The hull identification number (HIN) is the boat's serial number. It is a series of letters and numbersassigned to a boat — typically by the manufacturer — that tells the make and model of boat as well as date of manufacture.
- The HIN is one of the required pieces of information you need to register a boat the first time.
- The HIN is a way that ownership of a boat can be tracked regardless of which state it is used in.
- The HIN for a boat is permanent.
- If a boat is titled, the HIN is recorded on the title.
Finding the HIN
The HIN should be 12 characters (numbers and letters), a minimum of 1/4 inch high, permanently attached to the upper right of the boat's transom or on the starboard (right) side within two feet of the stern (for boats without a transom). Frequently the HIN is stamped into a small metal plate that is riveted to the boat.
Pontoon boats will have a visible HIN on the aft crossbeam within one foot of the starboard hull attachment. Boats with plastic or molded hulls — like kayaks — may have the HIN etched into the hull at the stern (back end of the boat).
Homemade Boats/Older Boats
Owners of boats built prior to Nov. 1, 1972 that do not already have a HIN, and builders of homemade boats, canoes, or kayaks, must contact a Watercraft office. An appointment with a Watercraft Officer may be necessary to inspect the boat before a HIN may be assigned.
HIN on the Boat and HIN on the Title Should Match
Before you buy a boat, you should match the HIN listed on the title to the one attached to the boat. Before purchasing the boat, look for the HIN on the boat to check that it has not been altered in any way.