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Boat registration issue

Many Harlan County residents enjoy boating activities, and the time to register your boat is drawing near. However, there is an issue involving the HIN number on many boats which can cause a delay of several weeks for people registering their watercraft this year.

Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins urges those registering a boat to begin the process as soon as possible in order to deal with the issue.

“In March of last year when we started issuing the new decals, the Coast Guard got involved and on many boat registrations there was a note that the HIN number — which is the same as a VIN number on an automobile — did not match,” Hoskins said. “If that was on your boat registration, then this has to be corrected before April 1 in order to renew your boat decal.”

Hoskins pointed out a boat cannot be registered without a valid HIN number. It may take several weeks to remedy the problem, so boat owners are urged to begin the process as early as possible.

“It takes a little while to solve the problem,” Hoskins said. “You have to have a pencil tracing of the HIN number, you have to give us the number and we have to check it with the Coast Guard.”

Hoskins said the HIN number can be located in a number of different locations on the boat, such as under the seats or near the motor mount at the back of the craft.

“If you can’t find it, then we have to apply for a new one and the process takes a while,” Hoskins said. “It will stop us from issuing your decal. The system stops us.”

According to Hoskins, several people in Harlan County received notice of an invalid HIN number and will need to address this issue.

“They need to look at their previous registration from last year and see if they’re going to encounter this,” Hoskins said. “If they received the notice, they need to come see us and get the process started.”

A HIN validation check can be performed https://drive.ky.gov/motor-vehicle-licensing/Pages/Boat-Titling.aspx

“We’ve never been in a situation like this,” Hoskins said.

For more information, contact the Harlan County Clerk’s Office at 606-573-3636.