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Under 46 U.S.C. 4302, the Coast Guard is authorized to promulgate regulations that require the display of a HIN on recreational boats as part of the Coast Guard's boating safety requirements. HINs are used in recall notification campaigns to identify all boats that may contain a defect which creates a substantial risk of personal injury to the public or fail to comply with required recreational boating safety standards. Accurate HINs are an important tool in recall campaigns.
When originally adopted in 1972, 33 CFR 181.25 required that boats display a 12-character HIN. Characters 1-3 consisted of the manufacturer identification number. Characters 4-8 consisted of the manufacturer serial number specific for that boat. Characters 9-12 could indicate either the boat's date of certification or model year. Also, as originally adopted, 33 CFR 181.3 defined the term “model year” to mean “the period beginning August 1 of any year and ending on July 31 of the following year. Each model year is designated by the year in which it ends.”
This notice deals with the portion of the HIN that indicates a boat's model year. Since the HIN requirement was originally adopted, the Coast Guard has received numerous comments and suggestions regarding whether and how HINs should indicate the boat's model year. In 1983, the Coast Guard changed the HIN requirement with respect to characters 9-12 to the current regulatory requirement as follows: Characters 9-10 indicate the month and year of certification, when certification is
Some manufacturers desire more flexibility to vary the introduction date of the new model year from year to year, and argue that the current regulatory definition of “model year” prevents them from doing so. We attempted to address this issue in a rulemaking effort that commenced in 1994 and ended in 2000. On May 6, 1994, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding HIN requirements that included a proposal to remove the regulatory definition of “model year” altogether in response to manufacturer calls for flexibility (
The definition of “model year” for HIN purposes and the requirement to indicate model year as part of the HIN continue to remain issues of concern to multiple interests. We are reconsidering whether the regulatory requirement to indicate model year as part of the HIN advances boating safety. Therefore, we are seeking public comments on how to address these issues. We encourage public comment on these issues in general, and particularly request public comments on any or all of the following specific questions:
1. Should Coast Guard regulations retain the current definition of “model year” in 33 CFR 181.3?
2. Should Coast Guard regulations revert to a previous HIN format that did not specify model year, but simply indicated the date of certification or date of completion of the boat by month and year (e.g., “0612” to indicate June 2012)?
3. Should Coast Guard regulations change the definition of “model year” in 33 CFR 181.3 as proposed in the February 17, 1997 SNPRM to mean “the calendar year (January 1 through December 31) of, or the calendar year following (1) The boat's date of manufacture; or (2) If the boat is required to be certified, its date of certification”?
4. Should Coast Guard regulations replace the definition of “model year” in 33 CFR 181.3 with some other definition?
5. Should the Coast Guard delete the current definition of model year, revert to a previous HIN format that did not specify model year but simply showed the date of certification or date of production of the boat by month and year, and allow the manufacturer the option of adding a model year designation separate from the HIN, e.g. ABC123450412  (showing the boat was completed in April of 2012 and the manufacturer has determined it to be a 2013 model)?
6. In what ways does the requirement to indicate model year as part of the HIN advance boating safety?
We request comments from all interested parties to ensure that we identify the full range and significance of these issues.
This notice is issued under authority of 46 U.S.C. 4302, 5 U.S.C. 552(a), 33 CFR 1.05-1, and DHS Delegation 0170.1(92).