What Information Can You Get From a Boat Serial Number?


Quick Answer

A boat’s serial number contains the size of the boat, its model year, age and hull shape, states Vespoli. Hull identification numbers, or HIN, are comprised of 12 alpha-numeric characters that help to identify and distinguish a boat from others.

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Full Answer

BoatSafe.com states the serial number helps identify a boat and decode its hull shape. The serial number contains a manufacture identification code assigned by the Coast Guard to the boat’s manufacturer, which lets owners know the boats involved in defect notifications or recalls. The serial number, affixed on an unexposed part of the boat, helps authorities identify a boat in case of vandalism, theft and warranty issues. Users also identify construction standards applicable to a boat, notes Transport Canada.

The date of certification, which is available on the serial number, denotes the boat’s age based on its year of manufacture. By ascertaining the model year of the boat, owners order the right parts that match their boats in case they need repairs. An optional two-character prefix, separated from the HIN by a dash, denotes the boat’s country of manufacture. Those who build for own use get a serial number from the state boating agency, which indicates the state’s abbreviation and identification, notes BoatSafe.com.

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