Boating 101: The HIN Number

When you own a boat, it’s important to be familiar with the details that identify your boat. Much like a car, truck or SUV has a vehicle identification number, or VIN, your boat will have a hull identification number or HIN number. Understanding what it is, where to find it, and how to use it is part of being a responsible boat owner. Keep reading for everything you need to know. 

Where is the HIN Located?

Look at the top portion of your Certificate of Documentation, which is issued by the United States Coast Guard. This is a good place to find the hull identification number associated with your vessel. It might also be referred to as the official number. Your boat itself must also display the HIN. The precise location depends on the type of boat you have, but in general, it is placed on the stern of the boat where it is easily visible to other boaters, as well as Coast Guard authorities. 

Most other paperwork associated with your vessel will also have the hull identification number on it somewhere. You will need this number if you plan to sell the boat, but also to renew your registration and documentation. It’s a good idea to keep copies of paperwork with your HIN number on your boat, but also in another safe location so you can find it anytime you need it. 

HIN Number

How to Display My HIN Number

Displaying the hull identification number on your boat is important and there are some regulations that go along with it. Being sure you adhere to these guidelines can save you from incurring fees or other penalties. As mentioned above, the type of boat you own plays a role in exactly where the hull identification number is placed. 

The important thing to remember is that it must be in the correct location and visible to others. For example, a transom boat displays the HIN on the starboard side, while others might place their HIN number on the stern of the starboard side of the vessel. On the exterior of the boat, characters must be at least 4 inches tall so they are easy to see. 

It’s also required to place a second display of the HIN somewhere in the interior of the boat. Be sure it’s in an unexposed location, such as beneath hardware or on a fitting inside the vessel. The HIN must be permanent so it’s obvious if it has been tampered with. Inside the boat, characters must be at least ¼-inch tall and cannot be located on any removable part of the boat. 

Proper display of the hull identification number, both inside and outside your watercraft is vital and you may face fines or penalties if it’s not done correctly. 

Do you need more assistance learning about the HIN number and why it’s so vital? We’re here with the necessary form and can guide you to the location of the hull identification number for your vessel. When it’s time to submit forms, we’re here for that too. Contact the Vessel Registrar Center today to get started.