The Coast Guard is again considering the costs and benefits associated with a proposal to expand Hull Identification Numbers (HINs) by adding five characters. Four of the five additional characters would indicate length, hull material, principal means of propulsion, and vessel type, while the fifth would be a check digit.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association strongly opposes the Coast Guard proposal and submitted a position paper Aug. 15 outlining its concerns. They include:
• Excessive costs for boatbuilders and the marine industry as a whole — including marine bankers, dealers and distributors — with no direct improvement of boating safety.
• Inconsistency in format with key trading partners, particularly the European Union.
• Data sought through HIN expansion is already available through other collection systems.