What Does Dry Weight Mean On A Boat? (Explained)

what does dry weight mean on a boat
what does dry weight mean on a boat

To maximize the efficiency of your outboard, you have to keep a lot of things in mind, from the weight of the boat to the angle of the engine.

Ignoring these factors will hinder you from achieving the top performance of your unit, and you will likely run into stability issues.

It can take days if not weeks to perfectly optimize your boat, even if you’re experienced.

There is just a lot of trial and error that goes into figuring out the different aspects to the system. However, you can’t really ignore this optimization stage when trying to get peak performance from your boat. 

The good thing is that you don’t have to go through all of these optimization options yourself.

Instead, getting help and asking other anglers that went through the same routine to help you out will be a better idea. You will not have to worry about the minor details and complex units on your own. 

So, if you’re inexperienced, make sure to seek help from a professional to develop an optimal fishing setup. Recently, quite a few users have asked about what dry weight means on a boat.

If you’re also confused about the same thing, then the following details should give you a better perspective.

What Does Dry Weight Mean on A Boat?

The dry weight on a boat point towards the standard weight of any particular boat from the factory after removing all guilds and accessories.

So, you can find the dry weight of the boat by removing all stuff like life jackets, food items, sleeping bags, and fluids like water and fuel.

After that, you’ll be left with the dry weight of the boat that can be measured rather easily to determine the factory weight of your boat.

A lot of factors play into determining the final wet weight of the boat that you have to subtract from the total weight of the boat to find out the dry weight.

So, you’ll be keeping track of all the accessories, including the engine, fishing gear, electronics, and any other item that didn’t come with the factory model of the boat.


Make sure to be completely thorough in this examination if you wish to get to an accurate estimate.

If you’re unsure about how to isolate the wet weight of the boat, then your best bet is to rely on local experts for help. 

Even though you’ll have to pay a bit of a fee for their help, it will save a ton of your time. So, if you want to narrow down on an accurate estimate while also benefiting from the professional support, then involve some experts.

While determining the final weight, you’ll also have to figure out the distribution of weight across the lifting unit.

Otherwise, it will lead to long-term issues, and there is a good chance that you’ll have to purchase new lifter beams within a few months.

So, it is probably best to leave this job to the professionals and avoid weighing the boat on your own.

Most of the manufacturers do list the dry weight to make the calculations easier for the owners.

You can sometimes rely on these calculations if there are no differences in the measurement criteria. So, have that in mind when relying on the information provided by the dealer. 

You can’t do everything in isolation and will have to further get details on the criteria and the overall weighting method.

boat on water

That way, it will be somewhat easier when it comes to limiting the errors and figuring out the best boat lift for your system. Just make sure to get details from the experts.

Do All Manufacturers Follow the Same Criteria?

When it comes to dry weight, you will notice that all manufacturers don’t follow the same method.

Some will include the weight of the engine without accounting for the coolant and other liquids, while others will not include the engine.

Similarly, the type of accessories and the brand can make a huge difference.

So, No! Different manufacturers will bring different criteria and you can’t use one method to accurately figure out the dry weight. 

Instead, you will have to go back and forth with the dealer and have him guide you through the process.

He will inform you about the criteria held by their brand and how you can modify your boat lift to adjust to these criteria. 

Most of the time, it is a safer bet to assume that the dry weight offered by a decent manufacturer will not include the weight of the engine or any liquids.


However, some experts do recommend that it is not that bad an idea to provide that extra bit of cushion.

You can’t really afford to be inaccurate when you risk destroying the whole boat lift.

If you mess up the calculations and think that the boat lift manufacturer will reimburse you for the damages, then you’re in for a surprise. 

The warranty deal held by these experts won’t accommodate any damages that were caused by overloading the lift. So, if you’re in the same situation, now might be a good idea to seek official support and be more mindful of the dry weight. 

The criteria can vary, the type of accessories can vary, and the overall material can vary when choosing between different manufacturers.

So, you can’t use one method and isolate everything else when trying to figure out the right brand. Instead, you will have to involve the experts.

If the dealer is not responding, just ask the local professionals to help you out.

They will not only help you weigh the boat, but will also be pretty willing to guide you on the right method and boat lift structure. That way, you might just save yourself from a huge loss. 


Everything will boil down to practical trial and error, and it is much better to limit the variance than to take the risk on your new boat lift. Hopefully, you won’t have to go through much hassle overall when determining the dry weight. 

Choosing Boat Lift

When it comes to finding the perfect boat lift, you need to know the wet weight as well as the dry weight.

This will help you further limit the minor inconsistencies in calculation. Putting too much load on the lift will end up creating unnecessary disasters that can be avoided pretty easily.

All that you need to ensure is that the boat that you’re choosing falls below the lift capacity maintained by the boat lift.

The weight that you need to focus more is the wet weight that includes everything. From there, you can give a cushion range that can account for the fishing hauls. 

Purchasing a lift that exactly matches the dry weight of your boat will only set you up for failure. You will not be using the factory finish structure when going on a fishing trip.

fishing lure

Instead, you will be adding a lot of equipment that will make a huge difference in the weight of the boat. 

So, you need to consider the weight of the boat after you’ve added all of the equipment, the accessories, and then give the lift some margin for fishing hauls.

Depending upon the boat and the fish you catch, the estimates can vary by a great margin. 

You can’t ignore this part before buying the boat lift. Calculating all of the factors and the additional cushion is necessary when you’re trying to keep your lift in good condition.

Otherwise, the lift will break down under excessive pressure and you will not be able to claim the warranty. 

Everything will boil down to how you’re willing to modify and enhance your fishing system, and getting help from the seasoned experts is never a bad idea. They will help you avoid a ton of common mistakes and complications.

To Conclude

The dry weight on the boat means the factory weight of the boat without any accessories or fluid involved in the system. It won’t include the engine or any fluids that weren’t present when this boat finished up in the factory.

So, you will have to go through a complex procedure to narrow down the wet weight of the boat and then subtract it from the final weight of the boat to get an estimate of the dry weight.

While there might be a bit of inconsistency in some cases, you can still make a solid estimate. 

There is simply no need to over complicate the situation for yourself. Instead, you can have the experts limit down the variations for you.

They will be more than happy to help you out and you will be able to save hours if not days of your time. 

You’ll have to include all accessories from the fishing equipment to the outboard weight attached to the boat.

It would help a lot if you could involve an expert to help you get to a reliable estimate. Otherwise, you’ll be spending several hours trying to narrow down the boat weight.

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