How to Remove Boat Stickers
To remove old Boat Names, the best way is to push a flat tool (not too sharp) against the corners of the letters to lift them. Then slowly peel the vinyl up, slowly and gently does it best, if you go too fast then either some glue will remain or the vinyl will break.
A good way to prevent breaking is to heat up the vinyl a little bit. Just facing the side of the boat, jetski or other water vessel towards the sun will usually heat up the lettering or graphics enough. Other times you will have to use a Hair Dryer (Not a Heat Gun as they are so hot they can easily destroy the boat’s surface). This heating will help the vinyl stretch instead of breaking.
How to Remove Old Boat Names – If glue is left on the boat
Next use a rag soaked in mineral turpentine to soften it. Apply to a few letters at a time, let it sit for a minute or two then you can scrape the bulk of the glue off with a fairly blunt instrument. Now you should only have a very thin layer of glue that can easily be rubbed off with the turps rag. This can be a bit messy & take a little time but is not difficult. If mineral turpentine is not working too well then you may use liqueur thinner, but test some on a safe area first, this is very strong and may damage the surface.
3M Adhesive Remover
As an alternative to mineral turpentine 3M have a range of adhesive removers that will likely do the trick. The general purpose adhesive cleaner is strong and is known to remove most adhesives – however be sure not to use this on plastics as it may cause damage. The 3M speciality adhesive remover is designed for more stubborn adhesives that use a hardener.
Stickers attach to aluminium boats particularly well, which can make them harder to remove. If heating the sticker doesn’t allow them to easily peel off then you will need to use a rotary buffer to buff them away. Make sure not to use sandpaper or metal/brass polishing discs as these may cause permanent damage.
How to Remove Old Boat Names – If there is a “ghost” of the old boat name
- You can order your new name a bit bigger, it doesn’t usually matter if the new name won’t cover the old one completely as the contrast distracts your eyes so much you won’t even notice a slight discolouration of the background surface. However the sun and oxidation will slowly bring it back to original surface tone.
- You can buy bleaching agents from marine stores especially designed for fiberglass boats that work well, you will probably have a lot left over but it’s always useful.
Removing old painted boat names
DO NOT USE PAINT STRIPPER
To remove old paint
- Sand (the painted area only) with 400 grit paper in a circular motion to remove the bulk of the paint.
- Then wet and dry the surface with 1200 grit paper.
- Cut and polish using a non-silicone based polish, then
- Buff it and
- Finally, clean the surface well with metho or prepsol before applying your new name.
If using prepsol, follow immediately (as you are going along) with a clean dry cloth.
Unfortunately removing boat registration numbers that have been painted on an inflatable boat can be quite difficult as the use of strong products such as acetone or bleach can damage the tube. There are specialised products made for cleaning inflatable boats which are likely to help. If there is no alternative you can paint over the older paint.
How to apply a new boat registration number or name sticker
Once you have successfully removed the old labelling and thoroughly cleaned the surface of the hull with soapy water you can start applying the new stickers. There may be specific instructions for the product you have purchased, but generally you can peel off the backing and slowly smooth the sticker over the surface of the boat. Rub the sticker firmly to ensure the glue has bonded.
How to get rid of air bubbles
If you’ve noticed there are some air bubbles trapped under your stickers you will need to fix this as soon as possible as it is likely to affect their longevity. The easiest way to do this is by using a strong card to push the air bubbles out. If worse comes to worse you can use a needle to poke a hole in the sticker to release the trapped air.