Registration number state abbreviations

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Nurb, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Nurb
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Location: IL

    Nurb Junior Member

    Why are state abbreviations in boats registration numbers different from the common state abbreviations?

    IL and IN are same.
    But Wisconsin WS instead of WI.
    California CF instead of CA.
    Michigan MC instead of MI.
    Mississippi is MI instead of MS.
     
  2. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    cthippo Senior Member

    Washington is WN instead of WA, but Oregon is OR.

    No idea how this came about though.
     
  3. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    DCockey Senior Member

    The state abreviations used for boat registration in the US originated with the Federal Boating Act of 1958 which allowed states to take over registering undocumented boats. The act set up the currently used system of numbers consisting of a two letter state abreviation, four numbers and two letters. I believe the Coast Guard established the state abbreviations. This was prior to the US Post Office setting up their own set of standarized state abreviations for mail addresses with the introduction of the Zip Code system in 1963. No idea why the post office adopted a different set of abbreviations.

    Prior to 1963 there were multiple abbreviations used for various states. For example Pennsylvania was abbreviated Pa, Penn and Penna.
     
  4. cthippo
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    cthippo Senior Member

    Well, there you go!
     
  5. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Poida Senior Member

    This could be the end of America as we know it.:D
     

  6. Nurb
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Location: IL

    Nurb Junior Member

    Nah, I'm afraid inventing a duplicate overlapping naming system might be the system as we know it! I wonder if the postal system was even aware of the pre-existing maritime abbreviations. In any case, thank you for the detailed explanation. I did not know the chronology before. Now that you mentioned it, I do remember my parents and grandparents using the long forms still.
     
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