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Boat Lettering vs Boat Decals

Whether you're looking for custom boat lettering for your boat name or registration number or a little more complex and creative design to add some flair, you've come to the right place!
Boat Lettering

Boat Lettering

  • Pre-cut from a solid color vinyl material
  • 39 colors available
  • Individual letters
  • Pre-masked and pre-spaced
  • Uses: individual lettering & simple 1-3 color graphics
  • Gradients, shadows, borders, slants, etc. not possible.
Boat Decals

Boat Decals

  • Printed full color onto adhesive vinyl
  • No color limitations
  • Can be cut to shape but no individual letters
  • Protective backing with no transfer tape
  • Uses: complex graphics
  • Gradients, shadows, borders, slants, etc. possible.

Learn more about our lettering and decals below, get started using our online design tool or contact us today for free design services for using custom fonts and graphics!

Please note that we do not offer full or partial boat wraps nor any boat striping that runs the length of the boat.

Boat Lettering

Color Palette

Pre-spaced and pre-masked for easy installation our custom boat lettering is perfect for boat names, hail ports, and registration numbers. Crafted from high-quality vinyl adhesive, our boat lettering is designed to withstand the elements while providing a vibrant color palette to decorate your boat with.

Boat lettering can also include simple graphics as part of your design. More complex graphics should be created with our custom boat decals detailed further below.

(Text effects such as gradients, shadows, borders, slants, etc. are not possible with boat lettering. For these effects please use our boat decals.)


Boat Lettering Templates


Principessa Cut Vinyl

Installation

Because your boat lettering is both pre-spaced and pre-masked with transfer tape it can be installed within minutes.

More info

First, make sure your boat is clean and free of wax and polish as well as out of the water before starting the installation. Further, do not install any lettering (or decals) on paint that is not cured. Lastly, air and boat surface temperatures that lead to greatest success when applying your lettering are between 60 and 90 F.

The first step to applying the lettering is to clean the surface of the boat (with boat or glass cleaner) where the application will be placed and then allowing it to dry. To apply the lettering, place it with both the protective backing and pre-masked transfer tape still attached to the lettering onto the boat. This can be done by using painters tape or masking tape to hold the lettering in place, typically along the top edge. You can now slowly remove the protective backing of the lettering so that the adhesive side of the lettering is exposed. As you slowly peel away that backing, apply pressure to the lettering to ensure it adheres properly (it’s best to use a squeegee to do so - start from the top and work toward the bottom). After the backing has been completely removed and the lettering is fully applied to the boat, slowly remove the pre-masked transfer tape, which sits on top of your lettering, to complete the installation. Our step by step video of how to install window lettering is the same installation process for boat lettering. This installation process is the very similar to our vinyl lettering installation, check out the video of how to install your boat lettering here.

Care

Boat lettering can be cleaned using water and a non-abrasive cloth.

More info

Do not use strong cleaners or power washers to clean the lettering, this could damage or remove the lettering from the boat. Likewise, power buffers when applying wax or polish to the boat’s surface can also cause the boat lettering to come off of your boat. Due to the nature of boating and water activities, it is necessary to clean the lettering after each outing.


Boat Decals

Carpe Boat Decal

Our durable boat decals are perfect for detailing your boat with custom designs and images. Made from a highly adhesive vinyl, boat decals are specifically designed for long-lasting use on boats and in any weather.

Boat decals can be cut to the shape of your design or desired graphic. Lettering and more complex images or designs can be done with our boat decals but the lettering will not be cut out individually like our boat lettering.

Lettering on a boat decal will also not be pre-masked but can be printed in any color and can include text effects that boat lettering does not allow for.


Boat Decal Templates


Swordfish Boat Decal

Installation

Before application, clean the area of the boat (with boat or glass cleaner) you will apply the decal to. You not only want to remove any dirt and grime from the surface but your boat should also be clean of any wax or polish in order to correctly install your graphics.

More info

Before installation, you should also ensure that any paint is fully cured. Applying your decal to uncured paint can permanently damage your boat’s paint job. Lastly, air and boat surface temperatures that lead to greatest success when applying your decals are between 60 and 90 F.

To apply, remove the protective backing and position it on the boat. Before applying pressure to the decal, you can temporarily reposition the decal to make sure it is in the desired location. Use a squeegee to permanently adhere the decal to the boat; this will cause the adhesive residue to release, creating the permanent bond. Before doing so you will have a limited ability to reposition your decal. We recommend carefully placing the decal in the correct position when first installed so as to not have the need to reposition the decal before applying pressure and releasing the adhesive. Allow 24 hours for the decal to dry before taking your boat out on the water.

Care

Our boat decals are designed to withstand the harsh elements of boating and inclement weather conditions. Use soap and water to remove surface dirt from the decal on a regular basis. Using power washers for cleaning and power buffers for applying wax or polish may damage the boat decal.


How to Use Boat Lettering & Decals Templates

If you want to bring out your creative side and try making your own boat lettering and decals, we have free design templates for you. Our premade templates are beginner-friendly and fully customizable—no need for a professional background in graphic design!

To get started, choose your preferred template on the page. You can do this by typing it into the search bar or by simply clicking on the template options. Once you’ve selected a template, the browser will redirect you to our online design tool.

When you pick a design template, you have the freedom to customize the design the way you want. You can add text, change the font, upload a logo, or adjust the colors. You can also upload a ready-made design if you have one.

Don’t forget to double-check your design before printing. You can do this by clicking “View Proof.” If you’re ready to save your work as a draft, click “Save,” or choose “Save & Continue” if you want to proceed to checkout.



Durability
designed for the open water
Durability
Our boat lettering and decals are crafted from the highest quality vinyl material. Highly adhesive and made to last for years, these versatile vinyl products are the ideal for both your required and desired boat graphics.
Easy Installation
install your lettering & graphics in minutes
Easy Installation
Pre-masked lettering and high-adhesive decals can easily be applied within minutes to any non-porous surface on your boat without the hassle of additional glues or heavy duty tools.
Produced Fast. Shipped Free*
next day production & free shipping
Produced Fast. Shipped Free
Why wait to decorate your boat when you can do it now? Production of your boat lettering or decals begins right after you place your order. Your product then ships the next business day. And did we mention that shipping is free on all orders over $99?
Best-in-Class Guarantees
your 100% satisfaction is our priority
Best-In-Class Guarantees
Just in case your graphic doesn’t meet your expectation, it’s backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. Think you can find the same product somewhere else at a better price? We also have price match guarantee. We value your happiness.

Additional Specs

  • Boat Lettering

    Boat Decals

  • Thickness:

    .002” (2-mil or 50 microns; about the thickness of half of a sheet of copy paper)

    .015" (about the thickness of 4 sheets of copy paper)

  • UV Resistance:

    UV protectants in the material for 5-10 years of outdoor vibrancy

    UV ink with 8-10 years of outdoor vibrancy

  • Estimated Lifespan:

    5+ years with proper installation and care

    5+ years with proper installation and care

  • Temperature Range:

    -40F to 225F

    -40F to 225F

  • Installation Method:

    Transfer Tape

    Peel and Stick

  • Print Method:

    Cut, not printed, from vinyl sheet.

    Digital. Four color process, eco-friendly, weather, fade and abrasion resistant UV ink


Reviews
4.6
Out of 5.0
  • 5 Star
    (193)
  • 4 Star
    (19)
  • 3 Star
    (9)
  • 2 Star
    (6)
  • 1 Star
    (10)
Overall Rating
89%
of customers that buy this product give it a 4 or 5-Star rating.
Verified buyer
September 19, 2022 by Larry
“Our old lettering was severely faded. We replaced it with boat decals. Easy to install and much more durable than our old ones. We love them.”
Verified buyer
September 18, 2022 by Guest ( PA )
“Great product”
Verified buyer
September 7, 2022 by Guest
“Turned out great, good quality, looking forward to putting this logo on our pontoon boat! Thank you!”
Verified buyer
July 26, 2022 by HERBERT ( NJ )
“The artwork was excellent, everything was exactly as discussed including the colors. The decals are going on the kayak today. Kelsey is my go to, for all my artwork from now on. Thanks”
Verified buyer
Boat decals July 15, 2022 by Hal ( OH )
“The decal worked perfectly, it is original, it separates my boat from the pack and it covers some scratches that were on my boat. I am happy with them.”

Questions and Answers

Viewing 1 - 10 of 39 questions
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Q:
Are boat lettering and boat decals the same thing?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
While they are both similar, they do differ in purpose and use. Boat lettering is specifically used for numbering and lettering on boats. This includes, names, registration numbers, and hailing port designation. Boat lettering is individually cut from a solid piece of vinyl material with no print on the material. Boat lettering cannot be used for printing images, intricate designs, text effects, or gradients because it is cut from one solid colored sheet of vinyl. Boat decals have your graphic printed on a high adhesive vinyl and are not made from individually cut pieces. Boat decals are not pre-masked due to the decal being a single piece of material. Having a single piece of material means that all spacing in your design will be printed onto the material and not cut into individual portions like boat lettering. Decals are designed for displaying logos and images. Images, colors, gradients, and letter effects are all printed onto the high adhesive vinyl material.
Q:
Are boat decals, boat graphics, and boat stickers the same product?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
Decals, graphics, and stickers are used interchangeably to describe our boat decal product. The purpose of decals, graphics, and stickers is the same.
Q:
What are height requirements for boat lettering?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
In most cases, boat lettering must be at least 3 inches in height and be block style letters for boat registration numbers. For hailing port identification, letters must be at least 4 inches in height but do not need to be block letters. We recommend checking or verifying local regulations for any specific height requirements.
Q:
Where is the best place on a boat to display a registration number?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
In most cases, registration numbers are required to be displayed on the forward half of the boat (known as the bow of the boat) and as high above the waterline as possible. Registration numbers must be displayed on both sides of the boat (so make sure you change your quantity to two in order to receive a number for each side of your boat).
Q:
Can boat lettering and decals be submerged for long periods of time?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
Boat lettering and decals are not intended to be submerged in the water for extended periods. Submerging lettering and decals for extended periods will deteriorate the adhesion and quality of the graphics. Only place lettering and decals above the waterline to ensure they work properly and can be seen as per local or state regulations.
Q:
With boat lettering, will all of my individual letters/design elements be placed on the same sheet of transfer tape?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:

In most cases, the individual letters contained within your boat lettering will be appropriately spaced and placed on a single sheet of transfer tape, making installation quick and simple. However, if your boat lettering exceeds 48" (for colors black and white) or 24" (for all other colors) in both width and height, your lettering will be split and placed onto two sheets of transfer tape. You will also receive your boat lettering in multiple sheets if you are using three or more different colors. In this case, each separate color will be grouped together on its own sheet.

Q:
What is a hailing port? Do I need to identify it on my boat?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
A hailing port is the port where the boat originates from. Boats are required by law to have the hailing port visible on the stern of all documented vessels in the United States. The hailing port includes a place, a state, or territory. States can be abbreviated on the boat.
Q:
Are there any laws regarding boat lettering and decals?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
Laws on boat lettering and decals can typically be found through state and local ordinances. Common laws include lettering height (at least three-inch-high block letters for registration numbers and four-inch-high for hailing port designation), spacing letters from numbers using a hyphen or space, and color of letters contrasting the color of the vessel. We recommend checking with state and local boating laws for specific regulations.
Q:
Where would I find information on registering my boat?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
Information on the boat registration process can typically be found on your state’s DMV or Parks and Wildlife website.
Q:
Do I need to register my boat?
Asked 2 years ago by Signs
A:
Regulations for boat registration can vary by state. In most cases, boats that are motorized, used as commercial vessels, or sailboats that are 14 feet long or longer must be registered.