June 25, 2020

Before and After Vinyl WrapWrapping your hull with marine vinyl wrap instead using traditional marine paint seems like a new trend for the West Coast but it has been common in Europe, New Zealand, and Australia for quite some time. Similar to the vehicle wrapping process, marine vinyl wrapping is an alternative way to refresh faded gelcoat hulls or tired paint at a fraction of the cost and time of a new paint job. Most smooth exterior surfaces can be wrapped including super structures or cabins. An experienced and trained installer is recommended. Seam lines, edge sealing, and bias cut are all important factors in ensuring a perfect wrap. High quality suppliers such as 3M and Avery offer a wide range of vinyl colours. The vinyl is not printed with colour but is solid colour throughout. It lasts longer than design prints which are printed colour on white.

1. To prepare the hull for wrapping any scratches or spidercracks must be fixed first. The vinyl will mimic the surface below so any indentations on the smooth surface will show including old decals. A simple fill and fairing is usually all that is required. The hull is then cleaned to prepare for the vinyl. The wrap is installed from waterline to rub rail. Edges are sealed and if needed bottom paint is applied.

The cost to wrap your hull is lower due to the amount of time needed to finish the job. The vinyl wrap is not necessarily less expensive than paint but the labour and time to install the product is considerably less than painting. It is often just days rather than weeks. This means less time for boat storage and yards costs too.

Applying the WrapThe life span of a vinyl wrapped hull is comparable to a marine paint job at five to seven years. As with a paint job, the vinyl wrap will last longer depending on how the boat is stored and cared for. Overall, longevity will depend on a number of circumstances including climate, vessel care, and type of vinyl chosen. Mild soap and water is the best solution for keeping your hull looking fresh.

Accidents can happen and if you have a small tear due to docking or other mishaps it is easy to repair this immediately. You can patch the area with a matching piece of vinyl. You cannot see this patch unless you are very close. Rarely is it visible while the boat is on the water. For larger repairs it is best to contact an experienced installer. They will reapply the vinyl in the best way possible to avoid large visible seams.

Interior wraps are quickly becoming popular as a simple way to update or add new aesthetics to your boat. Update the look of your galley or change the wood grain with 3M’s DI-NOC Architectural Finishes. Available in a selection of wood grains, metallics, faux stone, or metallic look vinyls. A fast renovation without messy sanding or lingering toxic smells.

Sailboat Before and AfterWhile recreational boats have been the mainstay of the marine vinyl wrap business, commercial businesses are seeing the value in the fast turn-around time of a vinyl wrap. Fishing lodges, tourism boats, and water taxis can refresh their boats without long drydock time. Back on the water means back in business.

Next time you are walking the dock and see a glistening hull in the sunshine, check it out. It just might be a vinyl wrap hull.

For West Coast boaters, WrapBoats.ca is located in Richmond, BC and offers mobile service to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. They wrap recreational boats and yachts, commercial vessels, and marine interiors. Contact: 604-355-3811 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information or an online estimate go to www.wrapboats.ca.

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