Hull Identification Numbers, all you need to Know

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Hull Identification Number

The Hull Identification Number (HIN) consists of 12 consecutive characters (capital letters of the alphabet and/or Arabic numerals) with no spaces, slashes, oblique stroke or hyphens between them. These characters are:
* A three digit Manufacturers Identification Code (MIC) followed by
* A five character manufacturers hull serial number and
* Four figures giving the date of manufacturer

Manufacturers Identification Code

The Manufacturers Identification Code (MIC) consists of three characters (block capitals or numbers) forming the first three characters of the HIN, as issued by Coast guard. It identifies the plant of manufacturer and is unique to whom it is issued.

Hull Serial Number

Characters four through eight of the HIN are the individual hull serial number which is defined by the manufacturer. No two boats are assigned the same hull serial number. The hull serial number consists of capital letters of the alphabet or Arabic numerals or both, exceptions being the letters I, O and Q, they are not used.

Characters nine through twelve of the HIN are a letter and numbers indicating the month and year of manufacture and the model year for which the boat is built. The date code of the HIN has been handled three different ways over the years (to be explained further on)

Country Code

The country Code is an optional addition to the HIN. Manufacturers of boats have the option of adding the prefix, e.g. "US-" (block capitol letters and hyphen) in front of the HIN. This is a mandatory requirement for manufacturers exporting to some countries (for example: the European Community). This is not part of the accepted mutual recognition of Hull Identification Numbers between Canada and the US.

Marking of the Hull

The HIN is permanently affixed into the hull, hull member, or on a plate so that removal of the HIN or plate would normally cause some scarring or damage to the surrounding hull area. No character of the HIN is to be less than 6 mm (1/4 inch) in height and width.

Where  is the HIN located?
The transom above the load water line (preferably on the upper starboard quadrant).
* The starboard side at the aft end of the hull that bears the rudder or steering mechanism, if the boat has no transom.
* The outer most starboard side of the after end of the hull, if the boat has more than one hull, and no transom.

Some manufacturers have added additional characters after the HIN separated from the HIN by a hyphen.
Three different HIN numbering systems have been used by the Coast Guard and boat manufacturers.

Numbering System 1

Most builders started using this format in Jan 1985 and is still in use.

ZZZ                                           45678                                 A                     5                  85
Manufacturers ID Code      Hull Serial Number      Month built    Year Built    Model Year

Character Nine - is a letter of the alphabet indicating the month during which construction or assembly began
Character Ten - is the last numeral of the year during which construction or assembly began
Character Eleven - are the last two numerals which represent the model year for which the boat was built.

The example above shows that Hull Number 45678 built by manufacturer identified as ZZZ was built in  JAN 1985

Jan -A        Feb -B     March -C    April - D     May -E     June -F    July -G    Aug -H    Sept -I
Oct -J        Nov -K       Dec -L

Numbering System 2

Most builders used this format from the mid 1970's until Dec 1984. However, some builders still used the previous system.

ZAA                                                      45678                                          M76E
Manufacturers ID Code                Hull Serial Number                    Month and Year

Character Nine - of the HIN is the letter "M" a spacer letter before the year
Character Ten and Eleven - are the last two numerals of the model year, which commences in Aug of the preceding calendar year.
Character Twelve - is a letter of the alphabet which indicates the month during which construction or assembly began

Using the "Model Year" option, the date of manufacture code for Dec 1975 would be displayed as M76E

Aug -A    Sept - B    Oct -C    Nov -D    Dec -E    Jan -F    Feb -G    March -H    April -I    May -J
June -K    July -L

Numbering System Number 3

Most builders use this format from the 1960's though until the mid 1970's. Some builders converted to the newer system earlier.

ZAA                                                   45678                                          1275
Manufacturers ID Code         Hull Serial Number                 Month and Year of Manufacture

Characters Nine and Ten - indicate the month of the calendar year (Jan to Dec numbered 01 to 12)
Characters Eleven and Twelve - are the last two numerals of the calendar year.
The date of manufacture is the month and year during which the construction or assembly began. Using the "Model Year" option, the date of manufacture code for Dec 1975 would be displayed as 1275.

If a HIN area is damaged a replacement code can be imprinted in the hull, the manufacturer will send a replacement HIN mold, but it must be returned (I have received them by armored car). The HIN should be inspected on any boat you have or may purchase, it must be accessible for law enforcement to inspect if you cover the HIN you must provide access to the original area. The HIN is placed in several locations on the hull and deck if you see that the number does not look factory finish you can contact the builder for more information on were to locate another HIN area so you can confirm that the boat is not stolen or being fraudulently represented. The HIN is a number you should have on hand at all times as it can be used to gather the original build information for the boat. All information that the manufacturer has on file for the boat is kept using the HIN.
No HIN, No Sale!

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