Hull Number Decoder

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Hull Number Decoder

How to decode the meaning of a boat hull identification number.

All boats manufactured for consumption within the United States after November 1, 1972 are required to have a twelve character hull identification number. Federal regulations specify that it must be formatted according to the elements shown below.

New Format

Mandatory  -  August 1, 1984

Manufacturers
Identification Code
Production
or Serial Number
*Month
of Production
Year
of Production
Model
Year
ABC 12345 A 7 88
    * A - January          D - April          G - July            J - October
      B - February         E - May            H - August          K - November
      C - March            F - June           I - September       L - December

Straight Year Format

November 1, 1972

Manufacturers
Identification Code
Production
or Serial Number
Month
of Production
Year
of Production
ABC 12345 12 75

Model Year Format

Optional - November 1, 1972

Manufacturers
 Identification Code
Production
or Serial Number
Indicates Model
Year Format
Model
Year
*Production
Month
ABC 12345 M 75 A
    * A - August          D - November          G - February         J - May
      B - September       E - December          H - March            K - June
      C - October         F - January           I - April            L - July  

Note: The letters "I", "O", and "Q" are forbidden in the Production or Serial Number

In addition to the above formats, you may encounter those which are preceded by country codes such as "US" for the United states, "CN" for Canada, and "FR" for France. This means that the vessel was built for consumption in that respective country. You may also find hull numbers on two separate lines. In this case the second line is not typically considered as part of the hull number. State assigned hull numbers are not always consistent with federal standards.

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