Your Boat's Social Security Number

Posted by John K. Fulweiler | Oct 02, 2012 | 0 Comments

Let's face it, we've all been assigned a serial number in the form of a social security number. It seems everywhere you go these days, someone's asking for your "social." Boats have "socials" too.

A vessel manufacturer must identify each boat produced or imported with a hull identification number. The HIN, as it's called, must consist of twelve characters. The first three characters identify the manufacturer, characters four through eight are the manufacturer's serial number, characters nine and ten typically indicate the date of certification or manufacture, and characters eleven and twelve indicate the model year (i.e., "82" for 1982). Characters nine and ten can be decoded by understanding that character nine will be an English letter of the alphabet with January being "A", February being "B", etc. Character ten must be the last digit of the year of manufacture or certification.

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About the Author

John K. Fulweiler

Proctor-In-Admiralty / Licensed U.S. Coast Guard Master Formerly a partner in a New York maritime law firm, John K. Fulweiler graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Marine Affairs degree and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. In addition to being recognized by...


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