A vinyl wrap is a great way to change the entire look and feel of your boat without a repaint. It’s cost-effective too, especially compared to the price you’d pay to repaint your hull instead.
Vinyl wraps are extremely customizable, giving you a ability to design the graphics to your unique tastes. A new wrap gives your boat a clean and sleek look that turns heads. It will also serve as a line of defense, protecting your gelcoat and paint from the elements.
This quick guide will give you all of the info you need to make sure you pay the right amount for your wrap. We’ve also included some key mistakes to avoid when you’re choosing the right installer.
How Much Does a Boat Wrap Cost?
The cost of vinyl boat wrap starts at about $1,400 for a 14-foot boat and scales from there. The cost will increase depending on boat size, boat type, wrap size, and the level of detail in the wrap.
Generally, wrapping your boat costs a only fraction of what it takes to paint it. The average estimate vinyl boat wrap is priced at about a third of the cost to repaint. This makes it an appealing option for older boats that need a facelift but may not be worth the cost of a complete rehab.
Check with your vinyl installers for accurate quotes and don’t forget to keep in mind the cost you’ll need to pull your boat from the water and transport it to the installer.
Here are the main factors that will contribute to the final cost:
#1 Boat Size
It’s the most significant factor that determines your boat wrap cost. The larger the boat, the more you’ll spend to undertake the exercise.
Many wrap installers will base their quotation on feet and not square footage. The earlier example of a 14′ boat wrap being around $1,400 is just a ballpark.
#2 Boat Type
Other than size, the type of your boat also matters. Is it a bass boat, cabin cruiser, or a speed boat? The type of boat plays a critical role in pricing because of the contours, complexity of the wrapping process and the amount of wrap it needs.
Think about in terms of wrapping a gift. If your gift is in a rectangular or regular shape, wrapping will be relatively easy. However, if your gift is in an irregular shape, the crevices and corners can make the wrapping exercise difficult. The same concept applies to boats.
For example, an 18-foot catamaran may cost around $2,400 for a comprehensive wrap. Wrapping an 18-foot center console fishing boat may cost you around $1,800. Applying vinyl wrap on 24-foot speedboat may cost you $3,000 and above.
Remember, vinyl has specific width measurements. Having a bigger boat will cost you more to wrap.
#3 Wrap Detail & Design
Do you want to a full or partial wrap on your boat? The size of your wrap determines the vinyl boat wrap cost. For instance, if you’re wrapping half of your boat, then the price will be half the cost of a full wrap. The exact numbers can vary from installer to installer, but it’s usually a common-sense calculation.
But what exactly is a partial wrap? A partial wrap helps cover some parts of your boat instead of the entire hull. In most cases, its design flows with the contours of your hull. Again, the amount to pay is dependent on the wrap size and the entire size of your boat.
You need to also consider whether you’ll be wrapping your boat in a single color or with full graphics? Many boat owners choose a single-color vinyl wrap to emulate a paint job that looks new. Others prefer to spice things up by adding designs, graphics, logos, etc.
Most companies will choose graphics to promote their business values or personalities.
Installing a single wrap color is cheaper than one with graphic designs. But the cost varies depending on the expert you engage. So, check with your local installer for details. With many installers, you’ll get both custom and stock options. Even better, you can design your signature look online.
#4 Quality of Wrap
Wrapping your boat is an investment that should deliver returns on your investment. Be sure to engage a competent installer for your project, whether on a full or partial wrap.
Using a reputable installer for your project ensures you get the best possible services. The good thing, you can get a list of qualified installers on vinyl manufacturer’s websites.
Also, many professional installers will promote their services as certified installers who’ve been favored by various vinyl manufacturers. Look for this designation and recommendation on their websites before engaging them to give yourself a bit more peace of mind.
How Long Will a Boat Wrap Last?
It’s common to see many vinyl boat wraps rated for 5-7 years, but those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Like all things involving boats and the sea, a vinyl boat wrap will not last forever. The elements take their toll the same way they do on everything else.
Sun exposure is a wrap’s main enemy. It really doesn’t matter how high-quality the vinyl is, the sun will eventually do damage. Storing a boat out of the reach of the sun’s constant rays is often the difference between a wrap lasting 2-3 years or 5+ years. Vinyl left in the sun will often be structurally sound, but completely lacking its original coloring.
Abrasions, water, and time will all play their parts in the degradation of a wrap as well. The best thing you can do to preserve your work is to avoid hard, sharp edges around the vinyl and avoid harsh chemicals that have the potential to strip the adhesive right off.
Is a DIY Boat Wrap a Good Idea?
Boat owners that are particularly handy may scoff at the idea of paying for a vinyl wrap service, knowing that they can do the work for a fraction of a professional’s price tag.
Exercise some caution though before you make a final judgment. The act of applying a vinyl wrap to a boat hull is more of an art than you may think. Many of the most skilled men I know have decided against a DIY vinyl wrap after a full evaluation of the project’s difficulty.
If you do decide to pull the trigger on a DIY wrap, make sure you approach the job with an extra dose of patience. This is something that requires a slow, methodical pace. Ask yourself if this is really, truly something you want to be spending a large chunk of (potentially frustrating) time on.
You’ll also need a helper or two for certain parts of the job like initial laying up and again when you remove the backing. Not a problem if you have some free help on-hand.
Hopefully this gives you a good starting point for determining what it will cost you to put a quality vinyl wrap on your boat. It’s not the most simple process in the world, but it’s well worth it under the right circumstances.
If you want to take your boat rejuvenation it a step further, you should also consider Sea Dek (or take a look at our reviews of the best Sea Dek alternatives).
Let us know what kind of experience you’ve had with wrapping your boat. We’d love to know what it cost and whether or not you’re happy with the final result. And don’t hesitate to share some pictures!