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Design & Illustration

Serial number on kayaks and canoes

Märkning i sittbrunnen

Wooden strip boats are generally not very theft-attractive – too unique and recognizable, hard to resell and carries a certain risk of someone noticing if a thief uses it himself. But unfortunately, there are individuals out there who are a little meager equipped in terms of moral and judgment – or are sadly lacking in impulse control. Therefore insurance companies often want some kind of identification for kayaks and canoes.  

A good idea may thus be to attach a unique serial number to the kayak, canoe or boat you are building. Use the order number (from the invoice or the receipt I shipped with the plans). It is a unique identifier for every order since the first 0001 in April 28th, 1996 and it connects you to your boat. I keep the list updated, should you forget or lose your note with the number (but will, of course, remove your name if you so want). That number may help the police or the insurance company to identify a stolen craft and return it to you.

A relevant practice would be to attach a label with the number and name of the craft visible in the cockpit, and the serial number on a hidden place (the best way is to write the number somewhere under the deck, in the cockpit or in one of the hatches before laminating the glass). That way the ID is almost impossible to remove or change. Like this: 

Dold märkning



Great idea!

In the USA, all commercial boat builders register with the US Coast Guard and are provided a three digit manufacture's ID code. It's the first three of twelve characters of a boat's Hull Identification Number. This HIN is permanently imprinted on a boat in two locations: on the exterior (stern, aft starboard on a kayak) and in the interior. I engrave mine into the outermost layers of fiberglass and finish.

In case you are wondering, the HIN is kept entirely by the manufacturer and is not filed with the USCG.

Some states require a HIN in order to register a boat (even kayaks and canoes). As a home builder you can often get one from your state. As a manufacturer of boats, plans and kits, I offer a HIN to all my customers. Custom boats are marked with HINs (unless the owner specifically requests otherwise... yes, it happens). I have a spreadsheet with HINs of all of the boats I've built, plans and kits I've sold.

More info on HINs can be found here:

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