My concern over the hull
number engraved on the stern and listed on my Florida
title, was correct. A rep from Catalina
researched the numbers and called today to inform me that the hull
numbers and date of production are false. Hull 4309 was not produced until the end of 1974 or early in 1975, indicating that the boat, like my friends, was stolen, probably long ago. No 1972 cat 22 was ever produced with that hull number, that is how stolen boats get registered. As long as the number you give the tax/tag does not match any other boat, you get a title. They do not do inspections.
While I am probably safe from a USCG inspection
discovering my numbers are false, I will never know when it was made. I bought it immediately because it was like new, inside and out, so who knows. My friend, knowing nothing of Federal law and HIN numbers until I informed him, would have had his boat impounded and he fined if stopped for any reason. The rivet heads were flared out and scratches show the id plate had been pried off, Big Red Flag. HIN numbers have been required to be on the upper stern or rear starboard side, on every boat since late 1972. The 1984 amendment required the builder
to place the number in a second, hidden place, so that if stolen it could be identified.
Most are not aware of how common this is. As a youngster, my friends father and uncle were pros. Every year they made a couple of trips to Florida
and returned to Oklahoma with a newer high dollar boat, got a new title and sold the boat. An easy 15 to 20 k. They were never caught. The friend later on did the same with boat trailers in San Diego
. The down side for the buyer?...my brother bought a car in New York
, was stopped for speeding, cop ran the VIN, and he was arrested. The charges were later dropped, but the car was returned to the owner and he was out the money