Every boat has a 12-digit hull identification number (HIN) used to verify ownership and make it easier to comply with relevant regulations. The 12 digits in a HIN provide important information about a boat, including the manufacturer’s name, the boat’s serial number, the date of certification and the model year.

HIN tags are mandated by U.S. Coast Guard regulations, so every boat manufacturer needs to be aware of the requirements and partner with a tag producer that can meet their exact specifications. Metal Marker Manufacturing has 100 years of experience with custom identification products, giving us the expertise needed to produce high-quality HIN tags in any quantity.

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Why Are HIN Tags Necessary?

According to Coast Guard regulations, every recreational boat must have two identical tags with the boat’s hull identification number on them. Much like the VIN on an automobile, a hull identification number is a unique identifier that makes it possible to distinguish one watercraft from another. There are several important uses for the hull identification number on a boat.

Boat Registration

State agencies use a boat’s hull identification number as part of the watercraft registration process. Because the HIN plate is stamped with a unique ID, it can be used to track individual boats and make sure their owners comply with all registration requirements. When someone registers a boat, they must include their hull identification number on the application.

Recall Campaigns

If a boat manufacturer has to issue a recall, a HIN plate can be used to determine if a specific boat is affected by the campaign. This promotes safety by ensuring affected boat owners receive the recall notice and have an opportunity to have the issue repaired.

Tracking Stolen Watercraft

If a boat is stolen, the owner can give the number on the HIN tag to law enforcement to aid in recovering the watercraft. Some areas also have marine investigators who focus on tracking down stolen boats and returning them to their rightful owners. These investigators record each boat’s HIN number and compare it to the HIN tags on watercraft recovered from wrecks or seized by law enforcement.

Insurance Coverage

Boats are expensive, so the cost of replacing a stolen boat or repairing a damaged one often exceeds the coverage limits included with a basic insurance policy. As a result, many boat owners have separate policies just for their watercraft. The number on the HIN plate helps confirm that the policyholder owns the boat and is entitled to receive the proceeds of any insurance payouts.

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Top Considerations When Purchasing HIN Tags

If your company manufactures boats, you need to use high-quality identification tags on every model. No matter how long you’ve been in business, it’s helpful to review some of the most important considerations involved in choosing these tags. Here’s what to think about when you’re ready to make a purchase.

Mounting Holes

Each HIN plate needs to be mounted on a boat, which means every tag needs two mounting holes. These holes need to be drilled carefully to ensure the HIN tag is as secure as possible. Mounting holes should also have a smooth finish to prevent interference with bolts or screws.

Corrosion Resistance

When water comes into contact with metal, it triggers a chemical reaction that causes rust to form. Rust has an unsightly appearance and causes major problems with the structure and integrity of the metal. For example, corrosion weakens metal surfaces, making them less durable. If rust forms around the mounting holes on a HIN tag, the tag is also more likely to fall off, making it difficult to comply with Coast Guard regulations and other legal requirements. When you’re designing a HIN plate, you need to think carefully about which metal you use, as some metals are more resistant to corrosion than others.

Embossing vs. Stamping

One of the main benefits of using metal tags instead of tags made from other materials is that you don’t have to worry about ink rubbing off. You can order stamped HIN plates or embossed HIN plates, ensuring each tag lasts as long as possible. Embossed metal tags have raised characters, while stamped tags have indented characters. Both techniques result in an extremely durable HIN tag that stands the test of time.

Purchase Terms

Even the most successful companies have budgets for the materials needed to manufacture or distribute their products. Purchasers are always looking for ways to maximize quality while minimizing their total expenses. One way to do this is to pay close attention to the purchase terms offered by a HIN plate manufacturer. Depending on the number of data plates in your order, you may qualify for free shipping, quantity discounts or other incentives.

Customer Service

Price and quality aren’t the only factors you need to consider when purchasing HIN plates. It’s also important to choose a supplier that provides excellent customer service. At Metal Marker Manufacturing, we take pride in serving as an expert resource for other companies. We’re always willing to answer questions and provide guidance to help you create the best possible HIN tag for your watercraft.

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Order Custom Hull Identification Tags

When you work with Metal Marker Manufacturing, you gain access to a team of experts who can educate you about your options and help you understand the pros and cons of each material. We’ve been in business since 1923, so our team members have extensive experience making HIN plates and other metal identification products. Our customers rely on that knowledge to help them make good decisions about HIN tags, labels, decals and other metal labelling. Metal Marker Manufacturing also maintains a large inventory of items to ensure we can fulfill your order quickly. If you need HIN tags, contact us at (800) 428-0095 to discuss your requirements.



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