Understanding Your Report

HINVALID Report Explanation

Report Sections

1. Report Header

This stripe contains the Date your report was generated, its Status, and the Report Number. Please reference the Report Number if you need to contact us with a question about your report.

2. Vessel Description

This box contains the information you submitted when you purchased your report. The values displayed for HIN, Make, Model, Year, and Length are what you supplied to HINVALID during checkout; we did not retrieve these values from an external data source.

3. Verification Results

This area provides a high-level summary of the results of our automated tests: COMPLIANCE Check and HINTEGRITY Check.

4. Manufacturer Information

For more potentially helpful information about the vessel, click the MIC Profile and Recalls Information links. These links will bring you to the appropriate pages at the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Resource Center.

5. Test Details

This box provides a detailed breakdown of what each of our automated processes tests for and the Result of each test.

6. Recommendations

Here you'll find a few general statements summarizing our automated test results. These recommendations are not specific to your particular HIN. Adjacent to the Recommendations box is a link to this Understanding Your Report page which will hopefully help you self-diagnose and troubleshoot issues we uncovered with your HIN.

7. Analyst Review

For customers who opt for our IHV Plus service, this is where you'll find our analyst's comments, suggestions, and/or recommendations. If you initially purchased the basic IHV service, you can upgrade to IHV Plus within 30 days of purchasing your report. To upgrade, simply click the green UPGRADE NOW button and your report will be re-submitted for a personalized review.

HIN Troubleshooting Tips

  • Remember: A valid US spec HIN has 12 characters or "digits." Your vessel may have a HIN which starts with the country of origin code followed by a hyphen (e.g. "US-"). An ISO or Euro spec HIN will typically have that country code prefix (e.g. "US-SERV1234C505"). For a HINVALID report, enter only the last 12 digits of the HIN. Do not enter the country code or hyphen if your HIN contains those elements.
  • Look at digits 4-8 in the HIN ("V1234" in the sample graphic below). That is the serial number portion of the HIN. The letters I, O, and Q are not permitted in the serial number portion of the HIN. If you find an I ("eye"), it most likely should be a 1 ("one"). If you find an O ("oh"), it most likely should be a 0 ("zero").
  • Look at the last four digits in the HIN ("C505" in our example). This is the HIN's dating code. If the vessel is a 1985* or newer boat, you should see a pattern as follows: one letter (A-L) followed by three numbers. For older boats, if digit 9 is an "M," then digits 10 and 11 should be numbers indicating the year of the boat; the last digit should be a letter (A-L). An example of this older dating code is "M78B."
  • *Boat builders had two choices of HIN formats prior to 1985. Beginning in 1985 and used by all manufacturers since 1986, only the current or "universal" HIN format is allowed. 1985 boats may be found to have any of the three HIN formats: Straight Year, Model Year, or Current/Universal.
  • If your 1973-1985 boat does not have an "M" in digit 9, then digits 9 thru 12 should all be numbers and indicate a month and year. For example, "SERA12340977" should indicate a vessel produced in the ninth month of 1977.
  • A valid HIN is one which is technically correct or complies with all federal regulations.
  • Do not assume that a valid HIN necessarily means that it is the correct and original number for the vessel it is currently on. Just as fraudulent car VINs are altered or switched, boat HINs are subject to the same criminal activities.

Anatomy of a HIN

To paraphrase the formal regulations, some of the current requirements for a valid HIN are as follows:

  • It must contain 12 uninterrupted digits comprised of English alphabet letters and Arabic numerals.
  • The letters I,O, and Q are prohibited from use within the manufacturer's serial number portion of the HIN (digits 4-8).
  • The first three digits must represent a valid Manufacturers' Identification Code (MIC) issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
  • The last four digits must comprise a proper dating code sequence containing the month and year of production as well as the model year of the boat.
  • A two-letter country code may be installed to the left of the HIN and separated by a hyphen. This code (example: "US-") is not technically part of the HIN here in the United States.