How to decode a boat hull identification number (HIN)

How to decode a boat hull identification number (HIN)

What is a boat hull identification number (HIN)?

The Hull Identification Number (HIN), also known as the boat serial number, is a unique 12-digit number that must be affixed to the hull of pleasure craft that are constructed, manufactured, rebuilt, or imported to be sold or operated in Canada. The HIN may also include a 2-digit country code at the beginning of the boat serial number.



The HIN can assist in finding stolen boats or to identify recalled boats.

Where can I find the HIN on my boat?

The HIN must be located where it is clearly visible when the boat is in the water. You will find the HIN on the outside starboard (right) side of the transom. If your boat does not have a transom, the HIN will be on the uppermost starboard side at the aft end of the hull.

Other requirements:

  • The characters must be at least 6mm in width and height
  • The HIN cannot be altered, defaced or removed

You might also find a second HIN in the interior of the boat or under a trim or other piece of hardware.

How to decode a boat hull identification number (HIN)

Example HIN – ABC12345B612

ABC – Manufacturer Identification Code (MIC)

12345 – Manufacturer’s Serial Number

B6 – Manufacture date where the first digit represents the month and the second digit represent the last digit of the year.

A=Jan, B=Feb, C=Mar, D=Apr, E=May, F=Jun, G=Jul, H=Aug, I-Sep, J=Oct, K=Nov, L=Dec

12 – Last 2 digits of the model year

Additional Information

Search Boats by Name, Hull Identification Number, Licence Number, Registration Number to find out of a boat is stolen.

Canadian Police Centre Investigation – https://www.cpic-cipc.ca/sbo-rba-eng.htm

Use HIN Decoder to find out boat information from the serial number.

HIN Decoder – https://hindecoder.com/

The links are provided for informational purposes only. We do not receive any compensation for purchases made on the Canadian Policy Centre Investigation or HIN Decoder websites.

5 insurance tips for renting out your cottage

5 insurance tips for renting out your cottage

Check your current coverage

The first person you should speak to is your insurance broker.

  • Will your cottage insurance policy provide coverage when you rent it out to others?
  • If yes, are there any restrictions? Some policies restrict coverage for damage or theft. Other policies all you to rent out your cottage for a specific length of time such as a week. Does your insurance company allow for increasing the length of time for an additional fee if you need it?

Consider increasing your liability limit

Renting your cottage creates increased risk of injury to others. If you have $1,000,000 liability, consider increasing it to $2,000,000.

Provide a manual or book for your guests

No one knows your cottage and the surrounding area better than you. Renters will be unfamiliar with your cottage and will not know what to do or who to call in the event of an emergency. In addition to letting your renters know the location of the best places to eat or shop, your book or manual should contain the following important information:

  • Your contact information and/or the contact information of the property manager if you have one.
  • The location and phone numbers of the fire department, police, hospital and doctor including veterinarian. Rural areas may not have 911 services or a permanent firehall with full time firefighters.
  • Instructions on how to operate important equipment. For example, plumbing in a cottage can be quite different from what you find in urban areas. Cottages can have septic tanks and pumps and even the toilets may be different. If any equipment at your cottage requires special attention or specific operating procedures, make sure your renters have the instructions.

Choose your renters carefully

Renting to family and friends is easy but renting to people you don’t know has it’s challenges.

  • Be selective. Renting to a family is different than renting to a group who wants to celebrate an event.
  • Be clear on the rules so that would be renters understand your terms before they book your cottage.
  • Ask the renter to provide a credit card for a deposit in the event they cause damage to your property.

Don’t allow renters to use your motorized vehicles

Allowing renters to use your boat, PWC, ATV or other motorized vehicles will increase your risk of a liability claim. ATVs, boats and PWCs can usually be rented from the local marina. If your lake does not have a marina, the nearest marina will be more than happy to drop off the vehicle at the cottage or the nearest boat launch for your renter.

Boat Insurance Ontario – Is it legally required?

Boat Insurance Ontario – Is it legally required?

Boat Insurance Ontario – Is it legally required?

Ontario does not have a law that requires you to carry insurance on your boat or PWC. This is why you don’t get a liability (pink) slip with your boat insurance policy as you do with your auto insurance. Even though boat insurance is not required, you may still be asked for proof of insurance if you are stopped by the police. You should keep an updated copy of your insurance on your vessel just in case.

There may be times when you have no choice but to purchase insurance. Marinas will require proof of insurance before they will allow you do use the marina or store your boat on their property.

If you are financing your boat, the financing company will require you to carry insurance before they will approve your loan. In addition to insurance, they will ask to be added as a loss payee on your policy.

Most claims involve striking a submerged object. Often, the entire motor has to be replaced at a cost of $10,000 or more. Also, losses don’t just occur during boating season. Imagine getting your boat out of storage in the spring to find that a family of raccoons has moved into your boat and destroyed the interior. The real question is why wouldn’t you insure your boat and protect a valuable asset?

Boat Insurance Ontario – Is it legally required?

9 Things to Know About Boat Insurance in Ontario

Boat and PWC insurance is not mandatory in Ontario

Ontario does not have a law that requires you to carry insurance on your boat or PWC. However, there may be times when you have no choice but to get insurance. For example, you will not be able to finance the purchase of your boat without insurance. A marina may ask you to provide proof of insurance before you can store your boat on their property.

Agreed Value vs Actual Cash Value

A boat insurance policy provides physical damage coverage on an Agreed Value basis or an Actual Cash Value (ACV) basis. The amount you will receive in the event of a total loss can vary greatly between an Agreed Value policy and an ACV policy. An Agreed Value policy will pay you the amount stated on the declaration page. An ACV policy will pay you the replacement cost of the boat less depreciation. Most stand-alone boat insurance policies are on an Agreed Value basis.

Stand-alone boat insurance policies vs home insurance policies

Most insurance companies will allow you to add your boat and PWC to your home insurance policy up to a certain length and horse power. This is often a convenient and cheaper way to insure your boat or PWC. However, a home insurance policy does not properly cover boats and you may get some surprises when you submit a claim. Depreciation will be deducted in the event of a total loss. There may also be restrictions on other coverage such as emergency towing and loss of use. Finally, a claim on your boat is a claim on your home insurance policy. If you have too many claims, your insurance company may cancel your home insurance policy on renewal. You will have to go to a specialty insurer and pay 2 to 3 times more than you were paying previously with less coverage. A stand-alone boat insurance policy may cost a little more but the coverage is better and a claim will not affect your home insurance policy.

Marine Surveys

Insurance companies may ask for an acceptable marine survey by a qualified marine surveyor for boats over a certain age. A marine survey is an appraisal of your boat and can cost more than $200. The marine survey can be a dozen pages or more and include pictures, descriptions, and recommendations for repairs or upgrades. Recommendations are categorized by those that are optional, important or critical. An insurance company may decline to insure a boat until the recommendations have been taken care of.

Boat Insurance Costs

There are many factors that determine the cost of your boat insurance such as value, length, horse power and top speed. Minimum premiums are around $250. Average premiums are around $400. Premiums increase as the value of the boat, trailer, equipment and accessories go up.

Lay-up period

Boat insurance policies contain lay-up periods that specify a time when your boat must be out of the water. An example is December 1st to April 1st. If you use your boat on the water during the lay-up period, you will not be covered by your insurance. Ask your broker for the lay-up period in your policy.

Navigational limits

Boat insurance policies contain restrictions as to where you can operate your boat and still be covered. This area usually includes all of Canada and the U.S.A. not south of 40° North. Ask your broker for the navigational limits in your policy.


All operators of recreational powered watercraft in Canada regardless of age, engine horsepower or length of boat must obtain the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). Failure to carry the PCOC card on your vessel will result in a $250 fine.

Boater Education

The Canadian Power and Sail Squadron (CPS) offers boating courses beyond the basic PCOC course. For example, the Boating Essentials course will teach you how to use a GPS/chart plotter and understand the use of paper charts and coastal navigation. Most insurance companies will give a 10% premium discount to members of the CPS.

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