Hull Number?

From Wisconsin's DNR I've received this:

"The primary hull identification number in watercraft with transoms shall be affixed to the starboard outboard side within 2 inches of the top of transom, gunwale, or hull deck joint, whichever is lowest. On vessels without transoms or impractical to use transom, to the starboard outboard side of hull, aft, within one foot of the stern and within 2 inches of the top of the hull side, gunwale or hull deck joint, whichever is lowest. On catamarans and pontoon boats with replaceable hulls, affix the hull identification number to the aft crossbeam, within 1 foot of the starboard hull attachment.  Any original identification numbers must remain on the vessel, and the newly assigned Hull ID number shall be attached as instructed.   

The duplicate hull identification number shall be affixed in an unexposed location on the interior of the vessel or beneath a fitting or item of hardware.

  • Each hull identification number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, molded, bonded, or otherwise permanently affixed to the watercraft so that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious.
  • Use of a plate must be fastened so that removal would cause scarring or damage to surrounding hull area.
  • Hull identification number characters must be no less than 1/4 inch in height and not attached to any removable part."

So for the duplicate number I've placed under clear epoxy inside the hull at the stern two pigmented-ink (UV stable) printed paper labels, easily visible by looking aft under the deck.

It's the external number that I'm curious about, lacking any engraving capability. As I intend to paint my hull I can embed a similarly printed label under clear epoxy then leave that portion unpainted to allow the number to be visible.

What approaches have others taken to accommodate this particular demand?

19 replies:

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RE: Hull Number?

Bought something similar myself from Harbor Freight.  Never got around to actually using it, though.  They'll probably give me the electric chair one of these days.  Mother always feared I'd come to a bad end.  <;-)


RE: Hull Number?

Nope, too small.

Regs specify 1/4" minimum... but thanks.

I'll figure something out. Epoxy's versatile enough I could use it to make an impression that'd then be incorporated into the panel at the proper location.


RE: Hull Number?

This might be your excuse to buy a Dremel Tool.   

RE: Hull Number?

Fat chance of that happening. Too many tools now.

Besides I have a nice Foredom from 45 years ago for stuff a Dremel could maybe do.

RE: Hull Number?

   I will be having to think about this soon as I am getting close to finishing the hull of my NED. I had thought about a plate brass/? engraved with HIN screwed/ bonded to outside of hull after finishing. In TX I think you only need it on the stern, starboard outside of hull.     


RE: Hull Number?

   I did just what you are suggesting, Larry. My local shore repair shop engraved the numbers on a small brass plate. I attached it with screws and epoxy. Jeff

RE: Hull Number?

I may do something similar Birch2. Seems worthy of consideration if nothing else.

I'd also envisioned having neighbor who's messing with 3D printing spit me out a pattern in nylon I could then use to impress the characters into epoxy. Once that's cured, pattern gets pulled leaving molded characters ~ 1/16" deep into the material.

Lots of time to dream up ideas now, between sessions sanding various surfaces on my project's hull, inside & out.

Stay safe all, stay well.

RE: Hull Number?

So it hit me that I ought to be able to have a custom rubber stamp made with the proper characters in a proper size I then can use to 'cast' my hull number into an epoxy-filled recess routed into the starboard sheerstrake near the stern, as required by the rules for this.

There's a bunch of outfits willing to make these to order out there. I settled on out the few I bothered to look into.

A bit under $20 for 1" x 2-3/8" stamp, delivered in a week from what they're telling me.

(Their ordering process is about like trying to get images to display here so be forewarned...)

Once I've seen the stamp I just ordered I'll make a trial run in a bit of scrap, see what results, perhaps post a follow-up here.

RE: Hull Number?

Can CLC issue me a hull number?   

RE: Hull Number?

Oh my YES!

In fact if you sourced your kit from them they're the only source. Otherwise you may have to work with whatever vendor sold you your kit.

Send them an e-mail or call Monday once they're open. You ought to have it by the beginning of next week.

RE: Hull Number?

   CLC does issue hull numbers with the kits, but they may be easy to overlook -- or you may have to ask for it. I know that I managed to overlook the number for my dory and had the state of Arkansas issue one for a homebuilt boat. I later found the number, but Arkansas only cares about having the number in their records match the number on the boat, so the state-issued number is just fine! Not sure how it works in other states.

RE: Hull Number?

Probably varies.

State registration # isn't the same thing, at least here in Wisconsin. Hull # should come from the manufacturer, much like the VIN # for a motor vehicle.

I don't recall getting anything with my kit back early in 2017 so when I discovered I needed one to apply for a state registration number last month (and a title as well; a boat's a vehicle after all, as is the trailer underneath when not out on the water!) I needed that hull # to complete the application.

RE: Hull Number?

Right, CLC will issue HIN's for kits.  Did so for our Passagemaker on request.


RE: Hull Number?

   Yes, my HIN# was on my invoice with the main/hull kit.


RE: Hull Number?

I shoulda asked here first I guess... just looked back at my kit purchase receipt.

Hull # - HIN went right over my head at the time I guess - plain as day in NOTES column. Live'n'learn!   

RE: Hull Number?

I have only the modified plan for a canoe yawl John drew for me. I built the boat from scratch and don't have a purchase receipt. I guess I need to call CLC Monday to see about it.   

RE: Hull Number?

People have been making boats for centuries -- often with no plan at all! I'm sure every state has a process for issuing hull numbers for homemade boats. The number that CLC issues is preferential, but I'm pretty sure there is nothing magical about it. The legal hull number (HIN) is going to be whatever the state has on file for your boat, and I think that is determined by the paperwork you submit. I'd be surprised if CLC directly submits anything directly to all the state and national governments where its kits (or plans) might be turned into boats!

RE: Hull Number?

"I think that is determined by the paperwork you submit. I'd be surprised if CLC directly submits anything directly to all the state and national governments where its kits (or plans) might be turned into boats!"


Be my assumption as well.

Way too much overhead, for no real gains.

It's the boat owner's responsibility to provide what any licensing authority - if there is one - demands before they'll issue first a title then a license number to satisfy the authorities.

For a scratch-built I'd have to think it's up to the builder to come up with something fitting the format required - if there is one - where they're planning on using their boat.

In that I'm aware our DNR here in Wisconsin is zealous in looking for violations ('revenue opportunity') I'm unwilling to take any chances over non-compliance. Others are free to do as they please, as always.

So I ordered a rubberstamp over the w/e, looking forward to finding it in my mailbox in a few days. Will do a test sample on a scrap piece before risking my newly-epoxied sheer strake, maybe post an image here....

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