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There’s a new federal standard for Hull Identification Numbers on vessels. Here’s what owners need to do

The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary participate in a Search and Rescue and vessel towing drill in Bellingham Bay, June 12, 2013. The Coast Guard is beginning to enforce the new federal standard for Hull Identification Numbers.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary participate in a Search and Rescue and vessel towing drill in Bellingham Bay, June 12, 2013. The Coast Guard is beginning to enforce the new federal standard for Hull Identification Numbers. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

The U.S. Coast Guard is beginning to enforce the new federal standard for Hull Identification Numbers on vessels, which may require about 19,000 owners in Washington state to change the HIN on their vessels, according to the Whatcom Count Auditor’s Office.

“If the vessel’s HIN does not comply with the new federal standard, owners will not be able to register, renew or title their vessel until the HIN is updated,” the auditor’s office wrote in a news release.

Vessel owners must go to a licensing office for a new title and a conforming HIN. The vast majority of vessels registered in Washington have HIN numbers that comply with the new standards.

“If you believe your HIN does meet the new standards, please provide a photo or rubbing of the current HIN on the vessel. If the current HIN is compliant, the DOL (Department of Licensing) record will be updated,” the auditor’s office said.

According to the Coast Guard, the standard was changed to:

▪ Improve boating safety efforts.

▪ Enhance law enforcement capabilities.

▪ Promote the Coast Guard’s strategic goals of maritime safety and security.

For questions, contact the DOL customer service center at 360- 902-3770 or by email at CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov. Local licensing offices can also answer questions.

For additional information, contact Morgan Kalkwarf, licensing coordinator, 360-778-5121.

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