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Adding a hull identification number

Sep 10, 2013

To the editor: I enjoyed the very informative and well-written article by John Kettlewell about the registration situation in Florida (“A fog of regulation,” Issue No. 210, May/June 2013). I would like to add two points.

 1. If your boat is at least 30 years old, and still has the same type of power plant, it is eligible for a greatly reduced fee as an antique vessel. For my 63-foot motorsailer, it dropped the fee from more than $100 to $5.25 per year!

 2. Some water police may make an issue of a lack of a hull identification number (HIN). This number is normally molded into the upper, starboard part of the transom by the manufacturer. But if the boat has been rebuilt in this area, or (in my case) is a homebuilt vessel, one should put the number there to be legal. You can get one from the National Vessel Documentation Center, the same office that takes care of vessel documentation paperwork. It must be put in place so that it is obvious if it is removed. The local Ace Hardware made me a stainless strip tag and I installed it on my stern rail with stainless tamper-resistant screws.
 
—Norm Johnson lives aboard his 63-foot motorsailer Bandersnatch and wrote this letter while anchored in Atlantic Highlands, N.J.

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