Which of the following is true about boat registration numbers?

aa) They must be placed on the front and back of the boat

bb) They must be in at least three-inch block characters

cc) They can be any size, shape, color or style

The correct answer is: b) They must be in at least three-inch block characters.

What is a boat registration number?

boat registration number
Boat registration number/ image: hoosierdecal

Registered boats are assigned a registration number which is a combination of letters and numbers. It’s the ship’s license plate. This unique identifier must always be displayed on both sides of the hull and may also be placed on the transom for sailing vessels. The registration number ensures that every boat has its own identity in order to keep things fair for all boaters out there on the water.

Displaying the boat registration numbers and validation decal

In order to avoid a hefty fine, make sure your vessel’s registration number and validation decal are displayed as follows –

It’s a law that all boats must display their number. There are some exceptions, but they’re rare. You can’t get around this rule by posting it on the bow of your boat. If you don’t want to comply with this regulation, then perhaps boating isn’t for you. Number must be placed where they’re easily visible.

Number must be in at least three-inch block characters which must contrast with the background color. they must be painted on or otherwise securely attached to both sides of the bow of the boat, uppermost portion visible from a distance which provides easy identification.

Number must read from left to right directly across the bow, which is not to be obstructed.

The use of a space or hyphen is to help understand that letters are different from numbers. Letters must be separated from each other by a factor of at least one which is a space or hyphen.

The decal must be affixed to the port side of the boat. Decal may precede or follow the registration number but not be more than six inches from it.

Personal watercraft (PWC) also are required to display the registration number and decal which is to be affixed at the bow.

As you can see, it’s easy to register your vessel. All you have to do is follow the steps outlined above and you will be on your way to a legal and safe boating experience. Remember if your boat does not have a registration number and decal, you can be fined.

What do boat hull numbers mean?

Hull numbers are used to identify boats or ships, they are the serial identification number which is unique to a specific vessel.

Hull identification numbers
Hull identification numbers/ image: BoatUs

Hull identification numbers VS registration numbers

  • The HIN number is a unique 12-digit number while registration numbers are 8-digits.
  • The hull identification number can be found near the stern of your vessel while registration numbers are to be painted on the bow.
  • Hull numbers which also called as a ship’s serial number while registration numbers which are also called as vessel’s state registration numbers.

What do the letters on a boat registration mean?

Registration numbers are usually 8 characters long, The first two letters of the number define what district it is registered in.

Some additional facts about boat registering

You just need to register your purchase within 30 days of acquiring the boat.

You can’t change your address without telling the county tax collector. If you are an owner of a registered vessel, make sure to notify the county tax collector within thirty days if you change your address.

Boat owners, you know what to do. If your boat is sold, stolen, destroyed, abandoned or lost be sure to notify the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) within 30 days so they can keep updating their records. This will help avoid any potential penalties for having a non-current registration on file with them.

Needless to say, it’s important that your vessel is registered in the state you plan on using it. If you’re going to be living in Florida for a while, then the time has come to register your boat. You can do that within 90 days of coming to the state.

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