NYC then MA, NY, ME,DC,ME, now Kentucky

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Phil T » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:21 pm

While many will read this thinking "it would be great to put a 150hp engine on a Montauk 17", my interest in this topic is based on a current model I think is underpowered due to the lack of a suitable Mercury engine model that fits into the hp/weight rating.

The Montauk 150 has been and continues to be limited to 60hp/305 lbs. This is a model that reaches a WOT of only 32 mph with 2 aboard, full fuel and 20lbs of gear (anchor probably) in 86 degree water. It has a capacity of 6.

While I appreciate there is a complex formula for determining hp rating, it is clear in the performance report the boat is lacking in horsepower. I experienced this shortcoming during a sea trial the first year it was introduced.

Remember that Boston Whaler takes into account the existing or future models of Mercury outboards when setting the hp limit at the time of manufacture. There is a history of Boston Whaler increasing the hp limit over the lifetime of the model due to new engine introductions. Review the Nantucket/Outrage 190. It began with a limit of 115hp/ and it is now 200hp/530lbs. There have been no hull changes.

I guess this is not a problem of over powering rather under rating max hp.
Member since 2003
1992 Outrage 17, 1992 Evinrude 115

El Rollo
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:35 pm

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby El Rollo » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:23 pm

I would imagine if there was a boating accident where there was significant injury or death as a result, things could get ugly real quick.
If a boat involved was 'over-powered' above it's coast guard rating, I'd be willing to bet the lawyers would circle in on that like vultures.
For that reason alone I wouldn't over-power a Boston Whaler, or any other boat for that matter.
If someone want's go fast, they should buy a faster boat designed for greater speeds.
I run on the Colorado River several times a year in my 1988 15 Whaler.
While I do my best to avoid weekends and holidays, it does get crowded, often with boaters and PWC operators with very little experience.
Mix in alcohol, shallow sandbars, meandering river, and the party-scene the place is known for, and it's a recipe for disaster.
I don't wanna have that specter of being over-powered while I'm boating for a few more mph.
There will ALWAYS be a boat faster than the one you're in.

biggiefl
Posts: 839
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:31 pm
Location: south Tampa Bay area
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby biggiefl » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:16 am

We have had this debate a few times over the past decades and most of it is all opinions or hearsay. LHG would be a great input, as he was in the past, because he not only owned a grossly overpowered Whaler but i believe owned an insurance company. If you read this thread again most posts start with I think or I imagine, etc. As far as selling the boat goes, that is not part of this topic but I "imagine" that just like anything else you sell as-is, the seller would not be liable. If I sell a gun, I am not liable if the buyer kills someone.
On my 24th Whaler. Currently in the stable: 86 18' Outrage, 81 13' Sport(original owner), 87 11' Sport, 69 Squall(for sale cheap).

Jefecinco
Posts: 1187
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:35 pm
Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Jefecinco » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:49 am

This is one of those topics that appears once in a while. Most of us chime in with the same opinions and arguments. I doubt that anyone other than a novice boater will be swayed to change their opinion by these discussions.

Regardless, there is always something to be learned from the discussion.
Butch

jimh
Posts: 8524
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:14 pm

LHG owns an agency. I am sure he knows the ins and outs. And he probably gives himself a good discount on his own policies.

jimh
Posts: 8524
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:15 pm

Jefecinco wrote:This is one of those topics that appears once in a while.


That is why there is a FAQ answer.


Free legal advice is only worth what you pay for it.

I don’t have an opinion. I just point to federal legislation, USCG websites, or state websites.

jimh
Posts: 8524
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:29 pm

ONLYAWHALER—thanks for your account of your owning a boat powered above OEM rating. I love first-hand accounts.

jimh
Posts: 8524
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:37 pm

El Rollo wrote:...if there [were] a boating accident where there was significant injury or death as a result, things could get ugly real quick.

Things get ugly quick when someone is injured. Example: a recent extensive legal proceeding between two families. Family A owns a boat in Michigan. They invite their friends, Family B, to go boating. While on Ohio on the Maureen River the boat hits a wave or another boat wake, and someone in Family B sitting in a bow rider seat sustains a back injury. They go to USCG station nearby. The injured party is taken to shore for treatment. Then the litigation starts. In federal court because of the involvement of two states.There is a trial, a decision, an appeal, an appellate decision, an appeal of the appellate decision. There is a lot of lawyering going on. Remember, the two families were friends and it was just a boat ride.

Cite: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/ap ... 04-27.html

biggiefl
Posts: 839
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:31 pm
Location: south Tampa Bay area
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby biggiefl » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:49 pm

I too [love first-hand accounts] but [ONLYAWHALER] did not really say what his experience was, just his thoughts on the topic at hand. I would like to know what his first-hand experience was. I assume he had problems with insurance coverage and uninterested buyers due to the higher HP. I owned a Montauk with a 115 and had no problems with either of my assumptions: my first hand experience.

Lastly and this is splitting hairs but in this lawyer controlled country one never knows. A boat made roughly prior to 1986 is rated for X amount of horsepower. In 1986 new regulations made outboard companies rate their engines at the prop, not the powerhead. Some companies always rated them at the prop(Suzuki for example). Most agree this is roughly 10% increase in HP. Does that mean my 1981 Sport 13 is overpowered with it's 2004 Suzuki 40hp? What about the E-TEC HO models? If my boat is rated for 200hp, and as Jim has shown here, the engine is actually much higher in HP than 200, who is liable? Lastly, if the 10% error rule applies, can I actually run an engine with 10% more HP if I can prove it with a Dyno?
On my 24th Whaler. Currently in the stable: 86 18' Outrage, 81 13' Sport(original owner), 87 11' Sport, 69 Squall(for sale cheap).

NLA01
Posts: 172
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:25 pm

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby NLA01 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:00 pm

Interesting thread and testy bunch.

Show me a coastal state who does not enforce Coast Guard Laws. Even though each state has its own additions to the Coast Guard laws it will for sure enforce Coast Guard law.

"I'm aware of no Federal Law prohibiting an increase in engine HP above that rated for a boat by the manufacturer. I believe re-powering a boat with higher than the rated HP is widespread and legal. If I'm mistaken I welcome anyone to cite an authority if they disagree." Quote from initial post

Jim answered this

States enforce these laws.
Texas: by law require capacity plates, visible on the hull.

Where I boat in Houston area the Coast Guard will board your boat for inspections. It is a common occurrence and they do board your boat. Last summer I was boarded by two officers while mother boat with 50 cal on the front floated near by. Summer before that I was also boarded. They also like to hang at boat launches for inspections. Don't get me started on Texas game Warrens. Coat Guard love doing inspections. Game Warrens check licence and fish caught.
Archie

dtmackey
Posts: 457
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:29 pm

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby dtmackey » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:18 pm

Anyone can overpower a boat without any concern until there is an accident or boarding where someone wants to nitpick. If you so choose to overpower, it would be in your best interest to apply decals to the motor that fall inline with the capacity rating the boat carries if 20' or under in length.

Boats under 20' and under fall under the Federal Code CFR https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2002-title33-vol2/pdf/CFR-2002-title33-vol2-sec183-43.pdf

I'm not a legal expert, but in my past when over powering, I just made sure the decal matched the rating of the boat carried and in the event of an accident no one is going to dig that far since many motors carry the same size powerheads for various horsepower ratings.

Having a 15' Whaler in the fleet and a Yamaha VMax 150 with a 20" shaft, I do have intensions of trying that motor on the boat and would be happy to update everyone on how this works out.

Over powering is a hotly contested subject on many boating sites, so do what you feel is best.

D-

biggiefl
Posts: 839
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:31 pm
Location: south Tampa Bay area
Contact:

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby biggiefl » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:05 am

I have been on 2 15's with 115's on them, a 150 is probably insane with a stock hull.
On my 24th Whaler. Currently in the stable: 86 18' Outrage, 81 13' Sport(original owner), 87 11' Sport, 69 Squall(for sale cheap).

NLA01
Posts: 172
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:25 pm

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby NLA01 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:33 pm

"Having a 15' Whaler in the fleet and a Yamaha VMax 150 with a 20" shaft, I do have intentions of trying that motor on the boat and would be happy to update everyone on how this works out."

Can you please video that when you take it out. And show numbers. I can't even imagine that setup. There is a youtube video of a 17 Montauk with a 300 Yamaha on the back and could imagine it being like that. I had a Yamaha 150 Vmax on the 19' Lowpro 1978 and the top speed was Low 50s.

One of the wonderful things about boating is that it is the last frontier of mostly unrestricted travel and speed.

Archie

Jefecinco
Posts: 1187
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:35 pm
Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Jefecinco » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:05 am

It's interesting how many contributors believe there will be dire legal, perhaps financial, consequences for the owner of an "over powered" boat involved in an accident. I doubt this would be the case except in an accident involving high speed by the "over powered" boat. I have never read about an accident when over powering was deemed to have been a factor in an accident. I would be interested to know if the US Coast Guard accident investigators consider a boats HP during investigations.
Butch

El Rollo
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:35 pm

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby El Rollo » Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:18 pm

I've never heard of a case either . . . but I don't wanna be the first ! ;-)

Oldslowandugly
Posts: 470
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:19 pm
Location: Queens NY

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Oldslowandugly » Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:37 pm

"Boats under 20' and under fall under the Federal Code CFR https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR ... 183-43.pdf" I used that very formula to determine the max power rating for my 1969 Lund 18' aluminum skiff. It had no capacity plate. It turned out to be 40hp and that was what I used on it. For laughs I once attached a 1971 Evinrude 125hp and tried it out. The first time I hit the throttle it popped a wheelie that had me pointing straight up. After changing our shorts we took it to a measured mile where we clocked 55mph. Fun? Yes. Dangerous? Absolutely. And totally illegal in NY. Ever since I have mounted motors that were at or just slightly under the capacity rating. I figure if there is an accident it would be just like driving drunk and getting into a collission. You may be totally innocent of driving error but because you were drunk it is ALL YOUR FAULT.

NLA01
Posts: 172
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:25 pm

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby NLA01 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:57 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzM9shZsTMA&t=3s I know this is old but I thought of this thread when I saw it. There are many like this also
Archie

Jefecinco
Posts: 1187
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:35 pm
Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Re: Powering Above OEM Rating

Postby Jefecinco » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:21 am

When I was as young as that lad at the helm I could have very happily have done the same thing. Now, I just like to go fast in good conditions.
Butch