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 Dry 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, run a piece of masking tape vertically down the center of the lettering to hold it in place.

3. Lift one side of the lettering from the boat, and pull the paper backing off up to the center line of the masking tape.

4. Using scissors, cut the backing paper away from the lettering at the center line.

5. Once the backing paper is removed, pull lightly on the lettering and squeegee outward from the centerline. Be careful to use an even pull to keep it straight. Press firmly with the squeegee to remove any air bubbles trapped under the lettering.

6. Remove the center line tape and the rest of the backing paper on the other side of the lettering.

7. Squeegee outwards from the center as you did in Step Five.

8. Once the lettering is applied, squeegee the entire graphic with hard pressure to attach it to the boat.

9. Remove the transfer tape by pulling it back over itself. Do not pull away from the boat as this can lift the graphics.

Photo of Curiosity

10. Pop any trapped air bubbles with a pin or razor blade and push the air out with your fingernails. You're done.End of story marker

Download a PDF copy of the Dry Installation Steps.

| 1 | 2 | 3

Want to see how your boat name would look? Check out our free easy to use online tool.


 Recommended Articles
Gray rule

Thumbnail illustration angering the GodsJenny Takes Days Off

Changing a boat's name is easy, with a little help from the gods

Thumbnail photo of pliersTrials Of The Docking Derby

A pleasant day's sail takes an unexpected turn but quick thinking saves the day

Thumbnail tornado illustrationTornado Alert!

We may have been safer during that tornado in our well-anchored, well-built boat than in a typical house!


BoatUS Magazine Is A Benefit Of BoatUS Membership

Membership Also Provides:

  • Subscription to the print version of BoatUS Magazine
  • 4% back on purchases from West Marine stores or online at
  • Discounts on fuel, transient slips, repairs and more at over 1,000 businesses
  • Deals on cruises, charters, car rentals, hotel stays and much more ...
  • All For Only $24 A Year!

Join Today!