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PA Boating Handbook
Boat Classification

Boats are classified according to length, which is the horizontal distance from bow (front) to stern (back) along the centerline. It excludes any projections that are not part of the boat’s hull, such as an outboard motor or swim platform. Classification determines the minimum required equipment.

Boat classifications
Less than 16 feet Less than 16 feet (Class A)
Includes jonboats, small runabouts and personal watercraft.

16 feet to less than 26 feet 16 feet to less than 26 feet (Class 1)
Boats used for skiing, fishing and day trips.

26 feet to less than 40 feet 26 feet to less than 40 feet (Class 2)
Large boats that usually include enclosed cabins.

40 feet to not more than 65 feet 40 feet to not more than 65 feet (Class 3)
Large, expensive boats with advanced features.
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