View of a shabby boat with spray painted letters emphazing the need for professional boat lettering design and installation

From Hull to Stern: The Complete Guide to Boat Lettering

Ahoy to style and personality, boat lettering season is upon us! Since Wisconsin regulations require motorized vessels and boats, including trolling motors and sailboats greater than 12 feet, to be registered, you already need to plan for a decal on your boat. Why not seas the day and declare your individuality by getting custom-designed boat lettering?

For ideas and inspiration, learn more about the history, types of boat lettering, and maintenance before deciding what is right for your esteemed vessel.

Hollywood Boat Names
The Codfather
Fishin’ Impossible
Gone With the Wind


The practice of labeling boats dates back to the early days of sailing. Sailors would often paint their names or the names of their ships on the hulls of their boats. This was done for a variety of reasons, such as to identify the boat, to show ownership, or to mark the boat’s home port.

In the early 1900s, metal became popular for boat lettering This type of lettering was more durable than paint and could be easily applied to the hull of a boat. Metal lettering quickly took hold with boat owners and is still used today.

In the 1950s, vinyl lettering was introduced. Vinyl lettering is made from a durable plastic material that is easy to apply and can be easily removed if desired. Vinyl lettering quickly became popular with boat owners because it was more affordable than metal lettering and could be easily customized.

Nautical Pun Boat Names
Reel Therapy
Yeah Buoy
Knot Shore
Aboat Time
A Wave From It All

Types of Boat Lettering

Today, there are different materials that can be used when lettering a boat, including paint, metal, and vinyl lettering. Each type of lettering has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right type of lettering for your boat:

  • Paint lettering is the most traditional type of boat lettering. It is made by painting the letters directly onto the hull of the boat. Paint lettering is relatively inexpensive, but it is not as durable as other types of lettering.
  • Metal lettering is made from a durable metal material, such as aluminum or stainless steel. Metal lettering is more expensive than paint lettering, but it is more durable and can be easily applied to the hull of a boat.
  • Vinyl lettering is made from a durable plastic material that is easy to apply and can be easily removed if desired. Vinyl lettering is less expensive than metal lettering, but it is not as durable.

Financially Ironic Boat Names
Tied Down
A Loan At Last
Liquid Asset
She Got the House
Kid’s Inheritance


Whichever style of boat lettering you select, it will need maintenance in order to keep it looking its best. Here are a few tips for preserving your boat lettering:

  • Clean your boat lettering regularly: Use a mild soap and water solution to clean your boat lettering. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the lettering.
  • Wax your boat lettering: Waxing your boat lettering will help to protect it from the elements. Apply a layer of wax to your boat lettering once a year.
  • Repair any damage: If your boat lettering becomes damaged, repair it immediately. Damaged lettering can make it difficult to read and can also lead to the lettering peeling off.

Slightly Intimidating Boat Names
Pier Pressure
Water U Lookin’ At
Ship Faced
Deadliest Catch
Grim Reefer

Tips for Designing

Design is arguably as crucial as settling upon a boat name. When designing boat lettering, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Choose the right font: The font you choose for your boat lettering will make a big difference in the overall look of your boat. Choose a font that is easy to read and that complements the style of your boat.
  • Use contrasting colors: Using contrasting colors will help your boat’s lettering stand out from the hull of your boat. Choose colors that are easy to see, especially at night.
  • Keep it simple: Don’t overdo it with your boat lettering. A simple design will be more effective than a cluttered design.

Fishing Pun Boat Names
Prawn Supremacy
Reel Secrets
Fishin’ Impossible

Where to Get It Done

There are many places where you can have boat lettering installed. You may even attempt to do it yourself, but if you don’t have a crew and you have very Pacific tastes then you should seek out professional help. So if boat lettering design and application feels like an oar deal, then contact SignPro today. We are your full-service stop for all your boat lettering needs.