Boat Name Installation Instructions
Click here to PRINT these Instructions
Applying your vinyl graphics is simple if you follow some basic guidelines. The boat names generally come in one piece and are sandwiched between a paper layer of transfer tape and a wax layer of backing.
You will need only a few items:
  • Mildly soapy water in a spray bottle or mister. Just enough dish detergent to break the surface tension and suds up a little. Maybe three or four drops per quart.
  • A piece of hard plastic, we call a "squeegee"
  • A roll of masking tape.
  • An Exacta blade.
  • A tape measure
Wait for a nice day, unless you are a fearless pro. The worst weather is windy weather. Rain is OK, but not while you're applying. Tarp it off if you have to. Vinyl should never be applied in temperatures less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius. Also the lettering surface should be free of dirt and wax for best results. Done properly, this job will last for over seven years, (or until you sell the boat.)
1. Temporarily tape name to boat.   To get the name to go up straight, start with a piece of tape on one corner. With the backing still on the graphics (that's right, don't get ahead of yourself now!) slap it up there where you think it should go. Go ahead! You can always move it if you don't like the position
boatnamepic1.gif (1825 bytes)
1. Bring the other side into position and tack it down with another piece of tape. Use a tape measure to be sure it is level. If you have a straight edge on the paper backing to measure to, great! If not, measure from the edges of similar letters. Remember that some letters (like O's and S's) normally sink below the line of text. If you like coffee, now is the time to stand back and take a break. Breathe deeply that air of satisfaction, knowing that  
you are actually getting somewhere!boatnamepic2.gif (1606 bytes)
2. If you're lettering both sides of the vessel, pick a piece of hardware common to both port and starboard as a reference point BEFORE you begin. You'll really want to double check position of both sides before adhering either! Sometimes one side of the boat surprises you with a drain or a mystery window. Seriously! Stand back and take a moment to look.
3. "Hinge" the graphic along one of the straight edges with a long piece of tape.  Half the tape should be on the transfer paper and half on the boat. Make sure you've got a grip.
boatnamepic3.gif (1632 bytes)
4. Now when you flip the graphic back to remove the wax paper, everything stays in place. Test it! Make sure it's not getting loose on you! If you can't flip it back because you're on a curved surface, cut between the letters. See the diagram in step six below.
boatnamepic4.gif (1071 bytes)
5. Peel back the wax paper and expose the sticky side of the vinyl. Big long names sometimes call for a helper at this point, but if you have a name that can be divided into smaller sections, cut between the letters so that you're dealing with a more manageable piece of vinyl. 
boatnamepic5.gif (2890 bytes)
Separating the letters after hinging is also very helpful when lettering on curves surfaces...each letter needs to fall differently and cutting between them will assure that
you steer clear from leveling problems.boatnamepic6.gif (2890 bytes)
6. Many times it's easier to smooth out the name if you mist the adhesive backing with a little soapy water. Wetting it also prevents it from sticking immediately and the soap makes "the water wetter." Usually a wet application is good, then again, if it's too soapy and doesn't stick at all, you have to rinse some of that soap off with fresh water. Generally, use the wet application as it's easier to squeegee out water bubbles than it is to squeeze out air bubbles. When all the water evaporates out from under the name in a few days, the vinyl will adhere as if it were going up dry to start. If you're one of those daring pros, you'll start with a dry application because you know it's going to stick better right away.
boatnamepic8.gif (1610 bytes)
7. Lay the vinyl close to the hull. It won't stick if you've wet it down, especially if you don't press it too hard. It's called "pressure sensitive" vinyl which means that the harder it is pressed, the harder it sticks. Holding the free edge tautly, just off the surface , pull the squeegee across the center of the graphic to get a good center line of adhesion.
boatnamepic9.gif (2087 bytes)
8. Now you can lift one of the sides up and squeegee from the center line toward the edges. ALWAYS work from the center toward the edges!! Do this to avoid trapping air or water bubbles.
boatnamepic10.gif (2139 bytes)
9. Finish off the other half the same way (from the center to the edges, then from the middle to the top and bottom). If you started with a good centerline, the rest of the vinyl will fall into place, naturally!
boatnamepic11.gif (2098 bytes)
10. Finish by spraying down the transfer tape with that spray bottle. Squeegee a little more for good measure and let that water soak into the paper. The water not only helps you apply the vinyl smoothly, it also loosens the paper and helps to remove it without pulling the vinyl back off the boat. Pop any bubbles with a pin point and press out the air or water
Any water bubbles will evaporateboatnamepic12.gif (14320 bytes)