July 4

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Do Jet Skis Have VIN Numbers ?

By Steve

July 4, 2022


If you’re a new jet ski owner or looking to buy one, you must be wondering how to identify your jet ski from the rest. Every jet ski has a specific serial number for identification, and it should not be confused with the registration number provided by the state.

Generally, jet skis do not have a VIN number as they are identified using Hull Identification Number (HIN). Also known as hull number or hull serial number, the HIN is assigned by the manufacturer and is required by federal law during registration.

But how significant is a jet ski’s HIN number ?

As the jet ski models evolve over the years, manufacturers tend to stick with the same model names. That’s because most upcoming manufacturers patent the model names, making it difficult to use them on newer models.

So, for instance, you’ll have a 2010 Yamaha FX SHO, 2011 Yamaha FX SHO, 2012 Yamaha FX SHO, and so on. The hull identification number is the only way to identify these models, apart from the distinct features correctly.

The HIN number is particularly useful when buying parts for your jet ski. Most owners only know the information they need about jetski because all other issues are passed to the local repair shop.

But as products and parts become more available online, it is convenient and easier to purchase online and do some installations. That’s why it is essential to know precisely what jet ski model you own.

Knowing the HIN number also helps during the registration and insuring process to avoid any issues with potential buyers.

Jet Ski HIN Number Explained

The hull number has 12 digits, consisting of letters and numbers. The first three letters identify the month it was manufactured (also known as the Manufacturer’s Identification Code). The second five numbers are the hull serial number, the next two digits show the date of manufacture, and the last two numbers show the year of manufacture.

Please see the example below.

ABC 12345 C5 09
Manufacturer’s Identification Code (MIC) Hull Serial Number Date of Manufacturer Model Year

Where Is The Serial Number On a Jet Ski ?

The serial number on a jet ski can be found in two locations. The first one, the HIN, is placed on the top part of the rear platform, while the second one is identified in the engine block’s engine identification number (EIN).

How to find your Kawasaki Jet Ski Year

The HIN of a Kawasaki is located in the rear gunwale of the craft, beneath the battery. The first three letters of the HIN should read KAW to identify the brand Kawasaki, and the last two digits should indicate what year the craft was made. So, a HIN ending with ’20 means the craft was manufactured in 2020.

How to find your Yamaha Jet Ski Year

Most Yamaha models have the HIN number in the hull under the seat, glued upside down. Just like the Kawasaki models, the year of manufacture is printed as the last two digits on the HIN number. The HIN number should be visible for the model to be legal unless you bought an old version from a friend. The HIN is pretty crucial when transferring titles, as you can’t change the title without it.

How your Sea-Doo Jet Ski Year

The HIN number of Sea-Doo PWCs is located at the back of the hull right next to the starboard. The last two digits will show you the year of manufacture. If the HIN is too worn out, then check the model number and try to match it online to get the HIN number.

Some engine features can tell you the year of manufacture or give you a clue. For instance, if you find a 4-stroke engine, it was probably manufactured in 2002 or later. That’s because Sea-Doo didn’t have 4-stroke engines until 2002, when they unveiled the 4-TEC engine.

How to find your Polaris Jet Ski year

Polaris is ideally a company that makes ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorcycles. They entered the PWC market in 1992 but had to stop production in 2004 due to logistic issues. The HIN of Polaris Jet Skis are located in two places; inside the hull near the fuel tank and on the far end of the starboard side.

If the HIN number of the craft is worn out, you can narrow it down using the engine model. Polaris used Fuji engines from 1992 to 1996, so you may have an idea of the year your craft has this type of engine. The company started using ‘red domestic engines’ from 1996 onwards, with black-colored versions only occurring after 2003.

How Else Can You Identify A Jet Ski ?

Though important, the HIN is not the only way to identify a jet ski; you can use these three identifying factors to know precisely what jet ski you have.

Brand

The manufacturer of the jet ski is the obvious way. Yamaha, Seadoo, and Kawasaki are a few well-known jet ski manufacturers. The brand name is conspicuous on the jet ski and will be displayed in the OEM graphics, including the logo. You can also find it as stickers or engravings in the various parts of jet skis.

Year

The year showed when the particular model was released in the market. New models are usually available in the late months of the previous year. So, a 2022 model should be available in late November 2021. To know which year the model was manufactured, check the last two digits of the HIN number.

Model

All brands release different jet ski models, and the models will vary in engine size, hull shape, colors, and accessories particular to that year’s model. For instance, with the Kawasaki ULTRA 310 series, an “Ultra 310LX-S” model was released in 2022. This advanced version is packed with LED lights, a rear view camera, and a 124-liter seat compartment.

In Conclusion

As you have read HIN numbers, not VIN numbers, are relevant to jet skis and are the accepted method to identify a Jet Ski.

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