La version de votre navigateur est obsolète. Nous vous recommandons vivement d'actualiser votre navigateur vers la dernière version.

Hull Identification Number

Posted 2/28/2018

One of the most important things to look out for in a purchase of a vessel is the Hull Identification Number, also known as H.I.N., we consider this important feature of a vessel like the finger prints of a hand, it is the only element that will help you to identify the boat, and all manufacturers issue them once the vessel is complete.

The Hull Identification Number has 4 specific reasons for being issued by the manufacturer;

  • It is a method for identifying a specific vessel
  • It identifies the construction standards that are applied to that specific vessel
  • If the vessel is subject to a manufacturer’s defect recall
  • It will help with the identification of the vessel in case it is lost or stolen


The Hull Identification Number always consists of a unique set of 12 characters and only once in a while by 14 characters when the country of origin is included. This number should always be included in the registration, insurance or any document that is used for the buying or selling of the vessel.

When the country where the vessel was built is included the first 2 letters of that country will be the first in the 14 characters of the Hull Identification Number.

Example:  FR for France, US for United States or IT for Italy, CA for Canada.

Each builder will have a Builder’s Code (3 characters) and a Builder’s Serial Number (5 characters), which are also included in the Hull Identification Number and lastly the month and the year that it was built along with the model year. This completes the 12 or 14-character H.I.N.

The builder of the vessel will almost always place the H.I.N. in the vessel at 2 separate locations, one where it is clearly visible and the second one in the interior of the vessel and unexposed, usually in the aft of the vessel.

An example of a H.I.N. is as shown by the table below:



Country code (optional)/Builders I.D Code/Builders Serial Number/month & year built/model year

FR                                   123                               AB1AB                          C1                                12      



In a H.I.N. there is usually a letter preceding the three last digits and this letter is to indicate the month that the built was complete.

In the example above  letter C stands for the month of March and the digit following this letter is the year that it was completed being 2011, the last 2 digits indicate the model year.

In the case of the example above, this vessel was completed in March of 2011 and the model year is a 2012.       

Having considered these important reasons to a Hull Identification Number, if we are about to purchase a vessel with this important identification missing we then do well to ask ourselves why it is missing before we conclude our purchase.

Please contact one of our Legal Marine consultants and we will be there to assist you in identifying your vessel.      


From the Legal Marine team