Creating and inscribing a hull serial number on manufactured vessels

Every small vessel that was built or imported for sale in Canada must be marked with a hull serial number (HIN), according to Part 9 of the Small Vessel Regulations.

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Hull Serial Number

The HIN lets you identify:

  • a specific vessel
  • the construction standards that apply to that specific vessel
  • a vessel that has had a manufacturer's defect recall
  • a vessel that has been lost or stolen

The HIN should be marked where it can be clearly seen when the vessel is in the water. It should be on the upper starboard quarter of the outside of the transom. If the vessel doesn't have a transom, then the HIN should be marked on the uppermost starboard side, at the aft end of the hull.

The HIN must also be marked in a second place on the hull. This can be:

  • under a fitting or an item of hardware
  • on an unexposed location in the interior of the vessel.

The HIN is made up of 12 characters and an optional two-character country code prefix, as shown in the table below:

Country Code (Optional) Manufacturer's Identification Code Manufacturer's Serial Number Commencement of Construction Model Year
CA ABC 2AB41 G0 91

The above HIN would be marked on the hull as CA-ABC2AB41G091.
You can find more information on the specification and format of the HIN in section 1 of the Construction Standards for Small Vessels (TP 1332).

Manufacturers and importers need a manufacturer's identification code (MIC) to form the first three characters of the HIN. They can normally get the MIC from Transport Canada.

Getting a Manufacturer's Identification Code

You can get a MIC, by filling out a Request for a Manufacturer Identification Code form and sending it to:

Small Vessel Manufacturers and Importers Compliance Program
Small and Fishing Vessels, Design and Equipment Standards (AMSDS)
Transport Canada, Marine Safety and Security
330 Sparks Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5



Using a U.S. Manufacturer's Identification Code

Canada recognizes MICs that were issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to U.S. manufacturers. You can request to use a U.S. MIC in Canada by submitting a Request for a Manufacturer Identification Code form. If you use a U.S. MIC, then the two-character country code prefix on the HIN is optional.

Using a Foreign Manufacturer's Identification Code

Canadian importers may also request to use a MIC that was assigned to a manufacturer outside of Canada or the U.S. That MIC must have three characters, as required in Canada. To make your request, you must:

By making this request, you acknowledge that you will be responsible for all vessels imported into Canada that are marked with a HIN using this MIC. If the vessel is imported from a country outside of Canada or the U.S., then the two-character country code prefix (published by the Maintenance Agency for ISO 3166) must be added to the HIN.