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Hawg Assassin

Horsepower limit on Tracker boat.

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I have a Tracker Pro Team 170 with a 50 hp Mercury.  Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats both say 50 hp is the largest recommended size outboard for this boat.  Can anyone explain why 50hp is the limit.  Why not 75 or 90 hp.  It seems to me, the boat would do just fine with the bigger motor.

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I know someone posted the formula here before, so hopefully they will again.  I know there was a formula posted at one time that measured several different aspects of the vessel to determine the max hp.

Does the coast guard plate say 50hp also, or is that just what BPS says?

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

The law states that manufacturers are not allowed to plate rate a boat above the number derived from this formula but are more than welcome to rate a boat below the figure.

BTW, the ratings are only required on boats 20' and less.  

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Thanks for posting the formula, J_Zink.

Where does the hp limit fit now with that formula?  My only other guess would be that it is a way for Tracker to force you into a bigger boat.

"Well, you wanna go faster than a 50 will let you?  The only way to do that is to upgrade to our next model...which we have sitting over here..." and the sales pitch begins. lol

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" that would be our Nitro line.  Its a bigger, wider, faster boat, just so happens to be :) priced $4K less than the Tracker your looking at."  Heard that yesterday, still dont like the Nitro

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can someone double check that formula?  Is it length x width x 2 or Length + width x2?  I dont know that I want to put a 150 on my 15' boat....

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If that is a true formula then why would 2 boats of identical length & with have different HP ratings?  

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Thanks for posting the formula, J_Zink.

Where does the hp limit fit now with that formula?  My only other guess would be that it is a way for Tracker to force you into a bigger boat.

"Well, you wanna go faster than a 50 will let you?  The only way to do that is to upgrade to our next model...which we have sitting over here..." and the sales pitch begins. lol

Or, if you've visited marine dealers who have suggested that you try and match your hp of the motor to max recommended, it gives the illusion that the Nitro/Tracker is a more efficient boat.  

The reality is most Nitro/Trackers have plate ratings that in effect, under power them.  The sad part is if you buy that boat and discover later that the power just isn't enough you can't upgrade the motor to what should really be on it without it causing problems with your insurance company.  

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In response to a mandate from Congress contained in the Federal Boating Safety Act of 1971 (FBSA), the United States Coast Guard issued regulations covering small outboard boats and the maximum rated horsepower for them. The regulations bind the manufacturer to provide a capacity plate that shows the maximum rated horsepower for each hull.

The applicable regulations can be found in 33CFR183.53 My interpretation of those regulations is that the manufacturer must state the horsepower as no more than that computed under the formula, except, if the manufacturer conducts the performance testing procedure, the results of that testing can be used (with some qualifiers). However, the manufacturer is apparently free to state a lower rating if desired, and sometimes does. Note that the regulations only require ratings for monohull boats under 20-feet in length, but Boston Whaler has historically provided a rating plate for its boats longer than 20-feet as well.

The formula provided in the regulations reduces to:

(2 X L X W) -90 = rated horsepower

Where:

L=boat length

W=transom width; if the boat does not have a full transom,

 the transom width is the broadest beam in the

 aftermost quarter length of the boat.

The rated horsepower may be rounded up to the nearest "5".

Here is an example of how the rating formula works in practice, applied to an older Boston Whaler boat, the V-20 model:

Boston Whaler V-20

Length = 19' 10"

Width =   7' 5"

Thus:

(19.83 x 7.42 x 2) - 90 = 204.15

 Rounding up           = 205 maximum rated horsepower

In the case of the V-20/Outrage 20, from 1978 through 1985 Whaler chose to give it a maximum rating of 180-HP instead of 205-HP. Affixing rating labels which are lower than the rating permitted under the formula is common.

Is powering above the rated maximum legal?

The United States Coast Guard has an opinion on this frequently asked question, and their answer from their website is reproduced below:

Can I use a bigger motor on my boat than what it's rated for?

It is not a violation of Coast Guard regulations to install or use an engine larger than specified on the capacity label, but there may be state regulations prohibiting it, and restrictions from your own insurance company regarding this.

There are no Coast Guard regulations against exceeding the safe loading capacity, however, there may be State regulations or restrictions from your insurance company which prohibit this. There is a Coast Guard regulation that gives Coast Guard Boarding Officers the power to terminate the use of a boat (send it back to shore) if, in the judgment of the Boarding Officer, the boat is overloaded. There is no fine for this, unless the operator refuses the Boarding Officer's order. We certainly hope that you will abide by the rating, as overloading may lead to capsizing or swamping of the boat.

NOTE: The Coast Guard Capacity Information label is required only on monohull boats less than 20' in length. The label is not required on multi-hull boats, pontoon boats (catamarans), or on any sailboats, canoes, kayaks, or inflatable boats, regardless of length.

As the Coast Guard mentions, local regulations may apply. For example, in the state of Ohio one should be guided by this regulation:

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.

To help locate applicable law in your jurisdiction, you may find the website of the National Association of State Boating Law Agencies to be helpful. They provide a free guide to state boating regulations.

It should be noted that in some cases there are pamphlets or guidelines issued by state regulatory agencies that contain recommended practices which may propose higher standards than those actually contained in the state law.

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Here is an example of a smaller boat having a higher hp rating

Xpress SV16 Utility max rating 50 hp; un-carpeted bass boat

Length: 16'

Beam: 81

Bottom: 56

Weight: 682 lbs

Xpress SV16Bass max rating 70 hp; completely carpeted bass boat

Length: 16'

Beam: 75

Bottom: 51

Weight: 682 lbs

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Quote
Here is an example of a smaller boat having a higher hp rating

Xpress SV16 Utility max rating 50 hp; un-carpeted bass boat

Length: 16'

Beam: 81

Bottom: 56

Weight: 682 lbs

Xpress SV16Bass max rating 70 hp; completely carpeted bass boat

Length: 16'

Beam: 75

Bottom: 51

Weight: 682 lbs

I didn't use exact numbers for the beam but the first boat rates for a 120hp.  The second, 105hp.

I'll give you a better example.  Champion sells their 183 line boat in both an entry level CX version and the upper end Elite version.  Same boat, same identical hull.  The CX is rated for a 150, the Elite at 175hp.

Why?  

I've asked the question at *** on the Champion board and never gotten a straight answer.  Those guys just bash you for asking questions. In essence, if you want the 18 foot boat from Champion and want the thing with the max HP motor for the best overall performance you're forced to buy the elite version of the boat to get it whether you want all the "Elite" bling or not.

I still say the reason for under HP rating these boats is to create the illusion that the buyer is getting more boat for less.  

What's so funny is how the industry has changed from the way it was years ago.  Back in the day,  manufacturers used creative ways to measure boat beams (usually at the transom) in order to boost the HP rating on a typical bas boat.  I'm sure you remember the old Skeeter Wranglers, Champion Super V's and the boats by Hurst.  Those were little 16 foot jobs with a transom beam measurement of around 85".  All of those boats only figured out to around 140hp for a max rating.  Unless you didn't measure straight across at the back end of the transom but measured from the back corners, out to the setback and then back again to the other side.  Suddenly max hp comes in at 150HP!!   ;D

Not illegal to do it that way though it was not in the spirit of how the measuring method was to be done.   :)

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Could it be that the entry level version is lighter since it doesn't have the bling, and the manufacturer feels that the speeds you could get from a 175 aren't safe. But for the elite version, given the added weight, the 175 is stable.

That's just a guess but I don't think its unreasonable.

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The manufacturers underrate hulls for two reasons.  First to meet a pricepoint, ex. stratos 176, Lowe170W, Skeeter sx180.  Second to limit liability, ex putting hp plates on boats over 20 feet.

Tracker always underrates their hulls, usually to meet a pricepoint and push you to a larger hull, but also, I don't think the difference in the price of the hull is that large in tin boats, and you are really mostly paying for the bigger engine.

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The manufacturers underrate hulls for two reasons. First to meet a pricepoint, ex. stratos 176, Lowe170W, Skeeter sx180. Second to limit liability, ex putting hp plates on boats over 20 feet.

Tracker always underrates their hulls, usually to meet a pricepoint and push you to a larger hull, but also, I don't think the difference in the price of the hull is that large in tin boats, and you are really mostly paying for the bigger engine.

Aint priced a tin boat lately have we?   :)

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The difference in price of a Tracker 170 an and 175 with a 50hp is less than $1500., I don't think 10% is a large price difference for a boat that is longer and wider.  It was more of an issue when the Tracker 175 was rated for 90hp, and if you wanted to upgrade HP, you could get a 190 with a 90Hp for about $1200 more than 175 with 90hp.

If you're financing a Tracker 170, how hard would you have to be pushed to be convinced to buy a 175 for $20 or $25 more a month with the same engine.

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What you have to take into consideration with Trackers is the fact they are a national chain not individual boat dealerships like you have with all other boat companies like Xpress.

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