Not long ago, my husband and I were at a restaurant in Massachusetts. At a nearby table, a man and woman were discussing a large yacht they had seen moored in Boston Harbor, which intrigued them. They made a plan to go back the following day and look at the boat's HIN number so they could get more information.

Since we're not boaters, we're curious what they meant. What is the HIN number, and what does it tell about a boat?

1 Answer 1


It's a unique serial number for the boat.

The HIN is a 12 character serial number that uniquely identifies your boat.


The acronym stands for Hull Identification Number. It is possible to either do an online lookup for that number or one can gather the manufacture, and date of certification from the number itself.


It is kind of similar to a motor vehicle's V.I.N. number, but is more similar to an airplane's N-Number as they are mounted on the outside of the vessel.

The primary HIN must be permanently affixed (so that it can be seen from outside the boat) to the starboard side of the transom within two inches of the top of the transom, gunwale, or hull/deck joint, whichever is lowest.


  • 3
    Note this is specific to the USA.
    – vclaw
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 19:50

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