Traditionally documnetation numbers would be permanently graven into a main timber of a boat, or burned in welding bead into steel plate, and so on.
What you want to do is make it obvious that a set of permanent numbers has been made a part of the hull, in a way that they cannot be easily removed or covered.
As Herb mentions, epoxy over black vinyl letters is common on plastic boats these days. That apparently satisfies the USCG criteria, although some of us would say that could "easily" be removed and replaced by anyone with a grinder.
I think it is up to the USCG officer that sees it... The local USCG I spoke to said it would NOT be sufficient, since it could be easily removed by fairing the area and painting it. My USCG documentation number is a 16 gauge copper plate with the number etched into the surface, actually it is a hot-foil stamping die, and it has been bolted and epoxied to the interior of the boat. Removing it would probably require destroying the part of the boat that it is attached to.
As a backup, many folks would add the numbers in marker or crayon in some obscure location, i.e. on the bottom of the fuel tank or inside the transom above the rudder tube, so that a casual glance would never find them but they were readily found by someone who had been told where to look.
"Arabic numerals " That really bothers me. I don't read or speak Arabic, and whenever someone asks that I do, I remind them that I'm entitled to a translator. I do English, Binary, Hexadecimal and Roman numerals. I don't do Arabic unless I'm in Arabia. (VBG)
I do have a second USCG documentation number elsewhere in the boat.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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