How to Decode a Bayliner HINby Floyd Drake III
First instituted on November 1, 1972, Hull Identification Numbers, or HINs, are to boats what Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) are to automobiles. The code is an international identifier for each individual boat, and no two boats have the same HIN. Since HINs are federally mandated, all boat manufacturers assign these unique codes during production. The HIN is uniform, following the same format, regardless of the boat manufacturer. From 1972 to 1984, a 12-position code was used, and in 1984 the 12-digit system was slightly updated.
Decode 1972 to August 1984 Bayliner HINs
Locate the Bayliner HIN. All boats have the HIN located on the transom (the back face of the hull), found in the upper right, or starboard, corner. The HIN is also located on the boat's title and registration. The HIN is a 12-position, alpha-numeric code, "BBB12345M82K," for example. Write this number down.
The first three letters identify the manufacturer. Bayliner has a number of different manufacturer's codes, including "USD," "BBB" and "BL1." The different manufacturers codes identify where the boat was manufactured. A complete listing of Bayliner manufacturer codes is found on the Coast Guard's Boating Safety Resource Center site.
Locate the serial number. After the three-digit Bayliner manufacturers' code, the next five positions identify the boat's unique serial number, so in the example "BBB12345M82K," "12345" identifies the boat's serial number.
Identify the model year. The ninth position on 1972 to 1984 HINs is always "M," referring to "model year." The following two digits are the year of manufacture, in the example, "BBB12345M82K," the year of manufacture is 1982.
Decode the month of manufacture. The final position represents the month the boat was made, with "A," for August, following in order to "L," for July. For example, "K" indicates a Bayliner manufactured in June.
Decode August 1984 to the Present Bayliner HINs
Identify the manufacturer's code and serial number. As in 1972 to 1984 Bayliners, this section remains the same and is decoded in the same manner.
Decode the month and year of manufacture. For example, "BBB12345C293" is typical of 1984 to the present HINs. The ninth and tenth positions, "C3," identify the month and year of manufacture. The month code begins with "A," for January, continuing in sequence to "L," for December. The following digit is the year of build. "C3" identifies a Bayliner manufactured in either 1992 or 2002.
Determine the Bayliner model year. The final two digits are the model year, which is normally a year later than the year of manufacture. For example, "BBB12345C293," the model year is 1993, whereas an '03 Bayliner would be identified as such. This is how you determine the actual year of manufacture if unsure.
A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.