How to apply boat names & graphics

Applying your own boat names is easy when you know how. Just follow our guide for a professional result.

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Tools required:

  • Meths & rags
  • Masking tape
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Craft knife
  • Spray bottle containing water and a few drops of washing up liquid
  • Firm squeegee
 1. clean surface  2. rough position

Step 1. Clean surfaces

Ensure the surface is totally clean before application. Remove any traces of old vinyl or glue (turps works well for this), then give the area a final clean with meths to remove any grease.

Step 2. Rough positioning

Position the name roughly where you’d like it to go, and tack each end in place with masking tape.

3. measure 4. mask centre

Step 3. Final positioning

Using your tape measure or ruler, precisely position the name by moving first one end, then the other. Always measure to the bottom edge of similar letters (e.g. curved-bottom letters like ‘S’ and ‘O’, or flat-bottomed letters like ‘A’ or ‘T’).

Step 4. Mask the centre

Once you have the name in place, stick a piece of masking tape right down the centreline, so it’s attached at top and bottom.

5. fold back first side 6. peel back

Step 5. Fold back one side

Remove the masking tape from either the left or right edge, then fold the name back on itself.

Step 6. Peel off backing paper

Peel the backing paper off slowly and carefully, keeping it as close to the surface of the boat as possible. You can leave the graphic folded back on itself – just tack it to the boat by folding over the top corner of the sticky backing paper.

7. cut backing  8. spray surface

Step 7. Cut away backing paper

Once you’ve peeled the backing paper off to the centre line, use a craft knife to cut it in a straight line down the centre, and get rid of the excess backing paper.

Step 8. Wet the surface

Use your spray bottle on ‘mist’ setting to lightly wet the surface you’re applying to.

9. apply first half 10. apply second half

Step 9. Apply first half

Fold the name back over so that it’s close to – but not touching – the boat’s surface. Start from the centre of the name, and work out from the centre point with your squeegee, applying with firm, even strokes.

Step 10. Apply second half

Repeat the procedure above (from Step 5) for the other half of the name.

11. wet backing  12. peel off backing tape

Step 11. Wet backing tape

Once the name is fully applied, spray the sticky backing tape lightly with water to make it easier to remove.

Step 12. Peel off backing tape

Carefully peel off the sticky backing tape. Peel the tape back on itself, keeping it as close to the surface of the boat as possible. If the graphics start to lift, squeegee them again firmly.

DSC04607And that’s it!

If there are any bubbles in your graphics, simply squeegee them out with fast, firm strokes towards the closest edge. If that doesn’t work, use a pin to pierce the bubble at its edge, then gently squeeze out the water.