Thursday, April 4, 2024

How To Look Up Boat Hull Numbers

How To Decode A Boat Hull Identification Number

Do Boats Have VIN Numbers?

Example HIN ABC12345B612

ABC Manufacturer Identification Code

12345 Manufacturers Serial Number

B6 Manufacture date where the first digit represents the month and the second digit represent the last digit of the year.

A=Jan, B=Feb, C=Mar, D=Apr, E=May, F=Jun, G=Jul, H=Aug, I-Sep, J=Oct, K=Nov, L=Dec

12 Last 2 digits of the model year

How Do I Look Up A Boat Vin Number

How do I look up a boat VIN number?

If youre trying to obtain a boats VIN, or hull identification number HIN as they are referred to in the boating industry, you can use Boat History Report to run the state registration number or US Coast Guard Documentation number.; If you are unsure of whether a boat is documented, Boat History Report would be happy to assist simply send a link to the boat listing to and we can look into the vessel details for you.;; can also help you if the HIN or state registration number youre researching is incomplete, or if youre not sure of a letter or number within the HIN.; Again, just send the boat listing and the information you know about the boat to and we can use our proprietary database to run blanks or wildcards for the missing or confusing characters to help you determine the correct HIN.

Q: What If I Am In A Boating Accident Or My Boat Is Stolen

A: The operator of a vessel is required to submit a written report to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, Boating and Recreational Vehicle Safety Bureau whenever an accident results in: The death of a person. The disappearance of a person under circumstances which suggest any possibility of death or injury. Any injury requiring medical attention. Property damage exceeding $500.

Accidents resulting in death or serious injury must be reported within 48 hours. Other accident reports must be submitted within five days

If a boat is lost, stolen, abandoned, or destroyed, the owner must notify the Massachusetts Environmental Police in writing within 15 days.

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Q: What Do I Do With The Registration Certificate Number And Decal

A: The registration certificate is proof that the boat is registered. It also serves as proof of ownership if the boat is not titled or documented. The registration certificate should be available for inspection on board the motorboat whenever it is in operation.

The registration number is assigned when you register your boat for the first time. It should be painted or attached to each side of the forward half of the boat. It should read from left to right, be in block letters not less than three inches high, and contrast with the color of the boat’s hull. The number consists of the letters MS followed by no more than four numbers and two capital letters. A two-inch space or hyphen must separate the letters and the numbers. The registration number is issued to the boat owner and not the vessel. Therefore, it can be transferred to different boats for a given owner, but it cannot be transferred to a new owner.

The registration decal should be placed in line with and three inches to the stern of the registration number on the port side of the boat. The decal is issued with the initial registration and each registration renewal; it indicates the month and year that the registration expires.

Vessel Documentation Search By Hull Number: The Fastest Way To Obtain This Information

How to Look Up Boats Using the Hull Number

When you are looking at potential boats, you dont want to delay any longer than you absolutely have to, and so you want a documentation search that is as rapid as possible. The best way to do this search is through the vessel number, the number which is printed on the hull and within the vessel itself. This number is given to the boat owner when documentation is granted and identifies only that boat. Even if there is no current certificate of documentation, that number is still valid and still refers only to the boat you are inquiring about. This is why it is the best way to extract the information available from the Coast Guard and why it makes applying for a vessel documentation search so much easier. Although there are other ways to perform this search, this is the fastest and often the most successful option.

Let Us Help You With This Search

If you are contemplating a vessel documentation search by hull number for a boat that you are interested in, then you should speak to the Maritime Documentation Center. We can offer you help in conducting the search, including applying using the USCG forms and making sure that you have completed all of the information necessary for a successful search. We are experienced in handling Coast Guard forms and documentation and can assist you with every stage of the process. Simply reach out to us today to find out how we can help by contacting us online, or by calling at 535-8570 now.;

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How To Identify Your Boat

Since November 1, 1972, federal law requires all boats, including inflatables like rafts, IKs and SUP boards, manufactured in, or imported into, the US to have a unique 12-character identifier called the Hull Identification Number . This is often referred to as the boat serial number or boat ID number. The number is usually found in the stern and can be engraved on a plate or stamped into the boat material.

Check Boat Sales With Vessel Documentation Search By Hull Number

You are contemplating buying a boat, and want to know more details about its history. Running a background check on any vessel is very important, as it can throw up details about the boats past life that would otherwise have remained hidden. In order to conduct this check in the most effective manner, you should consider a vessel documentation search by hull number. This is a very simple way of learning more about a vessel and will allow you to discover everything about the boat in a very short time. If you are looking for help with conducting a vessel search, then we can give you a few tips about the best way to manage this type of investigation.

Also Check: Where Do I Get My Boat Licence

Q: What Should I Do If I Am Buying Or Selling A Boat

A: In order to execute a boat transaction, the following items are necessary:

  • ;Bill of sale
  • ;12-character serial number pencil tracing
  • ;Proof of payment of Massachusetts’ sales tax
  • ;A completed application
  • ;Appropriate fees
  • ;Title from seller if applicable

Massachusetts sales tax is now payable online. For more information visit the Department of Revenue website or call 392-6089.

In addition to the previous requirements, if the boat is 14 feet or greater in length and uses a motor either temporarily or permanently, or if it is designed for use with a motor, the certificate of title must be signed over from the seller to the buyer. The buyer then presents this information and documentation to the Massachusetts Environmental Police Registration Bureau to obtain a new registration card and certificate of title.

Q: How Long Are The Registration And Title Good For And How Much Do They Cost

How old is my boat? – Your HIN number explained !

A: The title certificate is good for the life of the boat, or until the boat is sold or otherwise transferred, at which time the new owner must obtain a another title. ;The title fee is $27.50. This is a one-time charge.

The boat registration certificate is valid for two years from the date of issuance. Cost is based on the length of the vessel. ;

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Using Vin Or Vessel Records To Check For Liens

If you are considering buying a used car, truck, RV, boat or another vehicle, it is a good idea to check for a clear title before you pay. A clear title means there are no liens held against the vehicle or vessel.

Liens allow banks or other creditors to seize vehicles from owners if they do not repay their debt. If there is a lien on a used vehicle you want to buy, the seller must pay off the lien before transferring the title to you.

Vehicles or vessels may have a lien for a variety of reasons. When the original owner of a vehicle has not paid off the loan that he or she took out to buy it, the bank or lender can put a lien on the vehicle.

People can also offer their vehicle as collateral for a cash loan, usually at a payday loan establishment. These are known as title loans. Another type of lien is a mechanic’s lien, which auto mechanics can place on a vehicle when the owner does not pay for repairs.

How To Research A Boat Registration Number

Boat registration numbers come at two levels, state and federal. Smaller recreational and commercial vessels use state registration. Owning and operating recreational and commercial vessels with larger carrying capacities require federal documentation. If you need to find a boat’s owner or verify whether or not there is a lien holder, research registration and documentation numbers at the state and federal levels to discover the vessel’s chain of ownership and any lien information.

Step 1

Locate the registration or documentation number on the exterior of the boat. State registration numbers are commonly displayed on both sides of the bow with 4-inch painted numbers or stickers. Federal numbers are displayed anywhere on the boat’s exterior that is visible from the water.

Step 2

Locate the vessel’s hull number stamped or cast into the transom of the boat, and one other place such as a deck beam or other permanent structural member located in the engine room or hold. Hull numbers identify the vessel using the manufacturer’s database. Use this number to confirm that the boat matches the registration number.

Step 3


  • Capt. TJ Hinton; commercial fishing vessel captain; Gulf Coast, Miss.


Things You’ll Need

  • Registration or federal documentation number
  • Hull number

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Q: I Purchased My Boat From A Car Dealer

A: Car dealers that are not registered boat dealers must first title the boat in the car dealer’s name before legally selling the boat. The car dealer must also pay a sales tax to the Department of Revenue before titling the boat. Once the car dealer has applied for and received the title from the state, the sale can be made.

Q: Am I Required To Register My Boat

Registration numbers

A: ;State law requires the registration of any boat that is powered by a motor and operated on public waterways in Massachusetts. Registration is required even if the motor is not the primary means of propulsion for that boat. Some examples of boats that require registration include fishing boats with motors, recreational motorboats, canoes or sailboats that use motors , and personal watercraft such as Jet Skis or wet bikes. Boats exempt from registration requirements include those that do not use motors, and documented vessels . Vessels used solely by a city, county, state, or federal agency will be issued a certificate of registration and number at no charge

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What About My Engine

The Coast Guard has no model-year regulations for outboard engines, making it harder for consumers to determine the year in which they were built. In 2007, Yamaha stopped designating model years for its outboard engines entirely. Though the reasoning is sound, it creates a challenge for consumers.

Unlike cars, in which engines are built into the product, a selection of engines usually can be fitted on outboard boats. Dealers have struggled for years to make sure that the engines bought from an engine manufacturer during one year get sold that same year on new boats.

If a boat on the showroom floor comes with a 200-hp engine but a buyer wants a 250-hp engine, the dealer may have to order the bigger engine and keep the smaller one in stock. If it takes a couple of years to finally sell that 200-hp engine, a buyer may be reluctant to buy it if the model year isn’t current, and the dealer may have to subsequently discount it. Buyers typically want a 2017 engine, for example, on their 2017 boat.

What’s considered an upgrade? In the end, the engine manufacturer gets to decide what it is and when there’s enough of one to create a new model. Fortunately, dealers usually know which engines in their stock have the most current changes, and you should ask before buying.

Q: I Live In Another State But Sometimes Boat In Massachusetts Do I Need To Register And Title My Boat

A: Visiting boat owners who are registered in another state are allowed to boat in Massachusetts for up to 60 consecutive days without obtaining a Massachusetts registration and title. If you plan to keep the boat in Massachusetts for more than 60 consecutive days, you must obtain a Massachusetts registration and title certificate.

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How To Find The Boat’s Hin Number

You can get the HIN on a metal or plastic plate, in most cases on the transform of the yacht. In most cases, it will be on the right starboard side of the transform. However, not all boats have a transform and if that is the case with the vessel you want to buy, you can get the HIN within a foot of the stern on the hull side.

For the boats with replaceable hulls, the HIN can be fixed to the aft crossbeam. Before buying a boat, ensure that you have checked the HIN. It is possible to miss the HIN if you do not see it, then you should inquire from the seller. Just like VIN in cars, you cannot chan the HIN without authorization.

Abcs Of The California Boating Law And Carbon Monoxide Warning Stickers

Hull Identification Number – BOAT HIN Formats Explained!

Pursuant to the Federal Boating Act, and in order to ensure that each original California registrant and transferee is apprised of current vessel safety and registration information, each applicant issued a Permanent Vessel Number and Certificate of Number shall also be issued a copy of the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways publication, ABCs of California Boating, one set of vessel carbon monoxide warning stickers and the companion brochure, Safe Boating Facts About the Silent Killer CO Carbon Monoxide. These pamphlets may be obtained from the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways or by visiting their website at

Explain to the customer that the stickers must be affixed to motorized vessels as follows:

  • The TRANSOM sticker must be affixed facing out on the exterior of the stern or transom of the motorized vessel, unless it is inflatable and the sticker would not adhere to the surface of the stern.
  • The HELM sticker must be affixed to the interior of the motorized vessel where it is immediately visible to the operator of the motorized vessel.

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How To Read Boat Hull Identification Numbers

Since November 1, 1972, all boats must have a 12-character hull identification number . These numbers are required by federal law and help the manufacturer identify the owners of their boats in case of recall or a defect notification. A change was made August 1, 1984, mostly regarding placement of the number. Due to the danger of vandalism or other damage, one number is now required to be hidden from view. Reading the HIN on your boat is a straightforward process, once the code is understood.

Step 1

Examine the first three characters. These consist of the manufacturer’s identification code, which is issued by the Coast Guard to each boat maker. You can search their database of boat manufacturers .

Step 2

Look at the next five numbers. These comprise the hull serial number, which is issued by the manufacturer.

Examine the last four characters. These indicate the date the boat was built. This includes the month and year, with the month assigned an alphabetical code, such as “C” for March.



  • Homemade boats also need an HIN. Your state boating agency will issue one, with the first three characters being the state abbreviation, followed by “Z.”

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How To Find The Boats Hin Number

Every water automobile has its HIN located in a visible place where it is easy to find.

In most cases, it is at the outside starboard side of the transom or on the uppermost starboard side at the aft end of the hull. Some vessels have the number also in the boat’s interior or under a piece of hardware.

Also Check: How To Register Your Boat With The Coast Guard

How To Permanently Affix State Assigned Hull Identification Number To My Boat

State and Federal regulations require you to permanently affix this number in two places. The primary hull identification number in watercraft with transoms shall be affixed to the starboard outboard side within 2 inches of the top of transom, gunwale, or hull deck joint, whichever is lowest. On vessels without transoms or impractical to use transom, to the starboard outboard side of hull, aft, within one foot of the stern and within 2 inches of the top of the hull side, gunwale or hull deck joint, whichever is lowest. On catamarans and pontoon boats with replaceable hulls, affix the hull identification number to the aft crossbeam, within 1 foot of the starboard hull attachment. Do not alter existing Hull ID numbers; newly assigned numbers by the Department should be attached above existing Hull ID number.

The duplicate hull identification number shall be affixed in an unexposed location on the interior of the vessel or beneath a fitting or item of hardware.

  • Each hull identification number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, molded, bonded, or otherwise permanently affixed to the watercraft so that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious.
  • Use of a plate must be fastened so that removal would cause scarring or damage to surrounding hull area.
  • Hull identification number characters must be no less than 1/4 inch in height and not attached to any removable part.

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