What Does Loa Mean On A Boat?

Length of a Boat Length Overall (LOA) YouTube
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When it comes to boating, there are many terms and acronyms that can be confusing for beginners. One such term is LOA, which stands for “Length Overall.” LOA is an important measurement that refers to the maximum length of a boat from the tip of the bow to the farthest point at the stern. It is a crucial specification that boat owners and enthusiasts need to understand. In this article, we will explore what LOA means on a boat and why it is significant.

Understanding LOA

LOA is a vital measurement for various reasons. It is used to determine the size and capacity of a boat, which affects its handling, docking, and storage requirements. LOA is typically measured in feet, although it can also be expressed in meters. Manufacturers and boat owners often refer to the LOA when discussing the size and specifications of a boat.

Why is LOA Important?

Knowing the LOA of a boat is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps determine whether a boat can fit into a particular marina, dock, or storage facility. Many marinas have size restrictions, and boats with a longer LOA may not be allowed or may require additional fees. Additionally, knowing the LOA is crucial for calculating docking fees, as marinas often charge based on the length of the boat. Therefore, knowing the LOA can help boat owners plan and budget accordingly.


It is important not to confuse LOA with LWL, which stands for “Length Waterline.” While LOA measures the entire length of the boat, including any protrusions, LWL only measures the length of the boat that is in contact with the water when it is afloat. LWL is often used to determine a boat’s speed potential and overall performance.

How is LOA Measured?

LOA is measured by starting at the tip of the bow and following the boat’s contours to the farthest point at the stern. The measurement should be taken along the centerline of the boat, which is an imaginary line that divides the boat into equal halves. It is important to measure from the outermost points, including any bowsprits, swim platforms, or other extensions that contribute to the boat’s overall length.

Why Does LOA Vary?

The LOA can vary depending on the boat’s design, features, and additional equipment. For example, boats with bowsprits, swim platforms, or outboard motors will have a longer LOA compared to boats without these features. It is crucial to consider the LOA when purchasing a boat or planning to dock it at a specific marina to ensure it meets the size requirements.


Understanding the meaning of LOA on a boat is essential for any boating enthusiast or owner. LOA refers to the maximum length of a boat from the tip of the bow to the farthest point at the stern. It is crucial for determining the size, capacity, and docking requirements of a boat. By knowing the LOA, boaters can ensure that their boat fits into marinas, docks, and storage facilities and accurately calculate docking fees. Remember to measure from the outermost points of the boat and not confuse LOA with LWL. So, next time you come across the term LOA, you’ll know exactly what it means and why it matters in the world of boating.