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Old 07-09-2002
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Kathy Barron is on a distinguished road
Reading Hull Numbers

What are hull numbers, and how should they be read?

Kathy Barron responds:
Thanks for your question. The numbers assigned to a specific boat serve to identify it by name of manufacturer and by date and serial number. To better understand hull numbers, take the example of SNA 255 64 M82I, which might appear on the upper right hand portion of a boat's transom. The first three letters represent the manufacturer's name; SNA in this case is Snark. The next five digits are the hull's serial number. The following characters represent the date of certification. In this case the boat was built in 1982 (M82) and "I" represents the month of construction, April. So you have a Snark that was built in April of 1982, with a serial number of 25564.

For vessels built or imported after November 1, 1972, and prior to August 1, 1984, the month of manufacture is a letter code that starts with August being "A," September being "B," etc. Another identifier for the month and year of manufacture may show up as four digits. The first two digits would represent the month and the last two would be the year. For instance, your boat could also have been marked "SNA 25564 0482."

For vessels built or imported after August 1, 1984, the code changes to January being "A," February being "B," etc. The last four characters represent the month and year of manufacture or certification.

The hull number, prior to August 1, 1984, is located on the starboard, upper part of the transom just below the top. If the vessel has no transom, the HIN should be located on the starboard side rear near the top within one foot of the stern. After August 1, 1984, the hull number should also be located inside the boat, unexposed.

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