Applying vinyl graphics as boat decals ranks as a methodical do-it-yourself project. To learn more, we sought guidance from Chris Youngash, owner of Wrap Works (wrapworks.com) in Costa Mesa, California, and a 15-year industry veteran. We followed along as he installed a boat name on a Pathfinder Tournament 2200 bay boat while it sat on a trailer.
In ordering a graphic, make sure the shop utilizes high-performance cast-vinyl material, Youngash says. It is less likely to shrink than the vinyl used at a neighborhood sign shop, and it’s UV stabilized. Both parameters are critical in a marine environment.
Cost depends on the size, colors and complexity. The 11-by-72-inch digital print we installed cost $125. Most vinyl-graphic shops also offer design services (minimum $75 at Wrap Works) to guide you, either in person or via email, in creating a graphic that meets your desires, fits the space and complements your boat. Today’s digital print technology allows you to integrate vivid images and create virtually any concept you wish.
Skill Level: 4/5
Time to Completion: 1.5 Hours
Tools and Supplies
* 11-by-72-inch vinyl boat name ready to apply ($125 per side; wrapworks.com)
* Flexible plastic squeegee (included with decal)
* 70-percent isopropyl alcohol ($2.27/16-ounce bottle; cvs.com)
* Spray bottle
* Microfiber towels
* Tape measure
* Grease pencil
* Masking tape
* X-Acto knife
* Seal-It-Pen ($11.60; image1impact.com)
Using a Seal-It-Pen along the edges of a decal helps prevent the vinyl from peeling or lifting. While this colorless adhesive dries in 15 minutes, it is best to wait 48 hours for the adhesive in the vinyl decal to fully cure before you go boating again.