SNS Resources

Resources for Implementing Changes to the Standard Numbering System (SNS)

In April 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard amended its regulations regarding the numbering of undocumented vessels. States were given until January 1, 2017 to implement these changes into their Standard Numbering System. The final rule is published here.

The purpose of these changes is to improve information within and across the Standard Numbering System (SNS), Vessel Identification System (VIS), and the Boating Accident Reporting Database (BARD) by increasing data quality, aligning and modernizing database terminology, requiring verification of hull identification numbers, and requiring owners of numbered vessels to provide unique personal identification information.

The ultimate objective of these efforts is to validate and record this information in a consistent manner, so it is more reliable and everyone is working from the same basic foundation. This will, among other things, help to aid law enforcement and improve boater safety.

To assist states with the implementation of these changes, the VIRT committee has compiled the following resources:

A Guide for Implementing Changes to the Standard Numbering System – A brief guide that outlines the required changes and highlights the principal modifications that should to be made to your Standard Numbering System.

HIN Validation & Verification Guidelines – A comprehensive guide for verifying hull identification numbers (HINs), assigning state-issued HINs, and addressing some of the issues you might encounter when validating or issuing HINs. This is an excellent resource for anyone involved in the registration and renewal of state-numbered vessels.

Contents of Application for Certificate of Number Checklist – A one-page checklist that includes all of the information, and standardized terminology, that must be included on the application for certificate of number. This is a great checklist for anyone responsible for implementing these changes into your system.

Contents of Certificate of Number Checklist – Very similar to the checklist above, this provides a one-page checklist of the items that must be included on the Certificate of Number.

Report of Certificate of Numbers Issued to Boats (CGHQ-3923) Form – This is the form that will be used to report your annual Certificate of Numbers statistics to the Coast Guard. This form has been revised to accommodate the new regulatory changes but is still undergoing approval at OMB, so in the meantime, states may use this form or the prior CGHQ-3923 form to file their annual report.

Coast Guard District and Headquarter RBS Specialists – Provides the names and contact information for the Recreational Boating Safety Specialists that are responsible for your district and state.

If you have any questions or require additional information about how to incorporate these changes into your Standard Numbering System, please contact your respective Recreational Boating Safety Specialists or send an email to and your message will be directed to the appropriate contact person.