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I received an invalid HIN message. What do I do?

Last Updated: Feb 01, 2016 10:22AM EST

If you are receiving an invalid HIN message please read through the following guidelines:

  1. Please check to make sure that the HIN (hull identification number) consists of 12 digits. (The HIN should not be longer or shorter than 12 digits unless the vessel is older than 1972).
  2. See our "What's a HIN" popup on our homepage page to ensure that you are getting the HIN from the proper location of the vessel.
  3. Check with the owner of the boat or look at the boat yourself and make sure that you have the correct HIN.
  4. Read the HIN to ensure it follows the correct format. The Federal Boat Safety Act, passed in 1972, instructed the US Coast Guard to come up with a standardized HIN format for all boats. According to this format, the first 3 characters are what is called the MIC, or Manufacturers Index Code. The next 5 numbers are assigned according to the manufacturer, without any set format to be followed with the exclusion of the letters O, Q, and I. For vessels manufactured between 1972 and 1984, the last 4 characters dictate the model year and month of the boat in either MXXX format where characters 10 and 11 signify the model year and the 12th character is a letter A-L which signifies the month, or MMYY format in which MM equals the two digit month, and YY equals the two digit year. For boats manufactured after August of 1984, the 9th character refers to the month (which should be in letter format, A-L) followed by the last number of the year (as the 10th character) that the boat was certified. The characters 11 and 12 refer to the model year of the boat.
There are however a few variations to the HIN format based on the exact year of the boat. For more information on why your HIN may be be invalid, please email our Customer Service by clicking here: Help Center

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