HIN Check Help:

General Information

What is a HIN?

boat diagram

H=Hull, I=Identification, N=Number
A HIN is the nautical equivalent of the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on your car. It is 12 digits in length but may be preceded by two letters and a hyphen, which represents the country of origin code (e.g. "US-"). These two letters and the hyphen are not technically part of the HIN in the U.S., but they are part of European Union country HINs.

Where is the HIN located on a boat?

Generally speaking, looking at the boat from astern (from the back), the HIN should be in the upper right corner of the transom. It should be within the 2 inches below the rub rail and usually within 12 inches of the side of the boat. Locations can vary somewhat but it should always be on the starboard (right) side of the transom.

Does every boat have a HIN?

As per the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), all 1973 and newer model boats have HINs. If your boat is older, it probably does not have a HIN.

What does a HIN look like?

Most often the HIN will appear in one of two ways. It may be molded into the hull using reverse lettered tape, so you will look for a narrow rectangular indentation with letters and numbers in it. It will usually be the same color as the hull, roughly one half inch high, and 3 inches long. The second common HIN application is a metal plate usually held on by two rivets. Regular screws are not allowed. On the plate is stamped or engraved the HIN. A HIN could also appear to have been carved or engraved on the hull.

Why should your HIN be checked?

Although most automobile VINs are accurate, many boat HINs contain errors. Recently, the USCG and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) have acted to reduce this error rate and update owner information on all registered pleasure boats. By 2017, all states must include a HIN verification step for every boat registration issued or renewed. It may be worthwhile to know in advance whether your HIN will pass verification testing.

HINVALID sample report

What does a HINVALID report look like?

View a sample Instant HIN Verification report on our HIN troubleshooting and self-service tips page.

Why is HINVALID the best HIN check website?

While you're apt to find a few basic HIN validation services elsewhere online, none of them can provide the accuracy and reliability offered by HINVALID. In addition to checking for general regulatory compliance, only HINVALID analyzes the serial number portion of the HIN (digits 4-8) - the place where most fraudulent alterations are made.

I have my HIN ready. Where do I begin?

If your HIN is in hand and you're ready to have it checked, click here to get started!