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December 5, 2023

HIN: Your Boat’s Social Security Number

If you’re a boat owner (or just an avid boater), you’ve probably seen some sort of a character code on the hull of your vessel. That would be your hull identification number or HIN for short. Now, you might be wondering, “What exactly is a HIN? What’s its purpose?” Well, you’re about to find the answers here!

Let’s start with an easy analogy. Every car has a unique VIN, right? You see, boats have their unique identifier, too, and that’s the HIN. Think of it as the Social Security number for your beloved sea vessel. Just like a VIN, it helps identify the boat’s origin, features, and, most importantly, its legal status.


Breaking Down the HIN

A typical HIN is a 12- or 15-character code that’s stamped or molded into the boat’s hull. Learn what these characters mean below:

  • The first 3 characters represent the manufacturer identification code (MIC), just like how the first few characters of a VIN identify the car’s maker.
  • The next 5 digits are the hull or serial number, which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, much like your unique identifying number in the Social Security system.
  • Characters eight 8 to 12, often called the certification or model year code, provide information about when and where the boat was built.

A 12-character HIN usually consists of the month and year of production and the model year of the vessel. However, in the case of a 15-character HIN, an extra three characters provide additional manufacturing information.


Why Does the HIN Matter?

Beyond just being a unique identifier, the HIN has important uses.

For starters, it’s a crucial tool for law enforcement. A HIN can be used to track stolen boats or identify vessels involved in accidents or illegal activities. It can also aid in recall situations, helping manufacturers and agencies identify boats with potential safety issues.

For the everyday boater, the HIN is most commonly used when buying or selling a boat. It allows prospective buyers to check the boat’s history, verifying its make, model, and year of production. It can also provide a history of accidents or major repairs.

Essentially, the HIN can offer a window into a boat’s past life, giving you confidence (or caution!) in your transaction.


Where Can You Find the HIN?

The HIN is typically found on the boat’s stern (the rear end), on the right side, about two inches below the gunwale. It’s often engraved or embossed into the hull material, so it might take a little bit of hunting.

Don’t worry if you’re having a tough time locating it. Depending on the boat’s age, design, or manufacturer’s preferences, the HIN could be in a different spot. When in doubt, consult the boat’s manual or reach out to the manufacturer.


Tired of Maintaining a Timeworn Boat?

Has your old boat turned into a money pit with its soaring maintenance and storage costs? Consider handing it over to us at Veteran Car Donations before it bleeds you dry. Not only will you be disposing of it in the easiest possible way, but you’ll also make a difference in the lives of our former service members, particularly those who are struggling to transition to civilian life.

We’ll place your vessel up for auction and use the proceeds to support the veteran-focused programs of our charity partners. Like us, these IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations are fully committed to helping veterans who are homeless, impoverished, and unemployed, as well as those suffering from disabilities and serious illnesses, including mental disorders.

The money that we get from the sale of your boat will enable our partners to provide their beneficiaries with free medical treatments and health care, psychotherapy services, family support, housing assistance, financial aid, educational scholarships, employment opportunities, and many other benefits.

As a donor, you’ll have the privilege of claiming a hefty tax write-off in the next tax season. You will receive the 100% tax-deductible sales receipt of your boat in your mail following its auction sale. Plus, you don’t have to pay for towing as we offer our service for free to our donors in all parts of the U.S.

Best of all, you’ll get to experience the priceless satisfaction of helping our nation’s heroes live the decent and satisfying life they deserve.

Since we take almost all vehicle types, feel free to donate not just your old boat, but also any unwanted car, truck, van, RV, motorcycle, or any specialty vehicle you have. It doesn’t even need to be in proper running condition!

If you’re interested to learn more about our donation program, you may head over to our FAQs page. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to write them here or call us at 877-594-5822.


Bring Hope to Our Struggling Heroes Today!

Ready to give back to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect ours? Go ahead and let us know that you’re making a boat or vehicle donation! Call Veterans Car Donations at 877-594-5822 or fill out our secure online donation form now!


Veteran Car Donations operates in all 50 states.

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Or call (877) 594-5822!