HIN's Explained and Decoded

What is a Hull Identification Number? A Hull Identification Number, or "HIN" is a series of characters that is unique to each vessel. The HIN allows a boat's history to be traced - regardless of who owns it.

HINs have changed over the years and have gone through distinct phases.

Prior to 1970, HINs acted only as identification for the type of vessel, not the individual vessel itself. The first characters of the HIN often identified the Make and Model. The remainder of the numbers identified the model year. Some manufacturers also identified the assembly plant and the engine's number of cylinders.

Around 1971 the numbers and models of boats being produced began to explode. American manufacturers began stamping and casting identifying numbers on vessels and their parts. The information contained in the HIN varied from manufacturer to manufacturer.

After 1971 the size of the HIN and the information it contained began to increase. The type of information typically included:

  • year
  • make
  • model
  • body style
  • engine
  • assembly plant where vessel was manufactured

Since 1972 the HIN is a twelve-character code that has become a standard throughout the world. All manufacturers use the same coding system. Today's HIN numbers are designed to identify motorized vessels.

This means that whatever model you are looking for, from WellsCraft to Stingray, if it was made in 1972 or later it will have a standard HIN number and you'll be able to find out the boat’s history.

Run the HIN numbers of the used boats you're thinking about buying through a boat HIN check at Boat History Reports to find out their histories.

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