Great Loop Boat Requirements In 2023

Capt John's list of boat requirements for cruising America's Great Loop
Capt John's list of boat requirements for cruising America's Great Loop from


The Great Loop is a popular boating adventure that takes you on a scenic journey through the waterways of the eastern United States. Whether you are a seasoned boater or a novice, it is essential to understand the requirements for embarking on this incredible voyage. In this article, we will explore the boat requirements for the Great Loop in the year 2023.

1. Size and Draft

Boats that are suitable for the Great Loop typically have a length of 35 to 50 feet. It is important to consider the draft of your boat as well, as certain areas along the route have shallow waters. A draft of around 4 feet or less is ideal to ensure smooth navigation.

2. Fuel Capacity

Since the Great Loop covers a distance of approximately 5,000 miles, having an adequate fuel capacity is crucial. Most boaters recommend a fuel capacity of at least 500 gallons to ensure you can travel long distances without worrying about refueling frequently.

3. Engine Reliability

Reliable engines are a must for the Great Loop journey. You will encounter various types of water conditions and terrains, so having a robust engine that can handle these challenges is essential. Regular maintenance and inspections are vital to keep your engine in top-notch condition.

4. Navigation and Communication Systems

Equipping your boat with reliable navigation and communication systems is crucial for a safe and successful Great Loop adventure. GPS, radar, and marine radios are essential tools to navigate through unfamiliar waters and stay in touch with other boaters and authorities.

5. Comfort and Amenities

The Great Loop journey can take several months to complete, so it is important to have a comfortable living space on your boat. Amenities such as a fully equipped kitchen, a comfortable sleeping area, and a bathroom with shower facilities are essential for a pleasant and enjoyable experience.

6. Storage Capacity

As you embark on the Great Loop, you will need to carry supplies, equipment, and personal belongings for an extended period. Ensure that your boat has ample storage capacity to accommodate all the necessary items without compromising safety or comfort.

7. Safety Equipment

Boating safety should always be a top priority. Make sure your boat is equipped with essential safety equipment such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, and a first aid kit. Additionally, having a reliable bilge pump and backup systems in place is crucial.

8. Insurance and Documentation

Before embarking on the Great Loop journey, ensure that your boat is properly insured and all necessary documentation is up to date. This includes registration, licenses, and any required permits or certifications.

9. Knowledge and Experience

While there are no specific boating licenses required for the Great Loop, it is recommended to have prior boating experience and knowledge of navigation rules. Familiarize yourself with the waterways and study charts and guidebooks to ensure a smooth and safe journey.

10. Environmental Considerations

Lastly, as responsible boaters, it is essential to be mindful of the environment. Follow eco-friendly practices such as proper waste disposal, minimizing fuel consumption, and respecting wildlife habitats along the Great Loop route.


Embarking on the Great Loop adventure in 2023 requires careful consideration of boat requirements. From size and draft to navigation systems and safety equipment, ensuring your boat is well-equipped and prepared will contribute to a memorable and enjoyable journey through the beautiful waterways of the eastern United States.