Home boating How To Prep Your Boat For Painting

How To Prep Your Boat For Painting


Every once in a while, you may want to tune your boat giving it that look you have been eyeing for years. One of the aspects of tuning your boat is giving it the best paint job that makes your machine stand out at the docks.

Many first-time boat owners think it is an easy job doing a paint job. Something seasoned sailors would differ with. When you have decided to paint your boat, there are necessary steps you may need to follow to get the best out of the exercise. These steps will also help you maximize the budget you have set up for the entire process.

Many people are looking to take out their boats for a ride with restrictions on the movement being loosened across the country. Due to weathering, some of the boats may need a paint job. The key to any successful paint job is hidden in the preparation. Taking the right preparatory measures is positioning yourself for an outstanding paint job. You could either decide to do the job on your own or enlist a professional boat painter’s services to realize your dream.

Like any other tune-up job, painting a boat requires adequate research and budgeting. A poorly done job may become a costly affair having to redo the entire process. Research helps to mitigate such potential outcomes by providing you with the necessary insights into the entire process. Research is an integral part of the preparation process as it will also allow you to come up with a working budget to shoulder the cost of the entire paint job.

Paint Options

Before taking the bold step to begin the work, it is best to do your research on the different types of paints that work best for your boat. There are two types of pints that you can use to paint your boat, hard and soft paint. Both paint options have compositions that deter marine life from settling on your boat. When choosing what paint to use, it is wise to chat with other boat owners in your area to know the types of paint they use and which one works best for them.

Preparation Process

Getting down to business, carefully go through the necessary tools that you may need. One of the most important tools is a well-oiled aurand deck growler and a carbide scraper. Other components of the process may include 80 grit sandpaper and thinners. For personal protection, you may need safety goggles, gloves and a bunny suit.


Immediately after pulling out, you should pressure wash the boat when it is still wet to remove any traces of marine particles and other impurities from the surface. This will ease your work rather than waiting for the boat to dry off before washing.

Repairs And Hardware

After washing, remove all the hardware that is detachable, like rails, cleats vents and even wood trims on the boat. You can then repair surface dents and imperfections on the boat, like chips and gouges.

Getting Rid Of The Old Paint

On the surface of the boat, it is best to use a deck crawler to remove the paint and primers. The crawler works efficiently, removing all the top paint without damaging the gel coating. For the bottom, a sharp carbide scraper will suffice.

When using the scrapper, it is advisable to round over the corners to prevent them from damaging the gel coating. Removing old paint has several tricks that can be used. You could use an abrasive material forced out of a nozzle under high pressure to blast paint off the boat. Some of the commonly used abrasive materials are sand, bicarbonate soda and even ice pellets.


Use an 80grit sandpaper for sanding the entire boat. Sanding helps to clean off the top coating, leaving a uniform matte surface that paint can adhesively attach. After finishing sanding, spray water lightly on the surface; the water should not bead up and if it does, keep sanding. To ensure no residue is left after sanding, use a vacuum cleaner to remove all traces of sanding.

Using Thinners

After scraping off the old paint and sections of loose paint, use a thinner to wipe the boat, removing any traces of oil or grease on the boat. When choosing a solvent was or thinner, use a type that your paint manufacture suggests as this will work best with their paint brand. An oily surface will interfere with the ability of the paint to stick.

After cleaning the surfaces, bring in your antifouling paint and let it dry. This paint is designed to ward off marine microorganisms that may make camp on your boat surfaces and bottom. Repaint the boat the maximum number of times specified by the paint you are using. Boat paint works by wearing off.

Research states that most manufacturers advise that you should paint your boat with three layers of ablative paint, each of different color. The first coat should be different from the rest as an indicator to you on areas that paint is wearing.

you should be present at every step of the process to minimize side steps. Out in the water, your boat’s paint will wear out unevenly, with areas of high water wearing out faster than sections with low flow. Taking all these into account, seek to do the necessary research to help your next paint job to be long lasting.