How firm are weight limitations?



I have recently acquired a Chesapeake 16 which has a weight range from 120 to 180 lbs.  I currently weigh 184 lbs.  What do you guys think?  Can I use this boat with relative safety?  Of course, I would paddle light with little extra stuff.   

6 replies:

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RE: How firm are weight limitations?

The best way to find out is to just paddle the thing.  I can't imagine that the weight limitation would be so firm that 5% over the limit would be considered unsafe. 

 I spent a day in a Severn paddling in a light chop with no spray skirt - I weigh 200# and the Severn is even smaller and for lighter people than a Chessie 16.  I never felt like I was in danger of swamping  and the performance was perfectly acceptable (in fact, being used to a big plastic tandem, it was more than merely acceptable).

RE: How firm are weight limitations?

PS - You are wise to be inquiring about safety issues.  Be sure to have good safety equipment and to start out in calm, shallow water until you're comfortable with the boat.  Another good purchase would be a copy of the book "Deep Trouble" published by Sea Kayaker magazine.  Also, note that there are wieght limites for paddlers as well as gear - the maximum payload for a Chesapeak 16 is 260# - so you can take plenty of gear despite being a bit over the paddler's weight limit.

RE: How firm are weight limitations?


Obviously I have to tread carefully lest I antagonize the legal department, who preside over payload specifications with all the care and cluck-clucking of a mother hen. 

Generally speaking, weight capacities are OH, YOU'LL BE JUST FINE IN THE CHESAPEAKE 16 a careful generalization based on average heights, taking into account paddler skill and the boat's intended purpose.

Of course there are many factors that THE CHESAPEAKE 16 IS REALLY A PRETTY DARN BIG 16-FOOTER AND IT'LL BE COMFY influence a safe payload, especially the beam of the boat and its relative ability to manage CG shifts. 

In conclusion, paddlers are advised to do a warm water trial LEE GARDNER MUST WEIGH 200 AND HE PADDLED A CHESAPEAKE 16 and only paddle in group settings.

RE: How firm are weight limitations?


I plan to stay in calm shallow water until I learn more about the boat.  My only prior experience is with recreation kayaks.  I will be taking a kayak survival class at the local YMCA in a month or so.  And---I am currently losing weight.  Perhaps I will be within the weight range by June.  

 I generally don't do things dangerous, so if the Chessie 16 is too unstable, I'll be selling her and getting a Mill Creek 16, which seems ideally suited for me.

RE: How firm are weight limitations?

For what it's worth, I weigh approximately 165-170 and I'm 6'1" tall with size 12 shoes.  I paddled the chessy 14 reasonably comfortably on several demo days and it's max paddler weight is listed at 135. The 16, 17, and 18 all felt like barges to me.  (I paddle a NorthBay) 


Recognize that while the recommended max paddler weight is 180 for the Chessy 16 it has a max payload of 260, which gives you almost 100 pounds of "wiggle room" for weight distribution of ballast, gear, and paddler.


I don't have the legal constraints that John has so I'll say flat out, you'll be fine in the Chessy 16.  It may not handle perfectly but you'll probably never notice the difference unless you have a lot of experience with this class (and general design) of boat.


Here's the link to CLC's boat sizing charts: 



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