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Author Topic:   Exceeding Max HP Rating
diveorfish posted 01-09-2003 08:28 PM ET (US)   Profile for diveorfish   Send Email to diveorfish  
Currently, I have a 23 Outrage (rated at 300 max hp) with twin 135ís Optiís (2001ís)
Would it be possible to hang twin 2003 Opti 175ís? I know it would be 50 hp over the max rating but as was pointed out in an earlier thread, there is no law against it. Furthermore, the engines also weigh the same. Assuming, for a moment, that money was no object is this a good idea or just folly? The reason I would do this is so the boat would plane effectively on one engine should the need arise when your 30 miles offshore in less than ideal conditions. A single 135 doesnít get the boat on plane when loaded up.

First off, would the extra 40 hp get the boat to plane?
Second, what are the repercussions for the hp exceeding the recommended max if the engine weight of the 135 and 175 are the same?

lhg posted 01-09-2003 09:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
As for HP, don't worry, as long as your insurance will schedule the engines. I have two overpowered Outrages, both insured.

Since the 135 Opti is built on the same block as the new 175's, they may not be that much more powerful. Just don't know, but check with Mercury dealer. How about a pair of 200 EFI's? They will do the trick for you and give you over 60 mph.

j_h_nimrod posted 01-09-2003 11:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for j_h_nimrod  Send Email to j_h_nimrod     
Weight is your biggest concern. You don't have to use max available hp but it is nice to have if you need it. Also, I may be wrong but I seem to remember having read something about the original 23' Outrages being rated for much higher hp? Someone else (more reputable!) should either confirm of debunk this.

Rambling on...

aubv posted 01-10-2003 08:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     

"...there is no law against it."

While there may be no federal laws against powering beyond the capacity plate, some states consider it a violation and can cite you. I just read this in two different publications.


Have you expressly told the insurance company the boat is over powered? Or simple said I want to insure this boat with this motor?

Would you sell a boat you over powered to someone else?

lhg posted 01-10-2003 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Aubv - Yes, my policies show the HP and VIN's of the engines, and do have a surcharge over the normal rate for the extra HP. Carrier is Travelers.

I would have no problem selling a Whaler with reasonable excess HP on it, and would be sure that the buyer understood this, both for safety and insurance reasons. But mine are not for sale. The very first Whaler of mine that I sold was a 1958 13 Sport, repowered with a Merc 50 on it. The guy loved the boat, with no concern about the engine.

Incidentally, overpowering is not as bad as it seems, particularly when twins amount to the overpowering. As an example, an 18 Outrage (rated for 150) with a single 150 performs about the same as with twin 90's. One is no more dangerous than the other. I would even venture that the overpowered twin engine rig is a safer boating experience! Better control in avoiding docking accidents, and better get-home capabilities, any of which can involve insurance claims, or towing claims.

lhg posted 01-10-2003 03:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
JH - On the engine weight issue, Mercury's conventional 200's weigh less than the 135 Optimax's currently on the boat. And also, the carbed 200's cost LESS than a 135 Opti!

Since the 23 Outrage weighs the same 3300# as the Classic 25 Outrage, from experience I can say that the boat will handle twin 200's. It even has a deeper Vee, which will actually slow it down a little over the 25.

j_h_nimrod posted 01-10-2003 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for j_h_nimrod  Send Email to j_h_nimrod     
No arguing with that. More hp and less weight is a good thing.
diveorfish posted 01-10-2003 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
Aubv - I didnít know you could be cited. I wonder about CA.

lhg - Gees, a 60 mph Whaler! That would turn a few heads! I never thought about the EFIs until you mentioned them. My only worry with EFIs would be their emissions. Here in California they are strict. You canít use EFIs in many lakes around here now and I keep hearing talk about the same restrictions going to be imposed on all inland waters here. As I fish a lot in the Delta, I think I would have to stay with Optis to be safe. With that said, twin 200 Optiís would be quite formidable. (Heck, at those speeds I wouldnít have to tow my boat I could just drive it from Sacramento to the Golden Gate via the river in less time LOL)

Is there anything inherently unsafe besides the ability to go faster? Also, does anyone know how max hp rating is calculated?

jimh posted 01-11-2003 11:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This topic of power in excess of rating plate keeps coming up. Previously, the web site of the United States Coast Guard was cited as a reference to support the point of view that it was not illegal to exceed the ratings.

New information is presented here that conflicts with the USCG website and claims it is illegal to exceed the ratings in some jurisdictions. Could we please have some citation of this source. It would be best if the citation was from a source that was published by the controlling agency.

aubv posted 01-11-2003 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     

From the Ohio DNR web site:

Capacity Plates
(ORC 1547.39 & ORC 1547-40)
No person shall operate or permit operation of a watercraft in excess of any of the stated limits on the capacity plate. When no capacity plate exists, no person shall operate or permit operation of a watercraft if a reasonably prudent person would believe the total load aboard or the total horsepower of any motor or engine presents a risk of physical harm to persons or property.

No person shall alter, remove, or deface any information on the capacity plate.

Also from CHAPMAN PILOTING page 68:

..."Although it is not a violation of federal law for a boat operator to exceed the values displayed on USCG Maximum Capacities label, there may be local consequences. Some states, for example, consider overloading or overpowering a boat beyond the values shown on the label a violation, and may cite an operator who exceeds posted limits."...


..."Also, keep in mind that the limits defined on capacity plates apply in good to moderate weather conditions."...


jimh posted 01-11-2003 02:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
See for Ohio laws.

The Coast Guard states:

The Coast Guard Capacity Information label is required only on monohull boats less than 20' in length.

If I have a rating plate on my 22-Outrage that says it is rated for 300-HP, is it legal in Ohio to:

A. Retain the rating plate and use more horsepower?
B. Remove the rating plate?
C. Remove the rating plate and use more horsepower?

aubv posted 01-11-2003 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     

According to Ohio DNR, it looks like the answer to the question:

If I have a rating plate on my 22-Outrage that says it is rated for 300-HP, is it legal in Ohio to:

A. Retain the rating plate and use more horsepower?

No. It would be illegal.

B. Remove the rating plate?

No. It would be illegal.

C. Remove the rating plate and use more horsepower?

No. It would be illegal.

You might want to look at

aubv posted 01-11-2003 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     
There are some very good State web sites when it comes to boating.

Here are three more examples regarding the capacity question. I saw others.


13. GENERAL CONDITION [Seaworthiness]: The boat must be free from fire hazards, in good overall condition with the bilges reasonably clean and the visible hull and structure generally sound.
The maximum person capacity and horsepower must not be exceeded.

Capacity Plates: The majority of boats manufactured or offered for sale in this state shall have affixed thereto a capacity plate. Never exceed the maximum capacity limits of your boat. To do so is to endanger your life and that of your passengers. It is also accepted evidence that you are operating your boat unlawfully.

Reckless Operation of a vessel or reckless manipulation of water skis, a surfboard or similar device is defined as that which disregards the safety or rights of others or endangers the person or property of others. Some examples are:
ē Loading the vessel beyond the recommended capacity shown on the capacity plate installed by the manufacturer

Dick posted 01-11-2003 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
jimh & all

Here are a couple links that my help.
Scroll down and you will find a link where you can bring up the rules and regulations in any state.
This site just covers Washington.


jimh posted 01-12-2003 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Let's say there is somewhere a state that does not presume to know more about safe boating than the Coast Guard. This state just follows the Coast Guard's rules. Thus a boater in that state may have his larger-than-20-foot boat powered with a engine that exceeds the not-required-by-law rating sticker. The boater registers his vessel in this state, which is his home state, by the way, so it is not a flag-of-convenience registration.

Our Whaler owner operates his boat on the water of his home state, but one day he travels too far and enters the water of a neighboring state, one which has added additional regulations to the general USCG rules. This state requires all boats, not just those less than 20-feet in length, to not be powered in excess of the not-required rating sticker.

Is our Whaler skipper in danger of being cited by the local authorities for failure to comply with their state's rules?

I guess the answer is yes. If California can keep my otherwise legal and properly equipped boat off their fresh water lakes because its engine is not a low-emission, then I guess they could cite me for too much horsepower, too.

aubv posted 01-12-2003 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     

I think I disagree,

California excludes all boats without 4 stroke engines off certain lakes not only yours. I think just operating in another state temporarily wouldn't yield a citation. California auto emissions are stricter than other states, I wouldn't get cited for driving a car that doesn't meet those standards, into California.

The laws about overpowering would govern boats registered to that state. In Fl, the law specifically addresses boats 20 feet or less can't be over powered. I saw nothing about boats over 20'.

The NEW YORK STATE BOATERS GUIDE has a paragraph about the dangers of over loading a boat and ends with" At no time should the capacities be exceeded". The following paragraph titled "Overpowering" reads "Operators should strictly follow the manufacturer's recommendations for engine size. A larger engine may make your boat run faster, however it may not have been designed the handle the weight or stress. In addition to the added weight of the larger engine, your streering mechanism may not be designed for the larger engine as well, which may lead to reduced or lost control at higher speeds." Yet there seems to be no, this is against the law.

All of that said:

The more interesting question might be, if a boat registered in another state is over powered and then has an accident in another state where over powering is considered against the law, how would a court of law find the operator? My guess is that the wording from Wisconsin about overpowering would end up being the winning argument "It is also accepted evidence that you are operating your boat unlawfully." It probably ends up being considered reckless to over power a boat whether your home state prohibits it or not. I say this because the capacity plates for boats over 20' can't say USCG, but the plates are based on voluntary industry standards. Seems an attorney could make a pretty good argument that the results of a willful acted of overpowering was foreseeable, the direct result or contributing factor in an accident, even if it has no basis. I would go one step further and guess that, even in your home state where it is not expressly forbidden to overpower, an accident involving an overpowered boat and a subsequent lawsuit, you would be found liable.


Tom W Clark posted 01-12-2003 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
I found a page titled Requirements for Recreational Craft with a summary of Washington State's boating rules: On it I found the quote that Brian provided:

The maximum person capacity and horsepower must not be exceeded.

But I also looked at the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) which is Washington's laws. Nowhere could I find this same language. The closest I could find was RCW 79A.60.180 Hyperlink which states:

A person shall not operate or permit to be operated a vessel equipped with a motor or other propulsion machinery of a power beyond the vessel's ability to operate safely, taking into consideration the vessel's type, use, and construction, the weather conditions, and other existing operating conditions.


If it appears reasonably certain to any law enforcement officer that a person is operating a vessel clearly loaded or powered beyond its safe operating ability and in the judgment of that officer the operation creates an especially hazardous condition, the officer may direct the operator to take immediate and reasonable steps necessary for the safety of the individuals on board the vessel, including directing the operator to return to shore or a mooring and to remain there until the situation creating the hazard is corrected or ended.

If the intent of the law were to prohibit more power than is listed on the USCG capacity plate, wouldnít it just say so?

Buckda posted 01-12-2003 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Jimh -

I agree with aubv - over the Holidays, I trailered my whaler to Alabama to go fishing. Alabama requires boat operators to have taken specific courses to obtain a special license (i.e. the USCG Powersquadron course). While these courses are great ideas, I have not yet had the privilege of taking one (however, I do have a Michigan DNR boater's safety course certificate). I e-mailed the Alabama Marine Patrol before leaving Chicago to check - and, at least in Alabama, the laws in one state (AL) do not supercede the laws and regulations of the state which has issued a vessel's registration and license. Therefore, I was allowed to go ahead and use my boat. (one caveat: My brother, a resident of AL, could not drive because he does not hold the certificate.)

General question from this thread: I have a two stroke engine - California would really restrict me from boating in their water because of it?

I also agree with the question that Aubv posts regarding culpability in the unfortunate case of a boating accident, especially where there is loss of life. Good question! Probably a grey area - after all - Indiana's Speed Limit is 65 - Michigan's is 70...because I "live in Michigan" do I get out of a speeding ticket in Indiana? Nope. Tried that one in college...Marion, Indiana Police Officers don't really care. Probably the same with local jourisdictions and your boat.

I also doubt that any prosecutors in the case of an accident will give a hoot about the law in your state - in that case, the only thing that matters to his hometown jury is the laws that their own people have instituted for "the public safety." What goes well in Chicago may not go over very well in Cedar Rapids.

Bottom line - Drive like a lunatic, and expect to get a courtesy inspection...and expect them to "ding" you for every little infraction.

Regarding HP - just because you've got it, doesn't mean you have to use it all. I suspect that someone like LHG (with an over-the-rating power plant) is unlikely to get ticketed for the excess - seems to me if you are a responsible boater, you should not have any problems with the Coasties or the Marine Patrol as long as you have the proper safety equip and are operating in a safe and sane manner.


jimh posted 01-12-2003 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Fixed Long URI]
andygere posted 01-12-2003 11:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
2-strokes are legal to use in almost all California waters, Lake Tahoe being the notable exception. New 2-strokes that don't meet CARB emissions standards (eg conventional carbed or EFI motors)can not be sold in California. "Clean" 2-strokes such as Mercury Optimax, Evinrude Fict, Tohatsu TLDI and Yamaha HPDI can be sold. I own conventional carbed 2-strokes and plan to use them for a long time in California.
jimh posted 01-13-2003 09:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--Thanks for the thorough search which failed to find any statement from the controlling authority that the engine rating could not be exceeded.

I am still looking for the USCG regulation that says any tank larger than 6-gallons is not portable. :-)

In Washington it seems like the law says one thing and the little booklet they pass out says another.

Tom W Clark posted 01-13-2003 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

That was my impression too. I sometimes think we put a little too much strength and faith in what we read on the internet. Just because there is a web page somewhere that says some thing doesn't make it so.

I believe that is the case with portable fuel tanks too. If that 12 gallon tank under the RPS is not bolted down, it's portable.

Tom W Clark posted 01-13-2003 12:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
A more thorough examination of the web page I sited above titled: Requirements for Recreational Craft reveals that it is NOT a summary of Washington's boating rules. It is a summary of what your boat needs in order to pass a Vessel Safety Check conducted by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and earn a little decal.

This is a higher standard than the what the law requires and it's comment about not exceeding the listed horsepower capacity of the boat has nothing to do with the RCW.

lhg posted 01-13-2003 02:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Diveorfish: Can't advise on the CA regs regarding 2-strokes, but from what the prop charts show, a Merc 200 Optimax is quite a bit faster than a standard EFI/carbed 200, so a pair of 200 OPti's could be a bit much on your hull. They are also a LOT heavier.

The 200 EFI's are built on the 2.5 liter block, (same as the 135-175 Opti's) but the 200 Opti's are on the 3.0 liter block, basically a 225 Opti, with only a few horses less. Merc's 200 carb/EFI's are the smallest 200HP package on the market. You'd be very happy with them, and the carbed versions are a great deal. The only time they put out excess smoke is on start-up.

diveorfish posted 01-13-2003 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
lhg: Thanks for the correction. I was jumping around Mercís web site so much that I thought the weight of the 200 Opti was the same as 200 EFI. The 200 Opti was 497 lbs. Vs. the 200 EFI at 425 lbs.

I guess I have to do more research on what kind of 2 strokes I can buy in CA plus the CA regulations on overpowering.

Also, since you have an overpowered boat without any safety problems, Iím going to assume that it is safe if you donít drive too fast unless there any other hull design considerations? I donít want to drive fast I just want to be able to plane on one.

I would still like to know how they come up with the MAX HP RATING. Does anyone know?

lhg posted 01-13-2003 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Dive - On my Outrage 25, I have no safety considerations at all, for three reasons. First of all, many CPD 25's are powered with twin 200's. Secondly, the Whaler Drive 25 came with a 450HP rating, and my full transom 25 with Armstrong bracket is really not much different than one of those. Thirdly, Merc's 150 EFI's are the identical 2.5 liter engine, block, size and weight. The extra HP must come out of the ECU settings.

Rarely do I run over 40 mph. My mechanic even tells me I don't push the engines enough, that they actually need to be run up to 5800RPM's once in a while.

I have been inspected by the US Coast Guard, Florida Marine Patrol, and IL Dept of Conservation many times. Never once has anything been said about the engine HP.

At cruising speed and above, the EFI's are much quieter than the Optimax engines, and with quicker throttle response. No air compressor sound. They are also quieter than the Yamaha 225 4-strokes. I think they are good, reliable product.

Bigshot posted 01-14-2003 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
23' SeaCrafts are rated for 4-500hp depending on what year. The 25 Hydra-sport is also rated for 400 or 450hp. I do not think 400hp on a 25 is out of the question. I would definately do more than twin 150's, especially if weight is the same. If I was doing one I may choose the 175 Johnsons if weight was a concern. If I was gonna do 4 strokes twin 140 suzis, but she would not be a rocket.
jimh posted 01-14-2003 01:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The number shown on a USCG capacity plate for Maximum Horsepower must be the number computed by the formula given in the Federal Regulations.

The formula is very simple and involves only length and width.

Anyone have the URI for that thread handy?

Sal DiMercurio posted 01-14-2003 10:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Diveorfish, I also live on the delta, [ Pittsburg ] & my 20' outrage is rated at 175 hp, my engine is a 200hp FICHT putting out 222 hp, yes,.60 mph.
You will not find a tech that will install an over hp engine on a boat,.
Reason, whoever installs the engine, is lible for any injuries or accidents as long as thos engines are on that boat, & yes, even if it's sold, the liability stays with the person who installed the power.
Here in Calif, no one cares if you over power by 500 hp, my insurace company knows & my insurace man says, Sal, you raced for more years then i'v been alive, you captained your own commercial fishing vessels on the Bering sea for over 30 years, put whatever you want on your boat, we will insure it.
Coast Guard says, they care less.
But remember, the liability stays with the original person who put those engines on & bolted them down.
After they are on, a tech will work on them, but not install them.
I did my own.
Tom W Clark posted 01-14-2003 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

The Coast Guard Maximum Horsepower Capacity is determined by a very simple formula. In the case of most Whalers less than 20 feet it is:

(length x width x 2) - 90 rounded up to the nearest 5.

Using Sal's V-20 which is 19' 10" long and 7' 5" wide as an example:

(19.83 x 7.42 x 2) - 90 = 204.15 rounded up = 205 maximum horsepower.

Contrary to what jimh states above, a manufacturer may elect to use a lesser figure for the maximum, but not a greater figure. In the case of the 1978 - 1985 V-20/Outrage 20, Whaler chose to give it a maximum rating of 180 hp instead of 205 hp.

I should note that Sal's boat seems to be an anomaly with a maximum rating of 175 hp. I presume his boat is one of the very first V-20ís and it may be that Whaler initially gave those boats a rating of 175 before bumping it up to 180. Whaler has done this before.

A maximum horsepower rating is only required on outboard powered monohull boats less than 20' in length. Inboard/outboards and inboards are not required to have any rating at all. Boats more than 20' in length are not required to have a rating either, though Whaler chooses to give all their boats a maximum rating.

We had a good discussion of this subject here:

lhg posted 01-15-2003 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Here are a few more comments on liability and insurance regarding overpowered boats.

Regarding "installer's" liability for an accident, the real issue here is not "payments" to an injured party, or lack of coverage by the Dealer's insurance company. The issue is legal fees, also paid by the dealer's insurance company, to get dismissed from the suit. The insurance companies don't want to pay these, if they can be avoided.
For a dealership itself to be liable in a case like this, they would have had to let their insurance lapse. Most are more professional than that.

Now let's look at liability, to either the owner's insurance company, or the dealer's insurance company. Let's take a familiar boat, the Classic Montauk, rated for 100HP.

Let's assume that most here would agree that such a Montauk, with a good, solid 100HP engine on it, could do about 48-50MPH. Most agree they will do about 44 with a 90. Now let's take a Montauk with 115HP, engine weight about 350l bs, which lets say can do about 52. Note that Whaler factory installed Montauks with Merc 90 4-strokes, weighing 386 lb. So engine weight is not an issue.

So if your "reckless, negligent" accident happens, resulting in Personal Injury or Property Damage, at 48 MPH or less, HP of the engine could not be a factor, even if it has a 115 on it. So one's real risk factor is an accident between 48 and 52 MPH. So your insurance company charges more money for the few minutes a year when you're in that speed range. When you're running like that, if you even do, a reasonably prudent operator would be wise to be well offshore and away from swimmers, with no waterskiing activity or other boats nearby (to avoid collisions), and in low wave conditions. This is for when you are squeezing that extra 4 mph out of her. I would think the biggest risk is flipping the boat, and injuring your passengers. They would have to prove you were doing over 48 mph.

With a boat like a Whaler, most insurance claims involve careless operation or judgement at normal speeds, rather than speed higher than the max HP rating would allow.

Basically, insurance companies now don't like any boat that will go over 50, whether it's rated for it or not.

I have overpowered not for top end, but for the extra load carrying ability and the quiet, low engine stress, long life, RPM's it affords for normal cruising operation. I like to run all day at 25-30 MPH, at 2200-2800 rpm.

diveorfish posted 01-15-2003 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
As usual, you guys are a wealth of great information and expertise. I called my dealer and as you guys said they wouldnít do it for liability reasons and I donít have the facilities or expertise to take on a project like that myself. I was hoping that my dealer would cut me a bit of a deal if I pushed the Optimax reliability issue, paid a reasonable up tick for the bigger engines and got a reasonable trade in on my current 135s. It was a nice dream while it lasted.

I really appreciate the information and added knowledge. Thank you all once again. I will be content with my current setup and just continue envying lhgís rig. Of course thatís not to say I donít love my current set up, my boat can still go faster than I ever want to drive it, even when itís fully loaded. If I didnít blow a powerhead after only 50 hours, I wouldnít be having these thoughts. Iíll just have to see if my newly tweaked Optis (after I blew one of my powerheads, my dealer gave me a new powerhead and all new 2003 injector sets for BOTH engines) will be trouble free. So far, over my last 4 trips, the engines have been flawless.

aubv posted 01-15-2003 08:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     

On the face of it you have a sound argument, if we didn't live in a society, a great society, but a society that people sue because the coffee was too hot and a guy used his lawn mower to cut the hedge and was seriously injured(killed?. I think you are mistaken that the only concern is the 4 mph risk factor. An over powered boat involved in an accident where someone is injured is going to raise eyebrows. The underwriting insurance company, not the broker who sold you the insurance, probably would deny a claim. A dealer who installed more hp on a boat than the mfg. specs allow, probably would be left high and dry.
Remember, outboard engine mfg's are being sued because someone was killed and there wasn't a propeller guard on their ob.

jimh posted 01-15-2003 10:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
What does "jmho" mean?
jimh posted 01-15-2003 10:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--thanks for finding that thread. I knew we had recently discussed the topic of the regulations.

I seem to have forgotten my own previous interpretation that a maker could state a lower value than that computed by the regulatory formula.

Note that Whaler states it complies with the NMMA rules. These may be more stringent that the USCG's rules.

Bigshot posted 01-16-2003 09:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
aubv....with what you just said ask yourself this: Does it really matter? You are gonna be sued one way or the other. If you have the correct insurance, you are good. The marine police in NJ used to drive 17 montauks with 115's....why can't we?
lhg posted 01-16-2003 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Aubv - Your comments are certainly true about lawsuits these days. The medical malpractice situation is all over the news. However, your comment about insurance companies is incorrect. IF you have a valid policy, and HAVE NOT misrepresented your HP to a Company, they have ACCEPTED the higher HP RISK by issuing the policy, and cannot deny the claim on the HP basis. There are some companies, however, such as the Boat US program, that will not take an overpowered boat, period.

My coverage is with Travelers, and the policies clearly state the Engine make, HP and Vin's. For this, on one boat the premium is surcharged 10%, and on another, 25%.

I am in the insurance business.

andygere posted 01-16-2003 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
It seems kind of absurd to be worrying that a Whaler may be a few horsepower over the capacity plate, when on the same waterway there are scores of lightweight, shallow draft water rockets powered by twin big block Chevys, putting out well in excess of 600 hp. Anyone who has been on the California Delta in the summertime knows what Iím talking about. These boats are exempt simply because they are inboards. Unfortunately, the litigious nature of our society requires us to be concerned, and at the very least take measures (such as upgraded insurance) to protect ourselves.

In that light, I have a few questions for Larry or any of the legal experts out there. Would an umbrella insurance policy of some type provide any additional measure of protection in a lawsuit that involved an "over powered" boat? Also, in order for an outboard to be producing its maximum horsepower, it needs to be run at or near WOT. Any thoughts on the burden for a plaintiff to prove the vessel was actually using or applying horsepower in excess of its capacity plate rating? What about liability or insurance coverage for modified engines? Any hot rodder knows that mods can be made to make an engine (including outboards) produce significantly more power than its stock rating. I think it is interesting that on the street, we can legally drive vehicles with unlimited horsepower that are generally used in more congested areas than boats, and are capable of quicker acceleration and higher top speeds.

BADDOG posted 01-16-2003 04:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for BADDOG  Send Email to BADDOG     
Progressive Insurance will insure your overpowered boat, and they are probably the cheapest around. Plus you can get a one thousand dollar tow reemburssment for $45/year in your policy.

Most police agencies (Marine Patrol, Coast Guard, etc.) are not concerned with your overpowering. They have bigger problems than chasing overpowered boats around, considering they looked for and knew what to look for in an overpowered boat. Some months ago, I repowering my whaler, which is overpowered by 25-HP, I got all kinds of comments and direction, until one reply "just go ahead and do it" which i did. So I'll say to you, if it makes you happy just go ahead and do it." It won't hurt anything!

lhg posted 01-16-2003 04:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Andy - yes, an Umbrella policy is a wise investment, and HP can never be an issue with it, since it automatically picks up over the primary policy. So if your primary policy insures the HP, so will the Umbrella.
Bigshot posted 01-16-2003 05:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
One last consideration: Most boats over 60mph are nearly impossible or not monetarily practical to insure. What I mean is the redneck driving the $5000 picklefork with the 455 old jetdrive running 90mph is not paying $2000+/year for insurance so as long as you do have are a minority in the go-fast crowd. I have liability on my Baja that runs about 63mph+ because I can not afford full coverage but at least my butt(and yours) is covered up to 300k. This, believe it or not, only runs me like $89/year but full coverage is like $1300 so. It is my financial burden if it is stolen or sinks. With a Whaler, just make sure it does not get stolen.
lhg posted 01-16-2003 06:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
That's interesting, Nick. $89 for liability, for damage or injury to others?
According to many on this site, that is where the risk IS! The premium sure doesn't say this.
aubv posted 01-16-2003 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     
I find the debate very interesting but could care less if anyone wants to strap on a 300 hp on a 13' whaler. However, Diver ask about the possible repercussions of over powering a boat and I think it is wrong to simple say "sure no problem" without considering the liability, perceived or real.


You might want to read your policy. In the back of mine it reads the following:

"Dishonesty, illegal or intentional acts: We do not pay for loss or damage caused by the dishonest, illegal or intentional acts of any covered person, or any person to whom your insured property is entrusted, regardless of whether or not such person is convicted of such act by a criminal court."

This says to me that if your state considers over powering illegal, which it appears some states do, then even though you have paid a premium, the insurance company can/will deny a claim. Especially big dollar claims. Insurance companies put the burden on the policy holder to follow the law, they simply aren't in the position to make sure that AUBV is following the law. So they have a caveat.

When do we start on the structural debate?

lhg posted 01-17-2003 03:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Are you covered by your insurance if:

You are intoxicated while (illegally) operating your car and/or boat and you kill someone? YES

You are (illegally) exceeding posted speed/no wake limits, in your car or boat, and you kill someone? YES

One has to understand the meaning and context of the word and the event. Many, many car accidents are the result of illegal behavior, such as running a red light, speeding, drinking, etc, and insurance applies.

If you (illegally) take a gun and shoot somebody, are you covered? NO

If you (illegally in your state) overpower your Whaler and your insurance Company KNOWS this and accepts the risk by issuing a policy (contract) in exchange for a premium, are you covered? YES.

If the policy is issued under FALSE representations by the you, the INSURED (such as saying your enigne is a 100 when it's really a V-6 150), are you covered? Possibly not.

This whole ridiculous notion that an overpowered Whaler is machine of death, destruction and financial ruin is crazy.

Over thirty five years of "Whalering", not one person who has seen my boats have commented as to what nightmares I have on my hands, including many police authorities, and how my next stop is jail and financial ruin. The scare tactics only seem to be here.

jimh posted 03-21-2004 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
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