Vessel Numbers

The Basic Guide To Coast Guard Vessel Numbers

To stay compliant with maritime regulations in the United States, you must keep your boat documentation up to date and valid at all times. This proves compliance, nationality, ownership, the purpose of your vessel, and much more. Your vessel number is one way to identify your boat and is used when you renew or update your paperwork. Explore the topic below as you read through this guide to vessel numbers. 

What is the Vessel Documentation Database?

The National Vessel Documentation Center is responsible for collecting and storing boat-related information in its centralized database. This database holds a huge amount of data that you can access when necessary and ensure compliance with all regulations. The vessel number is one way to access the information. 

Besides the Vessel Number, What Other Information Can I Find?

Your vessel number is one of the most important details about your boat that is stored in the database. However, there is a wealth of other data that you can find there as well. Most pertain to the identity and ownership of the boat in question. 

  • Vessel name – the official name used to register the boat
  • Official number – this number is similar to a serial number but is not the same as a hull identification number
  • Hull number – some boats have a hull number, while others do not
  • Ownership information – all contact information for current and past owners of the boat
  • Previous transactions – including transfer of ownership and abstract of title information

The Hull Identification Number

Also called the HIN, or boat serial number, this set of numerals is required for all boats manufactured in the United States. It can be found on the hull of the vessel and can help you find information about the model year, serial number, and manufacturer of the boat. 

Boat Numbers in the Database

The database stores a wide variety of information, but you may not find the hull identification number for all vessels. That’s because its primary focus is documentation, so you will likely find the official number and other identifying details, but the HIN may not be there. The HIN is used for registration and compliance, while the vessel number is used to identify an individual boat. 

Vessel Numbers

What Can I Do With the Database Information?

The details you can glean from the database are valuable for many reasons. Not only can you find the vessel number, but you can also find out about the purpose of the boat, the specifications of the boat, and much more. This is important if you want to buy a boat and need to know more about it before you decide to move ahead. It’s also useful for ensuring that your own vessel’s information is correct. 

If you need help undertaking a search on or to find a vessel number, we are here to help you facilitate the process. Contact the US Vessel Documentation Center today to get started using a vessel number to find out all of the information you need about a boat, yours or one that belongs to someone else.