Color logo with background

Where On A Boat are Registration Numbers Placed?

Where On A Boat are Registration Numbers Placed?

Boat registration numbers are an essential part of boat ownership, serving as a unique identifier for your vessel. So, where on a boat are registration numbers placed to keep you in compliance with state and local laws?

This guide will provide you with a step-by-step process on how and where to place your boat’s registration numbers correctly.

Step 1: Obtain the Registration Numbers

After registering your boat, you will receive registration numbers that are unique to your vessel. These numbers are typically included in the documents issued to you directly or sent via a dealership.

Step 2: Determine the Placement

Boat registration numbers should be displayed on both sides of the bow, in the forward half of the vessel, and placed where they can be observed clearly.

For Example: In Florida, the registration number should read from left to right, be in at least three-inch-high bold BLOCK letters, and have a color that contrasts with its background. Letters must be separated from the numbers by a space or hyphen equal to the letter width, e.g., FL 3717 ZW or FL-3717-ZW.

Step 3: Affix the Validation Decal

In Florida, the validation decal must be affixed to the port (left) side of the vessel within six inches of the registration number. The decal may precede or follow the number.

Step 4: Choose a Method for Applying the Numbers

You can use stick-on vinyl decals, stencils, and paint to apply the registration numbers to your boat. Vinyl decals are a popular choice because they are easy to apply and can be done using a wet or dry application method.

Step 5: Clean the Application Area

Before applying the registration numbers, ensure the area on your boat where the numbers will be placed is clean and free of debris.

Step 6: Apply the Registration Numbers

Follow the instructions provided with the vinyl decals or stencils and paint to apply the registration numbers to your boat. Make sure the numbers are properly aligned and spaced according to the requirements mentioned in step 2.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your boat’s registration numbers are placed correctly and comply with all relevant boating regulations.


  • Where is the ID plate on a boat?

    The I.D. plate, also known as the H.I.N. (Hull I.D. Number), is typically affixed to the hull of the boat. You can usually find it engraved into a plate near the transom (Back end) of the boat. It might be in the rear or on the side of the boat near the rear.

  • Do all boats have I.D. Numbers?

    All boats manufactured after 1972 were required to be stamped with an I.D. number, so boats before that time may or may not have an I.D. number depending on the manufacturer.

You might also be interested in reading:

Picture of Steve Momot

Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share on.