Applying Boat Lettering

By Michael Vatalaro
Published: April/May 2013

Here are two easy methods to apply vinyl lettering or graphics to your boat.

The Wet Method

1. Apply two pieces of masking tape to the edges of the graphic. Then place the graphic on the clean transom or boat side where it will be applied. Measure the graphic using the bottom of the first and last letter on the same plane.

2. Once the graphic is in the location you want, mark the corners in masking tape.

3. After you have marked the area, remove the graphic from the boat and spread the graphic on a smooth, clean surface with the paper side up.

4. Carefully pull backing paper away from the transfer tape. Don't let the graphic blow in the wind.

5. After removing the backing paper, spray the sticky side of the graphic and transfer tape with the soap and water solution. Wet the entire area thoroughly.

6. Once you have sprayed the graphic, spray the transom or side of the boat where the graphic will be applied. The soap and water solution allows you to slide the graphics around for proper placement, so don't be shy with the spraying.

7. Place the graphic in the desired location. As long as both the graphic and the boat are wet, the letters can be slid into position.

8. When the graphics are in position, squeegee the letters to push the air and water out from under the vinyl.

9. The graphic will need at least an hour to dry in place after you finish squeegee-ing. High humidity will increase drying time.

10. After the graphic has dried, remove the transfer tape by pulling it back from the corners and over itself. Do not pull away from the boat as this could lift the lettering. If you find any air bubbles, prick them with a pin or razor blade and push the air out with your fingernail.

Download a PDF copy of the Wet Installation Steps.

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