Uh oh- having trouble with your HIN? No worries- we are here to walk you through it!
The most common issue with HIN's for boats 1984 and newer is the 9th character. As mentioned below, the 9th character must be a letter, A-L. Many times we see the numbers 0, 1, and 8 which can be confused for the letters C or D, I (i), or B. We strongly suggest you contact the seller to have them verify the HIN using the above rules. If you run a report that is one character off, it will show results for an entirely different boat!
Another common issue occurs when the country code is included in the HIN. In this case, your HIN is most likely 14 characters long and starts with something like US, CA, or NZ followed by a dash. For example, US-SER12345A000. Sometimes the dash is not included, and sometimes the country code is something other than those 3. In order to run the correct HIN, you will need to run your HIN without the country code included. So on our HIN example above, simply enter the HIN SER12345A000. If this does not solve your problem, read on!
The Federal Boat Safety Act, passed in 1972, instructed the US Coast Guard to come up with a standardized HIN format for all boats. The basic components of this format include a 12 character HIN that consists of the manufacturers index code, or MIC, a serial number, and boat model and certification information.
Is your boat a 1984 or newer?
- Yes? Awesome! This is the current format. Your HIN should start with the MIC as the first 3 characters. The next 5 characters can be any combination of letters and/or numbers, and do not necessarily denote anything specific about the boat. However, the serial number portion cannot contain the letters O, Q and I because of their similarity to numbers. The last 4 characters signify the certification date and model year. The 9th character will be a capitol letter, A-L where A represents January and L represents December. The next 3 characters represent the certification year and model year. It should noted that the format changed mid year in 1984, so if your boat is a 1984, you may want to read below as well, just incase.
- No? That's easy- keep reading.
Is your boat a 1972-1984?
- Yes? Great! Your HIN should start with the MIC as the first 3 characters. The next 5 characters can be any combination of letters and/or numbers, and do not necessarily denote anything specific about the boat. However, the serial number portion cannot contain the letters O, Q and I because of their similarity to numbers. The last 4 characters can either be set up in MXXC where the 9th character is always the letter M, the 10th and 11th characters are the model year of the vessel, and the 12th character is a letter A-L, that corresponds to the month of certification with A representing January and L representing December. The other format your HIN may be in is similar to the first format except for the last 4 characters which may be in MMYY format where the 9th and 10th character signify the 2 digit month of certification and the 11th and 12th characters signify the model year of the vessel.
- No? Ahhh, a Classic Boat Enthusiast!
Is your boat PRE- 1972?
- Yes? Unfortunately, we are not able to help you run a history on this boat. You can request a refund if you do not plan on using your account for any other boats by emailing us here: Contact Us
- No? What are you actually buying?!?
We hope this has helped you trouble shoot your HIN. We are happy to help you further if you still have questions. Simply send us an email with the HIN you are trying to use, as well as a link to the listing of the boat. Be sure to include the manufacturer and year of the vessel, as well as any other identifying information you may have to help us determine the issue properly.