When boating, the length overall dictates the equipment the pleasure craft must carry to comply with Canadian law. Length overall is measured from the tip of the bow in a straight line to the stern of the pleasure craft, including any rear deck extensions (platforms). Bow sprits; rudders; outboard motors and motor brackets; handles; and other fittings and attachments are not included in the measurement.
Because length overall dictates the required equipment, vessels are grouped in the following way:
- Pleasure Craft 6 metres or less in length
- Pleasure Craft more than 6 metres in length
- Non-Pleasure Craft 6 metres or less in length
- Non-Pleasure Craft more than 6 metres in length