You may have had your boat under a cover and on land for the last several months, but now that warmer weather has finally arrived, and you can start planning your trips out on the water again. If you’re thinking of a new look for the new boating season, a boat wrap or boat graphics could provide just the refresh that you’re looking for. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to applying boat graphics for an eye-catching look on the water.

Boat Graphics

Vinyl graphics vs. paint

Vinyl graphics offer a number of advantages over applying paint. If you have a complex design in mind, filled with various colours and illustrations, it will be difficult to replicate that look by having someone paint it onto your boat. Vinyl boat graphics give you greater creative freedom so you can stylize your boat just as you envision it.

In terms of durability, vinyl is generally more fade-resistant than paint. That means graphics and wraps will maintain their appearance longer than a paint job. Bear in mind though, that metallic colours on vinyl will be less fade-resistant than solid colours.

If your boat is designed for racing and you want to ensure it doesn’t get too heavy, don’t fear using vinyl graphics; the weight of a vinyl boat wrap is comparable to a spray-paint job.

Graphics below the waterline

In the case of certain vessels, graphics can be applied beneath the waterline. This usually applies to small boats that are out of the water most of the time. The better practice, however, is not to apply graphics below the waterline. If you do, you risk the possibility of water sneaking under the edges and loosening the decal.

Prepping your vessel for graphics

After your graphics are printed and ready to apply, your boat will need a good washing to create a clean surface for the vinyl to adhere to. The hull of the boat needs to be sound, with no flaking paint, no marine growth, and no mould. Where possible, hardware like handles and hooks should be removed.

If you’re going to have a wrap installed, it might also be a good idea to remove the rub rail that runs all the way around the boat. Doing so will help create a tighter fit for the wrap.

Leave it to the pros

No matter the size of your watercraft, a full-fledged boat wrap can be tricky to apply. Wraps for land vehicles can be split where doors and panels meet, which makes the application process a little easier. Boat wraps, however, usually come in one piece, and that means you’ll need patience, precision, and probably another pair of hands to do the job well.

Also keep in mind that boats are curvier than cars, so graphics need to be designed with those curves taken into account. Both designing and applying boat graphics are typically jobs that are better handed off to professionals.

Is your boat ready for a new look? Contact us to see how we can create and apply graphics to your vessel so you can stand out at the dock and on the water.