The Professional Paddlesports Association released the manufacturing standards consensus ballot, which was developed by a PPA-led committee, in partnership with the American Boat and Yacht Council, charged with developing a standard that addresses canoe and kayak safety.

The document is a guide for determining capacities, flotation, powering, and labeling of canoes and kayaks. One of the principal issues addressed in the document is standardizing a capacity label that lists maximum weight capacity along with maximum power (if the vessel is rated for mechanical propulsion). The draft provides formulas for determining maximum weight and requires that the maximum weight displayed on the capacity plate does not exceed 47 percent of the difference between the maximum displacement and the weight of the canoe or kayak expressed in pounds. The labeling requirements also reflect current U.S. regulations in requiring a hull identification number be affixed to each boat.

The standard also requires that its adherents provide flotation to keep a vessel from completely submerging when it is filled with water. Additional flotation such as float bags and foam blocks need to be permanently installed and located to minimize damage, in order to be considered in flotation calculations.

In addition, the standard requires that manufacturers provide instructions for the use of the vessel that include operation, recommended equipment, and maintenance procedures. Finally, the standard also addresses inflatable canoes and kayaks with a separate section.

It should be noted that all canoes and kayaks intended solely for competition are exempted from the standard.

At this stage in the standard setting process, the industry is being asked to submit comments, including any suggested changes, on specific sections. The industry has 45 days to submit comments ending on August 1, 2005. The Hull Performance Committee of ABYC will address every comment submitted during its next meeting tentatively scheduled for September 14 and 15, 2005.