How to Find Out the History of Your Boat With an HIN Number

Getting a history report is a wise move before purchasing a used boat.
••• motor boat. power boat image by L. Shat from

All boats manufactured in the United States or imported to the United States on or after Nov. 1, 1972, were assigned a hull identification number, or HIN. The HIN is a serial number consisting of 12 characters and is found on the transom of your boat. The first three numbers are the manufacturer's identification code, the next five numbers are the hull's serial number, and the last four numbers are the date the number was assigned. This number is used for the purposes of identifying defects, coordinating recalls and tracing the history of a boat.

Tracing a Boat's History using the HIN

Step 1

Navigate to a website that provides boat history reports. The website All About Houseboats endorses the website Boat History Report as a reputable site on which to trace your boat history.

Step 2

Enter your boat's hull identification number into the box on Boat History Report's homepage. The website then will notify you if your boat's hull identification number is found in the system.

Step 3

Enter your credit card information when prompted. Full boat history reports are not provided for free anywhere online, so you must be prepared to pay a fee for your boat history report.

Step 4

Receive your report instantly once your credit card order is processed.


  • If you utilize a website to find your boat's history, verify that it is a reputable website before purchasing a history report.


  • It is recommended to check the history before you purchase a used boat, as you would with a used car. A boat history report tells you if the boat has been damaged in a hurricane, if it has run aground or been in an accident, if it was salvaged or submerged, if it was seized, or in a fire or in a collision.

Related Articles