Please remember your number!

A boat is stolen and it is reported. But how do you describe the vessel - Sailing yacht, eight meters long, blue hull etc.  Unfortunately those are not sufficiently clear identification features but the hull number - called CIN-Number (Craft Identification Number) within the European Union - is a clear identification feature.

Please remember your number!Since 1998 all recreational vessels, including inflatables and jet skis between 2.5 m and 24 m in length have to have a hull number according to the Recreational Vessel Guideline (CE-Guideline) of the European Union.  Since 2006 this also applies for vessels which are imported from a non-EU country into the European Union and brought into use.  In practice this could mean that, for example, a used boat imported from USA has to be EU certified.  It is also possible that modifications are required, such as the gas system, because  it may not comply with EU stipulations.

Identification feature

Vessels, which were brought into use prior to 1998 are excluded from this regulation, but should also be subsequently certified according to Dirk Hilcken, insurance specialist at Pantaenius. "The CIN number aids the clear identification and is therefore helpful in many ways."

The hull number is generally affixed at the right of the vessel's transom - laminated, welded, riveted or screwed on. It may not be removed and is always issued in connection with the CE-Certificate. "Every owner should ask for this certificate when purchasing the vessel - regardless whether it is a new or a used boat", says Hilcken. It is furthermore advisable to keep a copy on board, since certain authorities may from time-to-time request to see it. If it can't be presented, then the authorities may assume that the boat was imported into the EU without certification and demand the subsequent payment of VAT. This can get expensive.

Helpful in case of theft

Since the hull number is a clear identification for a vessel, Pantaenius asks its clients to provide the data when taking out insurance. Via the CIN-Number it is an unequivocal record which boat is insured. The number is also entered in the Blue Insurance Card, which should always be kept on board, as it is represents a clear verification of insurance. Hilcken: "Although it is not compulsory to have liability insurance in Germany, it is in other countries. That's why it is advisable to carry the Blue Card."

Hilcken advises, to generally note down all identification numbers. This also applies for manufacturer-specific engine numbers as well as codes on radios and other pieces of equipment. "This is very helpful for the investigating authorities in the event of theft" but one should also have the ID numbers handy for warranty claims or repairs.

Find out more about boat registration here