Boat names are as individual as boaters. When I wanted a custom look for my boat’s name, I found it wasn’t that expensive to do and it was a fun project. As a side benefit, the graphic artwork accompanying the letters disguised some annoying scratches on the hull. Can you scratch the graphics off? Sure, but it’s quick and inexpensive to have them replaced using original art files. And, when it came to applying registration decals, I stumbled onto a much more beautiful, economical and easy way to do it than by purchasing individual numbers and letters and sticking them on.
Our sign guy said he could create basic graphics for little additional cost, but I was lucky enough to have a buddy who made my evil-looking mackerel for the cost of a case of wine. After seeing the project, I only wish I’d made it a little larger. Our pair of graphics cost $175 — installed.
We also learned the same principles will let you “wrap” your boat, giving dull hull sides a new look at an economical price — and with help from the graphics cutter, you can have your boat name posted right on the hull wrap. Maybe even NASCAR it up a bit!
Choose a location for your graphics that will not interfere with dock lines, hardware or fenders — you don’t want the graphics to rub off. We set ours low to avoid rubbing the dock, but high enough that they wouldn’t be in constant contact with pressurized spray coming off the chines. Clean the area with denatured alcohol to remove wax for good adhesion.
The digitally cut graphics are sandwiched between sacrificial wax papers to hold them together while you work with them. use a spot of tape to hold one end in the approximate position, measure the distance to the chine or rub rail and duplicate the distance on the other end. If you want your graphics to be level when the boat is floating, they may need to be angled on the trailer or hoist. Take a look at a photo of your boat in the water to get a feel for the ideal position when at sea.