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LOA (Length Overall) & LWL (Waterline Length)
Detailed hull dimensions

Length overall, often abbreviated as (LOA, o/a, o.a. or oa) refers to the maximum length of a vessel from the two points on the hull measured perpendicular to the waterline.

Length overall is commonly used to indicate maximum length of a vessel. LOA is the most commonly-used way of expressing the size of a boat, and is also used for calculating the cost of a marina berth[1] (for example, £2.50 per metre LOA).

As said, LOA often means length of the hull.[2] For sailing ships this may exclude the bowsprit and other fittings added to the hull. This is how some racing boats and tall ships use the term LOA.[3] However, other sources may include bowsprits in LOA.[4][5] [6] Confusingly, LOA has different meanings.[7][8] "Sparred length", "Total length including bowsprit", "Mooring length" and "LOA including bowsprit" are other expressions that might indicate the full length of a sailing ship.


By ISO 8666 for small boats, cited by a product description,[9] there is a definition of LOH, length of hull,[10] that measures shorter than LOA.


Another measure of length is LWL (loaded waterline length) which is more useful in assessing a vessel's performance. In some cases (particularly old yachts or vessels with bowsprits) LWL can be considerably shorter than LOA.

See also


  • Hayler, William B.; Keever, John M. (2003). American Merchant Seaman's Manual. Cornell Maritime Pr. ISBN 0-87033-549-9.  
  • Turpin, Edward A.; McEwen, William A. (1980). Merchant Marine Officers' Handbook (4th ed.). Centreville, MD: Cornell Maritime Press. ISBN 087038056X.  


  1. ^ "Boat Moorage". Mosquito Creek Marina. Retrieved 2009-07-13.  
  2. ^ "Definitions of: Boat, Yacht, Small Craft, and Related Terms". Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology. Retrieved 2009-07-13.  
  3. ^ (PDF) Racing & Sailing Rules and Special Regulations, Sail Training International, 2008 edition, p. 2,  
  4. ^ Launer, Donald (2006). Dictionary of Nautical Acronyms and Abbreviations. Sheridan House, Inc. p. 64. ISBN 1574092391, 9781574092394.  
  5. ^ "Glossary". BOATSTATS. Retrieved 2009-07-13.  
  6. ^ "The Dictionary of English Nautical Language". Retrieved 2009-07-13.  
  7. ^ Schäuffelen, Otmar (2005). Chapman great sailing ships of the world. Hearst Books. p. xix. ISBN 1588163849, 9781588163844.  
  8. ^ "Glossary". Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA. Retrieved 2009-07-18.  
  9. ^ (PDF) Oliver Royale 370 Sedan. OLIVERmarine International. p. 4.  
  10. ^ "Advanced Sailboat Parameter Calculations & Checks". Product description. Hawaii Marine Templates. Retrieved 2009-07-18.  


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