Hull number

A hull number is commonly known as a WIN-number (Watercraft Identification Number) or HIN – / CIN-number. This number exits of 14 characters, including the country code on the first two positions. (example: NL-ABC1234a818). The hull number can generally be found on the right-hand side of the vessel’s mirror. For jet ski’s or water scooters the hull number is generally displayed underneath the fender.

ICP Certificate

Whenever you are abroad, you will be asked to present a legal declaration of ownership, with which you prove the boat is yours. In most countries you will need an International Certificate for Pleasure Crafts (ICP). This document is drafted in English, French and Dutch and contains all information of the owner.


The WIN-number (previously HIN-number or CIN-code) is the chassis-number of the vehicle. All vehicles built after June of 1998 have this number.

Explanation of WIN-/HIN-/CIN-number

NL Country of origin
ABC Unique code from the dockyard that built the hull
1234 Serial number
A Month of production (A = January till L = December)
8 Production year
18 Model year

CE Marking (Certification)

CE Certification is required for all recreational boats entering or being sold in the European Union. Manufacturers must test and document to ensure conformity to all applicable European directives and requirements. These four categories entail a description as to what requirements a ship must meet per fairway.

Category A, Ocean: covers largely self-sufficient boats designed for extended voyages with winds of over Beaufort Force 8 (over 40 knots), and significant wave heights above 13 feet, but excluding abnormal conditions such as hurricanes.

Category B, Offshore: includes boats operating offshore with winds to 40 knots and significant seas to 13 feet.

Category C, Inshore: is for boats operating in coastal waters and large bays and lakes with winds to Force 6, up to 27 knots, and significant seas 7 feet high.

Category D, Inland or sheltered coastal waters: designed for boats in small lakes and rivers with winds to Force 4 and significant wave heights to 18 inches.

CvO-Examination (for Belgium and the Netherlands)

Since the end of 2018 there is a new set of European regulations in place for all pleasure craft exceeding 20 meters (and/or a length x width of more than 100 cubical meters). The rules for the mandatory ‘Certificaat van Onderzoek’ (CVO) have become stricter from 31-12-2018 onwards. For the vessels that are subject to certification (which include the bigger recreational boating) it is a case of not waiting too long before requesting a CvO-examination.

What are some of the consequences of not having a CvO?

  • You cannot sail independently; visiting the wharf is only possible if you are being towed.
  • The ship dramatically decreases in value and is practically unsellable.
  • Requesting a CvO at a later date becomes a difficult and costly task (and in most scenarios impossible), as you then will have to meet modern ship requirements.

So, if you are in possession of a ship in need of a CvO, do not wait too long and sort out a exanimation.