Hull Identification Numbers
- Are unique, 12-digit numbers assigned by the manufacturer to vessels built after 1972.
- Distinguish one vessel from another.
- Are engraved in the fiberglass or on a metal plate permanently attached on or near the upper starboard (right) side of the transom.
- You should write down your HIN and put it in a place separate from your vessel in case warranty problems arise or your vessel is stolen.
- Home built vessels may apply for an Identification number (HIN) with the Kentucky Department of Vehicle Regulation.
The Primary HIN Should Be Affixed To:
- Transom - On boats with transoms (flat backs), to the starboard outboard side within two inches of the top of the transom, gunwale, or hull/deck joint, whichever is lowest.
- Without Transoms - On boats without transoms or boats on which it would be impractical to use the transom, to the starboard outboard side, aft, within one foot of the stern and within two inches of the top of the hull side, gunwale or hull/deck joint, whichever is lowest.
- Catamaran - On catamarans and pontoon boats that have readily replaceable hulls, to the aft crossbeam within one foot of the starboard hull attachment.
- Other Locations - If rails or other accessories would obscure a HIN, it should be affixed as near as possible to the starboard outboard side within two inches of the top of the transom, gunwale or hull/deck joint, whichever is lowest.
The Secondary HIN Should Be Affixed To:
An unexposed location on the interior of the boat or beneath a fitting or item of hardware. If the primary HIN is missing, the owner should call the manufacturer to try to find the secondary HIN. The Coast Guard wants the original HIN used if possible.
Proper HIN Placement:
Each hull identification number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, molded, bonded or otherwise permanently affixed to the boat so that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious. If the number is on a separate plate, the plate must be fastened in such a manner that its removal would normally cause some scarring of or damage to the surrounding hull area. A hull identification number must not be attached to parts of the boat that are removable.
HIN Validation Tool
Once you've located the HIN your boat, you can verify that it is indeed a valid HIN using the tool below.