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What Year Is My Mercury Outboard? [Inc. VIN Chart]

It is important to know what year your outboard was manufactured with its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You might be thinking, where do I find that information? We conducted thorough research about this and put together helpful information for you.

The manufacturing year of your Mercury outboard is pretty easy to read. On the second row of the ID tag, you will see a 4-digit set that refers to the year of manufacture.

The VIN is usually called HIN or Hull Identification Number in boats. It is commonly situated at the transom's starboard side. The 9th and 10th characters of the HIN are the manufacturing date of the boat.

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In the following sections, we will elaborate on the relevant information about your motor and boat. If you are interested to know more, then continue scrolling.

A mercury marine outboard motor, What Year Is My Mercury Outboard? [Inc. VIN Chart]

How To Find Your Mercury Outboard Year And Serial Number

The year your Mercury outboard was manufactured and its serial number are usually found on a tag located at the port or starboard side of the swivel bracket.

You can also find the manufacturing year on the instruction plate if the tag is unclear. You can find this plate between the thumb screws above the steering tube.

The tag will provide your outboard's details from top to bottom: serial number, year of manufacture, model number, maximum RPM, horsepower, and weight.

It is vital to take note of your outboard's serial number and year model. These details are required when repairing or replacing your motor's parts.

Merely referring to the manufacturing year is not enough.

However, trying to interpret the serial number is futile. This is because Mercury outboards do not have a year-to-serial scheme.

The Mercury outboard's serial number is mainly used for finding compatible replacement parts. You can search for parts using your serial number through their website.

What Else You Need To Know About An Outboard's Tag

Apart from the serial number and year of production, the outboard's ID tag also reflects the engine's horsepower. This is important because there are restrictions to be noted.

Depending on your state, the U.S. State Boating Laws have consolidated the age requirement to operate a recreational sea craft.

For example, Kentucky requires an operator to be 12 years old to operate at least a 10-horsepower vessel.

This is quite lenient compared to Indiana, where the operators aged 16 years and above must possess a valid motor vehicle driver's license to operate the same 10hp vessel.

How To Read A Boat's VIN

The HIN is a code unique to each recreational boat. This is useful in instances where your boat is for recall. Using the HIN, boat registration, titling, and ensuring are other vital activities.

That is why it is crucial to learn how to read your HIN.

The HIN is usually comprised of 12 characters. It contains four details: The manufacturer, serial number, manufacturing date, and model year.

The Manufacturer

The first three characters of the HIN are the Manufacturer's Identification Code (MIC). Domestic and foreign-built boats are mandated by federal law to obtain a unique MIC.

The HIN may have a country code represented by two letters before the MIC for boats built abroad. You can search your boat's manufacturer through the U.S. Coast Guard's boating website.

Manufacturer's Serial Number

This serial number is somewhere between 4 to 8 characters long and can be a letter-number combination. However, letters I, O, and Q are not allowed in this portion because of their similarities to numerical figures.

Date Of Manufacture

The format of the date depends on the year the vessel was manufactured. For boats manufactured from November 1972 to July 1984, the Straight Year Format and Model Year Format was used.

But by August 1, 1984, only the New (Current) Format is recognized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

The present format represents the manufacturing date by a letter and number. The letters from A to L represent the months from January to December.

This indicates the month the boat was built.

Letter Month
A January
B February
C March
D April
E May
F June
G July
H August
I September
J October
K November
L December

The number is the last digit of the year the boat was manufactured. The year indicated cannot be earlier than the year of assembly and not later than its exit from the manufacturer's place.

Model Year

Typically, the year of manufacture is the same as the model year. But, there are cases where you encounter that the two are not the same.

This could mean that the boat model for the given year was built in the latter part of the preceding year.

The HIN must be located where it is still visible even when the boat is in the water. Usually, you can find it on the starboard side of the transom. But, if the boat does not have a transom, the HIN must be at the rear, right side of the hull.

Apart from the transom or hull, the HIN must be displayed in a second location. This can either be beneath a hardware item or on an unexposed area in the boat's interior.

Defacing, altering, or removing the HIN is considered illegal.

Tips For Boat Buyers

One way to enjoy the pleasure of the open seas is to go boating. If you are an aspiring boat owner, then the following tips in boat buying can help guide you:

1. Select your watercraft type

Young couple watches a motor boat that they intend to buy

You must first figure out the type of boat you want to own. Your purpose for buying will greatly affect your choice.

For example, if your reason for buying is fishing, you have to determine if you want to fish in fresh or salt water and if you wish to the specialized or generic kind.

With these differences in function and build also comes the disparity in price. So the budget is also a major consideration when choosing.

2. Decide whether to buy a new or used vessel

The internet is a good place to shop for used and brand-new boats. You have to realize that used boats may perform just as well as new ones for a lesser price.

The HIN will tell the buyer what year it was built for used boats.

Then there is also the matter of taxes. The sales tax rate differs in each state and depends on the sale price. So, study your options carefully, and look up your local laws on boat purchases.

3. Search listings, contact a broker, or go to boating shows

People visitors and managers staff at the Mercury exhibition stand with boat and outboards

When you're ready to look at boats, the internet is the store to look for best buys. Online shopping will give you virtual access to different models, prices, and boat tours.

Of course, one pitfall of online shopping is getting ripped off with fake photos. To avoid these disappointments, here are some tips when scouting for boats online:

  • Look at other similar boat postings and compare the details from one to another. Note the boat's features, like the stock dealer equipment list, and spot the difference. Consider this a red flag if sale postings miss important details about a particular boat.
  • If you buy from a dealer or broker, ensure they have reputable business dealings.
  • Be cautious of boats that require a lot of updating. They may be cheap upon purchase, but modernizing their equipment will cost you.

Once you have made your choice, the next move is to go for an in-person visit to see if your choice is as good as advertised.

4. Insist on an inspection and trial drive before purchasing

Hand of captain on steering wheel of motor boat on canal

Conducting a thorough inspection of the boat will ensure a good purchase. Take a walk around the boat for a closer look.

Do a quick 10-minute walk around to study the boat's coat, deck and fittings, helm station, cabins, windows, engine, and other hardware.

Next, anyone serious about buying a boat will insist on a sea trial. This is an opportunity to test speed and maneuverability. You also have to check for vibrations and other equipment that can only be tested when in water.

You will also need to prepare for the pre-survey purchase. A surveyor conducts this to check the boat and its system's condition and determine its overall value.

The inspection is limited and will not warrant the surveyor disassembling parts.

Finally, before sealing the deal, research some more. Read reviews, visit chatrooms, and solicit opinions from knowledgeable friends. Be critical about your purchase, and do not leave anything to chance.

5. Seal the deal

American men with documents and keys near the yachts in the seaport

When ready to purchase, come to an agreed price with the seller. Try not ta make your emotions too obvious. The more you show interest in the boat, the higher the seller's price.

Also, check the paperwork checks out. Make sure that the person selling you the boat is the registered owner. Do not forget to ask if there are any outstanding liens on the boat.

You will also need to comply with the requirements for the transfer of ownership.

To Finish

To sum up, an outboard's serial number, manufacturing year, and boat's HIN are essential details for the owner to secure. It is used for significant transactions.

From buying replacement parts, licensing, insuring, and even selling your boat, these details carry the main role.

If you lose these details, you can acquire the information you need from the outboard company's website. You can also search for a boat's details on the USCG boating website.

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