Boat Hull Number Check


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Hull Identification Number Check

Free boat hull identification number validation check.

Free resource with no obligation.
Must-have for buyers and lenders.
Covers ski-boats to mega-yachts.
Check any HIN for composition.
Compares HIN to federal standards.
Don't buy a boat without checking.
No account or user setup required.
Determine how HINs are structured.

Hull Identification Number


Please read our terms of use before using this service.

About Boat Hull Identification Numbers

How to determine whether a boat hull identification number is valid.

A boat hull identification number, which is commonly referred to as a HIN or hull ID, serves the same basic purpose as a vehicle serial number. It not only provides a unique vessel identifier, but facilitates tracking of manufacturer defects for recall purposes. The importance of showing this correctly on all registration and title documents can not be overstated. Enforcement officials do not take kindly to mismatched and incorrect HIN numbers when it comes to a boarding or inspection. There are also numerous other issues surrounding boat identification numbers of which any interested party should be keenly aware.

On November 1, 1972 the federal government enacted regulations which require a standardized hull number format on any boat that is manufactured for domestic consumption. The number must be 12 characters long and arranged in such a way that it shows the manufacturer's code, a production number, and the production date or model year. HINs may also contain optional prefixes and suffixes which are separated from the underlying number by dashes. This is supplemental data which may include the country where built or additional specifications. These are not considered as part of the actual hull ID number.

The above requirements pertain to hull identification numbers that have been assigned by registered manufacturers. There are however circumstances where each state and the U.S. Coast Guard will assign hull numbers directly to an applicant. This includes home built vessels, those manufactured prior to November 1, 1972, and boats which have been brought in from foreign countries which do not subscribe to our HIN standards. State issued hull numbers will begin with their standard registration prefix followed by the letter "Z". Coast Guard issued hull identification numbers are prefixed by "USZ".

Hull identification numbers are typically located on the upper right hand part of the transom or aft starboard side in the case of double ended vessels. On fiberglass boats, they are molded right into the hull itself by the manufacturer. State or Coast Guard assigned numbers may be affixed by a decal or plate. Beginning with August 1, 1984, manufacturers were also required to affix a hidden identification number to some unexposed location on the interior of a boat. Most surveyors and law enforcement officials will know where to look on specific models.

One of the most critical issues in dealing with hull identification numbers is knowing how to recognize a HIN which has been changed, altered, or obliterated. Any evidence of tampering whatsoever in this regard should raise an immediate red flag and warrant further investigation. Interested parties should also never rely on registration or title documents without implementing an actual inspection to make sure the HIN on these documents matches that which is actually affixed to the vessel. Another important safeguard is to simply verify that a hull number is structured properly to coincide with the vessel's year and model. The free hull number check resource shown above is designed for that purpose.


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