How To Remove Boat Lettering | BoatUS
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How To Remove Boat Lettering | BoatUS

September 8, 2019

Hi, I’m Mike Vatalaro with BoatUS Magazine. Today we’re going to show you how to take old boat lettering off your
boat. With me is Ted Sensenbrenner of the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety
and Clean Water. Behind us is the Foundation’s 27 ft. Albemarle that was
donated to them. It is a non-profit foundation and donations like this do
help support its mission. So, we’re going to show you two methods today. First, the
one you’re probably familiar with the old heat and scrape, and then we’re going
to show you a new product that promises to make it go a lot faster. Okay, the
first and more familiar method is heat. If your lettering is not too ancient, heat
and a plastic scraper might be all you need to pull it loose. You may also want
to use a straight razor to lift the corners, but be careful not to gouge the
gelcoat or paint job. Remember, when using a heat gun, keep it moving so you don’t
burn the gelcoat. Now, be aware this method often leaves adhesive behind and
you’ll need to wipe it off with a solvent, such as Sticker Off or Goo Gone.
Some folks also like to use acetone, but remember, with acetone you want to get it
cleaned off as soon as possible when you’re done to avoid damaging the gelcoat. Okay, the second method is to use a
product called Vinyl Off. So, you’re going to want to wet a cloth with the Vinyl
Off, and then you use that cloth to wipe the lettering that’s going to be removed.
You’ll wipe it on, and you let it sit for a little less than a minute. It says in
the instructions if you let it sit too long, the adhesive will stick to it.
What this product does is, it actually restores the vinyl lettering to its
original condition so it becomes easier to remove. Okay, so we’ve given this about
a minute, and Ted has worked his nail under…and…here comes the six. Look at that! There goes the nine. That’s
pretty impressive stuff. Okay, so to remove your vinyl lettering
adhesive, you’re going to want to get some Sticker Off or Goo Gone, or maybe go
and find a can of acetone or mineral spirits and wet a rag with that. It should come right up. You do want to remember, if you use the acetone or the
mineral spirits, you want to get that off your gelcoat right away so you don’t
actually harm the gelcoat. So, when you’ve got the old lettering off and the
adhesive off, you’ll want to prep the surface for your new numbers or graphics
by spraying it down. A little glass cleaner and wiping it dry will do. Thanks for watching. For more videos, go to


  • Reply Justin Bay February 10, 2014 at 12:26 am

    My left ear is lonely….

  • Reply Jordan Walker May 14, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    what about removing engine cowling decals?

  • Reply Markee z September 15, 2016 at 12:07 am

    Um! Well ok, I guess we all look dumber than we look. So what I got out of this video is that if you want to take new numbers off of a boat I should first buy stuff you sell. Otherwise I could most likely just pull them off without spending any money?

  • Reply Don S November 13, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Try a pressure washer

  • Reply C M March 25, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Blow dryer method worked perfectly thanks

  • Reply terry fonz June 7, 2018 at 1:03 am

    You just gonna leave that pin stripe

  • Reply Zed Cartwright November 2, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    How about removing very old (1980's) wide and narrow pattern pin stripping, in order to repaint boat? I would imagine wet sanding with course wet or dry would be about the only way to get this crap off. Then you would have to fill in heavy scratches with primer and fine sand before painting. Some guy said to use a torch and move it back and forth quickly. I think that would likely burn the boat. Any body got a suggestion?

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