How to Find Out What Year My Boat Was Made

by Will Charpentier
Your boat's capacity plate should reveal the boat's age.

Your boat's capacity plate should reveal the boat's age.

It doesn't take much effort to determine the manufacturer of your boat, but finding out exactly when the boat was built takes a little more investigation. A quick browse of the boat's official documents or the capacity plate, however, should be enough to provide you with the answer.

1. Look a the boat's official documents, its title and the registration. These documents might include the name of the boat's manufacturer and the date it was built.

2. Step inside the boat and go to the rear. Find the metal plate at the inside rear of the boat, either on the starboard, or right, side at the rear or on the rear end of the boat near the starboard side.

3. Read the plate to look for the boat's date of manufacture. At the top of the plate, called the "capacity plate," are the words, "U.S. Coast Guard," followed by "Maximum Capacities." Below this information, you'll see the number of passengers or weight permitted. The following lines include information about the boat's compliance with standards and provide the name of the manufacturer followed by the boat's date of manufacture and model number.

4. Find the hull identification number (HIN), usually engraved or stamped into the transom or main beam of the boat, if the capacity plate is missing or illegible. To obtain a replacement plate, contact the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) with the HIN and request information on your boat and a new capacity plate.

Items you will need

  • Boat's official documents

Tip

  • The capacity plate is required to be at least 4 inches wide, with the capacity in black letters on a yellow stripe across the center of the plate.

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

Photo Credits

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