How Many People Can Fit on a Boat? [Capacity Chart]


Depending on their type and features, the person capacity of boats varies greatly. However, there is a noticeable correlation between a boat’s dimensions and capacities.

As a rule of thumb, you can estimate the person capacity of a boat by multiplying its length by its width and dividing it by 15. This formula works surprisingly well on smaller recreational boats with a length of up to 25 feet.

But keep in mind, the exact capacities of a boat are always clearly stated on its USCG Capacity Plate. Make sure to obey USCG’s regulations to stay safe and legal on the water!

If you want to find out more about the average passenger capacities of different recreational boats, this post is for you.

We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!

How Do You Know How Many People Can Fit on a Boat?

According to federal law, every powerboat less than 20 feet in length and manufactured after August 1, 1973, is required to have a Capacity Plate.  

You can typically find this plate (a.k.a. Capacity Label) around the steering area.

As the name suggests, the Capacity Plate displays the maximum capacities of the boat; which are as follows:

  • Maximum horsepower
  • Maximum persons and/or weight in pounds
  • Maximum gross load (persons, gear, equipment, and motor, all together in pounds.)
  • Manufacturer
  • Model
  • Serial number

The plate should also display that the boat complies with U.S.C.G. safety standards.

Boat Person Capacity vs. Weight

When it comes to a boat’s person capacity, you shouldn’t exceed either the maximum number of passengers or the maximum person weight capacity. Boat manufacturers typically consider the average weight of one passenger to be 150 pounds to calculate the maximum capacity, but the exact weight capacity is described on the Capacity Plate.

This is very important since people don’t have consistent weights, meaning that your passengers can weigh less or even more than 150 pounds.

This is why manufacturers detail maximum persons weight capacity as well, which is intended to limit the overall weight of the passengers regardless of their number.

The maximum weight capacity of the boat shouldn’t be exceeded either. This limit refers to the maximum overall weight including passengers, gear, and motors.

Boat Person Capacity Formula

Are you wondering how can you estimate the person capacity of a smaller motorboat?

This is where this “Boat Person Capacity Formula” comes into play:

[Boat Length (ft.) x Boat Width (ft.)] ÷ 15 = Maximum Number of People

In other words, you have to multiply the length and the width of the boat in feet and divide the result by 15.

Example:

  • Boat length: 17 ft.
  • Boat width: 8 ft.
  • Person capacity: (17 x 8) / 15 = 9 people

Note that this formula is only applicable for mono-hull motorboats 25 feet or less in length.

This calculation method has been around for a very long time and appears in various respected boating publications, including the US Coast Guard Boatbuilders Handbook.

When you use this formula to calculate the passenger capacity, don’t forget that this is only a rough estimate and not an official formula that boat manufacturers are required to use!

This is because many other factors must also be taken into account including the design of the hull and top deck, engine power, and overall weight of the passengers.

Make sure that the boat can handle the overall weight of the passengers and the gear as well, so that you can stay safe and legal.

How Many People Can Fit on a Boat [by Length]?  

In this section, we’ve listed the average person capacity of different boats according to their length.

Please consider these numbers as ballpark figures, as the exact passenger capacity of a boat is dependent on many factors including its beam, displacement weight, hull type, and top deck architecture.

As an example, the 21-footer bass boat can only carry 4 persons, while deck boats of the same length can carry a crew of 10-14!

What is the Person Capacity of an 8-10-foot Boat?

The smallest 8-10-foot Jon boats are typically made to be one-person boats. This is no surprise since the weight capacity of these boats is as low as 150-400 pounds.

Even if they are rated for two people, you can hardly carry an adult passenger onboard if you want to take some gear with you.

Examples:

  • Lowe L1032 JON (10’): 2 persons/180 lbs.
  • Alumacraft 1032 Jon boat (10’2”): 2 persons/375 lbs.
  • Marlon SP10 Jon Boat (9.84’): 3 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 12-foot Boat?

12-footer boats are typically Jon boats with a people capacity of 2-3 people, but ultrawide models can accommodate a crew of 4.

Despite this, these tiny boats are mainly recommended for one or a maximum of two adults.

Examples:

  • American 12 Jon (12’): 2 persons/532 lbs.
  • Crestliner 1240 CR Jon (11’9”): 2 persons
  • Tracker Topper 1236 Jon Boat (11’11”): 3 persons/480 lbs.
  • Lund WC-12 (12’2”): 3 persons
  • Marlon SP12 Jon Boat (12.14’): 4 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 13-foot Boat?

13-foot boats are very rare in the marketplace, the few that pop up are mainly Jon boats and v-hulled aluminum fishing boats.

Although most of them are rated for 3-4 persons, they offer a comfortable fishing experience for two fishermen.

In contrast, the base Sea-Doo Switch is a 13-foot pontoon that can carry a crew of 5 with ease.

Examples:

  • Smoker Craft Alaskan 13 TS DLX (12’11”): 3 persons
  • Boston Whaler 13 (13’1”): 4 persons
  • Sea-Doo Switch (13’): 5 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 14-foot Boat?

Generally speaking, a 14-foot boat is rated for 3-5 people depending on the make and model.

But when it comes to fishing, a 14-footer fishing boat is actually comfortable for two adults.

Examples:

  • Lowe L1448 JON (13’8”): 3 persons/500 lbs.
  • Marlon SP14 Jon Boat (14.27’): 4 persons
  • Crestliner 1448 CR Jon (14’): 4 persons
  • Starcraft SF14 (14’5”): 4 persons
  • Polar Kraft Jon DKJ1448-15 (13’11”): 4 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 15-foot Boat?

You can expect the person capacity of a 15-foot boat to be in the ballpark of 3-5.

Examples:

  • Silver Streak 15′ Open Deep Vee (DV): 3 persons
  • Bayliner Element M15: 5 persons/700 lbs.
  • Marine Jon 15 aluminum boat (15’): 5 persons
  • Kimple 15 ft Aluminum V Hull Fishing Boat: 5 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 16-foot Boat?

16-footer boats can typically carry 3 to 7 persons depending on their type and features.

General wisdom says that a 16-footer Jon boat is recommended for three adults, especially if they want to fish off of the boat.

Wider and heavier deck boats and pontoons with the same length can carry up to 5-7 people.

Examples:

  • Silver Streak 16′ Open Deep Vee (DV): 4 persons
  • Tracker Grizzly 1648 JON (16’1”): 4 persons/555 lbs.
  • Polar Kraft Jon DKJ1648-15 (16’): 4 persons
  • Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC (16’6”): 5 persons/655 lbs.
  • Tahoe T16 deck boat (16’5”): 6 persons/950 lbs.
  • Sea-Doo Switch (16’): 7 persons
  • Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16 XL Pontoon (18’5”): 7 persons/1090 lbs.

What is the Person Capacity of a 17-foot Boat?

Depending on their type and features, the person capacity of 17-footer boats varies greatly. Bass boats in this class can carry only 3 persons, while Jon boats are typically rated for 4-6.

The highest capacities are offered by deck boats and pontoons, these vessels can carry 7-10 persons.

Consequently, the person capacity of a 17-footer boat can be anywhere from 3 to 10 people.

Examples:

  • Nitro Z17 (17’4”): 3 persons/460 lbs.
  • Tracker Bass Classic XL (16’8”): 3 persons/555 lbs.
  • Tracker Grizzly 1754 JON (17’1”): 6 persons/800 lbs.
  • Bayliner Element M17 (17’): 7 persons/1000 lbs.
  • Stingray 172SC: 7 persons
  • Starcraft SVX 171 OB: 10 persons/1400 lbs.

What is the Person Capacity of an 18-foot Boat?

The person capacities of 18-foot boats are very similar to their 17-foot siblings, around 4-10 people.

Examples:

  • Tracker Pro Team 175 TF (17’7”): 4 persons/560 lbs.
  • Xpress X18 Pro (18’): 4 persons/700 lbs.
  • Tracker Targa V-18 (18’2”): 6 persons/885 lbs.
  • Sea-Doo Switch Sport (18’): 7 persons
  • Bayliner Element E18 (18’2”): 9 persons
  • Bayliner Trophy T18Bay (18’2”): 6 persons
  • Tahoe T18 (18’5”): 9 persons/1235 lbs.

What is the Person Capacity of a 19-foot Boat?

Based on our research, 19-foot recreational boats are rated for a crew of 4-12.

Bass boats in this category can typically carry 4 persons while other fishing boats are rated for 6-8.

If you are looking for more comfort and capacities, you should take a look at the 19-footer bowriders, deck boats, or pontoons which can carry 7-12 people on average.

Examples:

  • Nitro Z18 (18’8”) 4 persons/550 lbs.
  • Tracker Pro Team 190 TX (18’7”): 4 persons/575 lbs.
  • Tracker Grizzly 1860 CC (19’2”): 7 persons/940 lbs.
  • Bayliner VR4 Bowrider (18’9”): 7 persons
  • Tracker Targa V-19 (19’): 8 persons/1100 lbs.
  • Legend 18 Fun (19’): 8 persons
  • Bayliner Element M19 (19’): 9 persons
  • Sea-Doo Switch (19’): 9 persons
  • Hurricane Sundeck Sport 188 OB (18’10”): 10 persons
  • Tahoe 1950 (19’5”): 10 persons
  • Hurricane Sundeck 218 OB (18’10”): 10 persons
  • Carolina Skiff 19 Ultra Elite (12’11”): 10 persons
  • Starcraft SVX 191 OB (18’11”): 12 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 20-foot Boat?

The person capacity of 20-foot boats starts at 4 and climbs up to 13.

Examples:

  • Nitro Z20 (20’2”) 4 persons/575 lbs.
  • Bayliner Trophy T20CC (20’6”): 8 persons
  • Stingray 206CC (20’1”): 9 persons
  • Bayliner DX2050 (19’7”): 9 persons
  • Bayliner DX2000 (19’7”): 10 persons
  • Stingray 192 SC (20’1’): 10 persons
  • Hurricane Sundeck Sport 201 OB (20’1”): 12 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 21-foot Boat?

You can fit a crew of 4-14 on a 21-footer recreational motorboat.

Due to fewer seats, most 21-footer bass boats can only carry 4 persons, while other fishing boats of the same length are rated for 8-10.

The highest capacities are offered by pontoons and deck boats, which can carry a whopping 10-14 persons.

Examples:

  • Nitro Z21 XL (21’2”) 4 persons/825 lbs.
  • Xpress X21 Pro (21’): 4 persons/775 lbs.
  • Bayliner VR5 Bowrider (20’7”): 9 persons
  • Sea-Doo Switch Sport/Cruise (21’): 9 persons
  • Tracker Grizzly 2072 CC (21’5”): 9 persons/1230 lbs.
  • Bayliner Element E21 (20’8”): 10 persons
  • Bayliner Trophy T21Bay (20’8”): 10 persons
  • Carolina Skiff 21 LS (21’1”): 10 persons
  • Legend E-Series 21 Cruise (21’): 10 persons
  • Hurricane Sundeck Sport 205 IO (20’9”): 10 persons
  • Tahoe 2150 (21’1”): 11 persons
  • Hurricane SunDeck 217 OB (21’5”): 14 persons
  • Starcraft SVX 211 OB (20’9”): 14 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 22-foot Boat?

You can expect the capacity of 22-foot boats to be 5-14 persons.

One of the largest bass boats in the marketplace is the Bass Cat Jaguar STS featuring 5 seats.

Fishing boats and bowriders in this size category can accommodate 8-10 people, while the capacity of deck boats and pontoons can reach a whopping 12-15 people.

Examples:

  • Bass Cat Jaguar STS (22’): 5 persons/875 lbs.
  • Cobia 220DC (21’7”): 9 persons/1600 lbs.
  • Yamaha SX220 (22’):  10 persons
  • Bayliner DX2250 (21’7”): 11 persons
  • Bayliner DX2200 (21’7”): 12 persons
  • Stingray 212SC (21’11”): 12 persons
  • Stingray 211DC (21’8”): 12 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 23-foot Boat?

You can fit anywhere from 8 to 14 people on an average 23-foot motorboat.

Examples:

  • Pathfinder 2300 HPS (23’6”): 8 persons/1500 lbs.
  • Bayliner T22CC (22’7”): 10 persons
  • Bayliner VR6 Bowrider (22’7”): 10 persons
  • Carolina Skiff 23 LS (23”2’): 12 persons
  • Starcraft SVX IO 230 (23’4”): 14 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 24-foot Boat?

Thanks to their significantly larger hulls, most recreational motorboats with a length of 24 feet can carry anywhere from 10 to 16 people.

Examples:

  • Cobia 240CC (23’7”): 10 persons/1700 lbs.
  • Bayliner T24CC (24’): 12 persons
  • Stingray 236CC (23’8”): 12 persons
  • Cobalt CS23 (23’8”): 12 persons
  • Godfrey Sanpan 2300 ULC (23’9”): 15-16 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 25-foot Boat?

The largest recreational boats equipped with a Capacity Plate are the 25-footers. These vessels can carry 6 to 20 persons depending on the model.

Examples:

  • Crevalle 26 HCO (25’6”): 9 persons
  • EdgeWater 245cc (24’6”): 11 persons
  • MasterCraft XT25 (25’3”): 18 persons
  • Malibu 25 LSV (25’): 19 persons

What is the Person Capacity of a 26+ foot Boat?

Surprisingly, boats with a length of 26 feet and above don’t feature a Capacity Plate.

Why?

According to Boat-Ed.com, there are two regulations in force regarding the Capacity Plates of recreational boats, including:

  1. Federal law requires Capacity Plates on single-hull powerboats less than 20 feet in length.
  2. National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) requires a plate on all boats less than 26 feet in order to be certified by NMMA.

This means recreational vessels over 26 feet typically don’t have a Capacity Plate meaning that they have no specified passenger capacity either.

The number of crew on these boats must be determined by the captain.

Since safe operation is the responsibility of the captain, he/she must always carefully determine the number of passengers.

Boat Person Capacity Chart

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the average person capacity of recreational boats into one chart.

Note that these are only ballpark figures, but most production powerboats more than likely fall into these brackets.

Boat Length (ft.)Avg. Person Capacity
8 ft.1 person
10 ft.1-2 persons
12 ft.2-3 persons
13 ft.2-5 persons
14 ft.3-5 persons
15 ft.3-5 persons
16 ft.3-7 persons
17 ft.3-10 persons
18 ft.4-10 persons
19 ft.4-12 persons
20 ft.4-13 persons
21 ft.4-14 persons
22 ft.5-15 persons
23 ft.5-16 persons
24 ft.5-18 persons
25 ft.6-20 persons
26+ ft.Yacht Certified

Disclaimer: This chart is for informational purposes only! For exact information, please check your boat’s Capacity Plate.

How Many People Can Fit on a Boat [by Type]?  

How Many People Can Go on a Jon Boat?

Jon boats are among the smallest recreational boats available, and are typically rated for 1-8 people depending on the make and model.

The smallest 8-10 feet Jon boats can carry only 1 person while the extra-wide 20+ feet models can hold up to 8 people.

How Many People Can Go on a Bass Boat?

Most bass boats average between 17 and 22 feet. The smallest models can only carry 2-3 persons while the longest is rated for 4-5.

The reason behind this tight person capacity is the limited number of seats on these boats.

How Many People Can Go on a Bowrider Boat?

The smallest 16-18-foot bowriders can carry 4-5 persons while their 20-25-foot brothers are rated for 7-12 persons.

Interestingly, the largest bowriders can reach a remarkable length of 35-40 feet. As one may expect, these vessels can carry a very large crew!

How Many People Can Go on a Deck Boat?

As a rule of thumb, a deck boat can carry a crew of anywhere from 5 to 14 people.

Some of the smallest deck boats are the Bayliner Element M15 (15’) and the Tahoe T16 (16’), which are rated for 5 and 6 persons, respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can find the largest deck boats with 22-25-foot hulls. The person capacity of these models is approximately 10 to 15 people.

How Many People Can Go on a Center Console Boat?

The majority of mass-produced center console boats can carry 6-15 persons.

The smallest models in this breed start at 17-18 feet and can carry 6-7 persons, while the 18-footers are often rated for 9-10.

The largest towable center consoles are 23-25 feet long and can carry 12-14 persons.

Believe it or not, the length of the largest center console boats can reach an incredible 65 feet.

Although these boats can even carry more people, these vessels are considered luxury motor yachts rather than standard center console fishing boats.

Examples:

  • Scout 175 Sportfish (17’5”): 6 persons
  • Bayliner Trophy T18Bay (18’2”): 6 persons
  • Stingray 173CC (17’3”): 7 persons
  • Carolina Skiff 19 Ultra Elite (18’11”): 10 persons
  • Carolina Skiff 23 LS (23”2’): 12 persons
  • Bayliner T24CC (24’): 12 persons

How Many People Can Go on a Ski/Wakeboard Boat?

There’s no question that ski and wakeboard boats are built for large groups of friends and families.

Even the smallest models with 18-20-foot hulls can carry 9-12 people while 21-22 footers are typically rated for 14-15 people.

The largest, 23-25 feet wakeboard boats can accommodate anywhere from 16 to 19 persons.

Examples:

  • HeyDay WT-1 (17’11”): 9 persons
  • Axis A20 (20’): 11 persons
  • MasterCraft NXT20 (20’): 12 persons
  • Heyday WT-2DC (20’6”): 12 persons
  • Heyday WTSURF (23’1”): 17 persons
  • MasterCraft NXT24 (24’): 16 persons
  • Centurion Fi25 (25’): 17 persons
  • MasterCraft XT25 (25’3”): 18 persons
  • Malibu 25 LSV (25’): 19 persons

How Many People Can Go on a Cabin Cruiser Boat?

Even the smaller cabin cruisers can accommodate anywhere from 4 to 9 people, while the larger models are often “Yacht Certified.”

Conclusion – How Many People Can I Take on My Boat?

As a rule of thumb, most recreational motorboats can accommodate 1 to 20 people depending on the make and model. These vessels typically feature 8-25-feet hulls and a single or twin engine configuration.

However, the passenger capacity of any boat smaller than 26 feet is clearly stated on its Capacity Plate.

Make sure not to exceed either this capacity or the overall weight capacity of the boat to stay safe and legal.

Boats longer than 26 feet have a ‘Yacht Certification’ plate, which typically doesn’t contain any capacity information.

On these vessels, it’s the captain’s responsibility to determine a safe number of passengers.

References:

boaterexam.com, boatsafe.com, uscgboating.org

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