6" freeboard question


In researching relitive capicity on the Swift Osprey and Mad River Liberty. I found it listed at 400# for Osprey and 550# for Liberty.This doesn’t seem right-they should be closer.I have an Osprey and wanted a capicity idea on the Liberty,which I expected to be lower,not higher.I know this weight is not what I should plan to carry.Can anybody compare these two boats capacity for me please?


6 inch not a good place to measure
for load capacity. if you’ve got a canoe down to the 6-inch mark, you’re WAY overloaded. you may have a canoe that says 500 pounds at the 6-inch line, but it may be 250 at the 3-inch line. my rob roy has something like 280 at the 4-inch line? that’s a guess, but 280 is about as much as i’d want to put in the boat on a trip.

I understand
That’s why I said I was only using it for capacity comparison-the Liberty to a boat I am farmiliar with-the Osprey.


I wouldn’t worry about it

– Last Updated: Feb-27-08 12:50 PM EST –

If the two boats are that similar, who cares which one is rated to carry more? Choose a boat that suits your needs as far as how it paddles, and rest assured it will do just fine with the amount of weight you will ACTUALLY carry.

Wait a minute
Are you all talking apples or has an orange gotten into the discussion?

6" freeboard is not the same as 6" daught.


it’s the 6-inch waterline
a swift osprey would be overloaded at 400 pounds. freeboard, draft, whatever you want to call it.

measured from the bottom=draft

freeboard measured from the top…whats not in the water.

400 lbs is a whole lot of lead…unless you are carrying a gas grill you will run out of room before you ever get to there.

Most solos behave like pigs with that load. You could go a little over the optimum with the Osprey (maybe 300 tops)

I cant find much on the Liberty to help on the comparison except that FreeStylers like it…it seems like a smaller boat so your intuitions are reasonable.

These capacity fantasies are based on
6" from gunwale to water when the boat is so loaded. The capacity figures are SO MISLEADING that canoeing organizations should gang up on the manufacturers and demand that they either give a sensible working estimate, or switch to an 8" standard.

Our Bluewater Chippewa tandem, just under 17’ long and 16" deep, is capacity rated by the manufacturer at about 550 pounds. By this they mean that 550# is the most one can have in the boat and expect it to handle normally and safely.

So, our Bluewater is about the same length, width, and depth, as a Kevlar Explorer. Yet hardly a year goes by on pnet where someone will refer to his Explorer’s ability to carry 1000 pounds. And MRC blithely continues to supply their 6" freeboard ratings. Such ratings do not even have a “relative” value for comparison. They do have potential for getting less experienced canoeists in real big trouble.

I don’t plan to carry the weight listed,I know the industry standard spes are wildly optomistic,but why isn’t it a good tool to use for relitive capacities? With the 2 specs varing so much I must not understand the standard or the spec must be wrong as the dementions are similar.A large part of capacity must be the volume of displacment,which is very hard to figgure by just boat specs as the shape of the boat is a big factor.A liberty for freestyle? I would think it has too little rocker.



– Last Updated: Feb-28-08 7:01 AM EST –

Suppose you have a tandem canoe design with a center depth of 12 inches which paddles optimal with a load of about 490 pounds aboard. Now suppose the center depth is raised to 14 inches:
Do you expect it to paddle better now with much more than 490 pounds aboard? Possibly it will be marginally dryer, but that's it.

One reason the 6" freeboard capacity
is not a good basis for comparison, is that canoes differ greatly above the 4" waterline. The amount of weight they passively support when loaded until they have only 6" above the water is NOT going to predict how they compare in behavior when loaded to, say, 8" freeboard, or 9" freeboard.

If you make boat buying decisions based on comparisons of supposed 6" freeboard weight, you are going to get stung. That is the straight and incontrovertible truth. Don’t use bad parameters.

great points
you said it all.