Are you looking to join offshore racing or engage in America’s Cup? Then you need your boat wrapped with graphics that show the names of your sponsors. Or, do you simply want your watercraft to look brand new everyday?
Whether you’re a captain of a professional fisherman boat, an avid leisure yacht owner or a fanatic of high performance MTI boat, you will certainly benefit from getting a wrap for that head turner watercraft makeover.
The History of Vinyl Wrapping for Boats
Two decades ago, boat names and hulls were all painted. Boat owners used paint whenever they want the topsides of their boat to look new again. They use paint when the gel coating of their boat is no longer good for sand and polish. Long ago, paint was used to change the color of the hull. Just like with cars, a paint job is usually expensive. It was only starting in 2015 that people have seen so many yacht hulls wrapped with vinyl.
Today, the use of vinyl as an alternative to paint has gained the attention of all watercraft owners. The use of vinyl for designing boats are no longer limited to yachts. In fact, shops that offer vinyl wraps for boats are everywhere. Perhaps, all types of boats these days can use vinyl for wrapping.
Why Do You Need to Wrap the Boat?
If your smartphone has a screen protector to ensure its original screen remains unblemished for years to come, your boat, which is likely to be far more expensive than your smartphone should also receive much protection. This is why a lot of owners are willing to spend thousands of dollars just to have their boats wrapped in vinyl.
These vinyl wraps will protect your boat from exterior damage. Not to mention the fact that vinyl wraps can also increase the value of your boat.
Benefits of Using Vinyl Wrap for Boats
Generally, vinyl wrap comes in around one third of the cost of a gel coat repaint or a custom airbrush. Vinyl is often cheaper than linear polyurethane and other traditional paints used for painting decks, hulls, interiors and cabin furniture.
Vinyl wrapping only takes a couple of days to complete. If you need to change the color or match the color of the wrap design to your boat, set aside one day for that to complete. It takes one day for printing the whole design, one day for curing and laminating the material and then one day for the installation process.
More Opportunities to Customize
There are times when a person gets a smoking deal on a certain boat, may it be a yacht, speedboat or catamaran, but he doesn’t like the color. Therefore, the use of vinyl wrap gives people the opportunity to choose funky colors and personalize it according to their preferred theme.
Maintains resale value
Vinyl wrap these days also has improved significantly. It is able to maintain the resale value of the boat because it has the ability to protect the gelcoat or paint. The vinyl wrap can be easily removed in case the owner needs to when it is time to sell it.
Ease in Maintenance
Another reason why vinyl wrapping has become a hit among the boat owners community is the fact that it is so easy to maintain. A boat that has been wrapped with vinyl only needs to be washed and rinsed and then dried off using a chamois. And, in an instant you already have a spic and span looking boat without the hassle of applying wax on it.
Easy to Remedy
With a vinyl wrap, it becomes so easy to remedy scratches and divots. You only need to use a Bondo filler or an epoxy to smooth it out. Then, feather it and voila! Nobody can tell that a scratch or some blemishes were there soon after the wrap was installed. Vinyl is formulated in a way that it sticks easily on enamel paints and gelcoat.
How Much Does Vinyl Wrapping Cost?
How much a boat wrap costs will depend on several factors such as the following:
The size of the boat is the first factor to consider when determining the price of the wrap. Needless to say, the larger your boat, the higher the cost will be for wrapping it.
Note that in most cases wrap installers will calculate the costs based on the feet measurement of the boat and not its square footage.
A ballpark figure for vinyl wrapping a 14-foot boat will be about $1,400. On the other hand, wrapping an 18-foot boat will have you spending around $2,400. Wrapping a large 45-foot boat will cost you about $4,100.
The type of the boat that will be wrapped is also another factor to consider. Is it a speed boat, cabin cruiser, or bass boat? Note that the type of the boat determines the complexity of the process. The amount of wrap needed will depend on the overall shape of your boat.
The boat could have plenty of contours, crevices and corners. This makes the entire process of wrapping so complicated.
Vinyl wrapping a 12-16 trailer boat will cost you about $800, while a YellowFin yacht could have you spending as much as $4,000.
Color and Graphics
The color and graphics design will also affect the pricing of the vinyl wrap. Some boat owners prefer a single-color wrap to make the boat look as if it is newly painted. Others prefer to have specific graphics design for their boat. The design could have different logos or prints according to the owner’s preference.
These graphics will either reflect the personality of the owner or the values of the company where the boat belongs to. Single-color designs will cost less than the one with plenty of graphics.
If you are keen on having a design that matches your company or website logo, look for a boat wrap installer that has a team of graphic designers who can work on customizing your boat wrap design.
Regardless of the boat’s make, year or length, the best wrap installers can custom tailor the design to fit every boat owner’s needs and preferences.
Full, Partial or Interior
The design of the wrap also dictates its cost. As a boat owner, you have to decide whether you want a partial, interior or full wrap. Generally, wrapping half the boat would also mean you will only pay half the amount of a full vinyl boat wrap. Although the exact cost does vary from one installer to another.
What are the differences between the full, half and interior wraps?
Full Exterior Wrap
A full exterior wrap will cover and protect the entire hull of the boat. It works much like marine paint in protecting the beauty of the boat. Many boat owners prefer the large and solid colored wraps such as dark blue or white. However, if you are looking to have your boat as a floating advertisement, it is better to choose full graphic wraps. This is the kind of wrap that gives your boat a stunning 360 degrees visuals.
Partial Exterior Wrap
This will be your best option if you just want to add accents to the hull of the boat.This kind of wrap will not cover the entire hull. But you can still choose your preferred design or image that will be used to be able to get the finish you desire.
Although interior wraps are not as common as exterior wrap, this option is more popular among owners of fishing vessels. The vinyl interior wrap will make the boat’s interior easier to clean. And, just like the full and half exterior wraps, interior wraps can still be customized according to inner contours of your boat.
The vinyl material used for wrapping the boat may also vary from each shop and different wrap materials also come in different prices.
If you prefer to have a fancier looking wrap design such as the urban camo or abstract relief all around the hull, or the geo flames along the topsides of your boat’s center console, your best bet would be the topnotch boat wrap providers.
These shops should have a proven track record for creating stunning boat wrap designs. They will design the boat wrap graphics on a computer before having it printed on the wrap.
Generally, the vinyl used for wrapping your boat doesn’t come with a protective layer. So, the boat wrap shop will need to add a protective coating or layering soon after it’s printed. This is to ensure that the wrap will last despite extreme exposure to the salty air, salt water, sun and wind.
Other Factors that Affect Vinyl Boat Wrapping Cost
Other factors that affect the cost of boat wrapping include special finishes and the shipping fee. For example, if you want your boat to have a special finish such as carbon or chrome, you will have to pay extra for this. Moreover, your proximity to the shop also matters a lot.
If the shop where you want your boat to be wrapped is just located within your locality then chances are high that you won’t have to pay for shipping especially if you have a big truck which can carry your boat there. However, if the shop is located in a different city then be prepared to pay a huge amount for shipping fee.
Frequently Asked Questions about Boat Wrapping
How much does wrapping a boat cost?
So how much does it cost? Here is a boat wrap price guide from all that we could find in our research. Sample ballpark costs for vinyl wrapping a boat:
18-foot catamaran = $2,400
18-foot center fishing console boat = $1,800
24-foot speedboat = $3,000
Marine boat wraps:
Half wrap kit= $2,000 (plus installation and shipping fee)
Full wrap kit= $3000 (plus installation and shipping fee)
It’s easy to see that the cost mainly depends on the boat length. Now you have the answers to your question, how much does it cost to wrap a boat.
How long does a boat wrap last?
How long a vinyl boat wrap lasts will also depend on several factors. The climate where the boat will be used can affect the longevity of the wrap. The type of vinyl used for wrapping also affects how long it will last. Vinyl wraps come in different brands.
Examples of these are the 3M™ 2080 Series, Avery Dennison® SW 900 and ORACAL® 970RA 975. The third factor that affects the durability and longevity of vinyl wraps is the adhesive used for applying it on the boat.
Some vinyl manufacturers claim that their vinyl brand lasts for twelve years. Some shops make use of a UV protection to ensure that the vinyl lasts longer.
Many shops use permanent adhesives that can last for seven years or longer. There are also adhesives that do not last too long such as the one used for short-term wrapping. This option is provided to boats that will be carrying the logo of a specific sponsor where the person running the boat will only be using it only within a specific season.
So, in case the owner changes the name of the sponsor, or just wanted to change its color, a short-term adhesive is used when wrapping the boat.
It will also depend on the kind of color used when printing the graphics of the wrap. Black and white colors that have been applied on a vertical surface and used in temperate climates have more chances of lasting for more than seven years.
However, pearlescents and metallic colors may not last that long. Besides, any vinyl that has been adhered on an exterior horizontal surface usually does not last longer than the ones adhered on the vertical surface.
The intense heat of the sun can also take years off the life of the vinyl wrap.
Are boat wraps worth it?
Wrapping the boat not only serves to rejuvenate the looks of your boat. Every dollar spent on having your boat vinyl wrapped will definitely be worth it considering that it also increases the value of your vessel. And, if you are using these wraps to advertise your business or sponsor, your chances of getting a high return of investment will also skyrocket with the help of vinyl wraps.
Is it cheaper to wrap or paint?
As mentioned earlier in this article, a vinyl wrap is cheaper than a paint job much less a custom airbrush work.
The graphics design of the wrap will truly set your boat apart from any other boats in the marina, boat dock or river. Nothing beats the feeling of being on board a good-looking boat. So, choose your vinyl boat wrap shop wisely.