Legal Commentary. Hull identification numbers are required on all vessels unless specifically stated otherwise. If you are a having your boat repaired after a serious boating accident, you must remember to reattach the number after the repairs. Furthermore, tampering with the hull identification number in any way or using the same number on more than one boat is illegal. This is important, because making this seemingly simple mistake could cost you between $500 and $5000 dollars, or between one and five years in jail, or a combination of the two punishments.
As a Georgia boat accident lawyer, Charles Scholle encourages every goat operator in Georgia to obey the law for the sake of your safety and the safety of others.
See the full text of the statute below:Assigned Hull Identification Number Requirements; Punishments (O.C.G.A. § 52-7-7.1)
(a) No person shall operate on the waters of this state a vessel manufactured after November 1, 1972, unless the vessel displays an assigned hull identification number as required by the United States Coast Guard or by the issuing authority, except any of those vessels exempted by Code Section 52-7-7.6. The hull identification number shall be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, or otherwise permanently affixed to the outboard side of the transom or the starboard side within two feet of the transom above the waterline in accordance with federal law or as directed by the issuing authority.
(b) No person shall operate on the waters of this state a vessel that was manufactured before November 1, 1972, for which an issuing authority has issued a hull identification number unless the hull identification number is clearly displayed on the hull of the vessel as described in subsection (a) of this Code section.
(c) No person shall destroy, remove, alter, cover, or deface the hull identification number, or any plate or decal bearing such number, of any vessel, except to make necessary repairs that require the removal of the HIN. Immediately upon completion of any repairs requiring the destruction, removal, alteration, covering, or defacing of a vessel’s HIN, the person shall reaffix the hull identification number to the vessel in accordance with federal law or shall apply for a replacement hull identification number from the department.
(d) No person shall assign the same hull identification number to more than one vessel.
(e) Any person who willfully violates subsection (c) or (d) of this Code section with intent to misrepresent the identity of a vessel so as to convert or defraud shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $5,000.00, by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 52-7-7.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 96, § 5/HB 1490.