The Beginners Guide to Removing Decals and Stickers from Boats

Boat decals and stickers offer protection to the boat in many ways and in most cases they are an essential part of the boat. Boat owners only need to know how to remove them when it is time for a change or there is a mistake that needs correction. Boat stickers can be removed successfully with simple techniques like sanding, chemical treatment and heat (or sun).

Removing Boat Decals:

Boat decals can be easily removed by sanding away the sticker vinyl slowly till it has been removed completely from the surface. For this you will require specialized equipment like a sander or sandpaper. Lightweight models like orbital sanders can also be used without harming the underlying surface since they transfer most of their energy across their own plane rather than directly on the surface of the fiberglass. Boat stickers can also be removed by chemical treatment with Boat Lift Remover or adhesive promoter, or by using steam. The latter is only suitable if the sticker is made of PVC vinyl sheeting since it causes some abrasion to the surrounding fiberglass pores which will cause problems if not adequately treated afterwards. On the other hand, no harm comes upon removal of boat decals from GRP surfaces when a normal emulsion paint stripper is used. It should however be noted that removing boat decal from GRP surfaces may damage any anti-foul coating on the surface especially if it has been applied recently and/or generously.

In such an anti-fouling case Boat Lift Remover is a better option since Boat Lift Remover does not damage anti-fouling even if it has been recently applied. Boat lift remover helps remove boat decals from fiberglass surfaces without harming the underlying anti-foul paint and/or wax coatings. Boat decals can also be removed by using heat or sun if they are made of vinyl. Vinyl stickers will become soft when exposed to sunlight for a long time, at which point you should be able to peel them off easily. Problems arise when stickers have been stuck on tightly to the surface or in a location where it is difficult to access with tools like steamers or chemicals which causes additional work in removing them successfully. In such cases allowing enough time for the sun to warm up the sticker edges will produce significant results. Boat stickers can also be removed from glass surfaces by using a heat gun especially if they have been stuck on tightly or in a place where it is difficult to reach mechanically

Boat owners will always want to get rid of the decals and stickers off their watercraft after getting bored with them or for cleaning up. Boat decal adhesives are usually tough to remove while boat stickers can be quite simple depending on its type (sailboat, marine life, hull numbers etc).

However, some sticker adhesive types are harder than others but very doable if you know how. The most difficult decal or sticker to remove is one that has carved its way into the surface of your boat’s material (fibre glass) especially when it is down at the bottom of the water’s edge where it becomes extra dirty. This article will detail how you can remove both stickers and decals from boats easily! You’ll be a pro in no time!

Tips for Removing Boat Decals:

If the decal or sticker is not very dirty, start by cleaning the surface with a mild detergent and wet cloth. Be sure to dry off the area completely before proceeding.

For tougher decals or stickers, you can use a razor blade scraper to gently remove it from the surface. If done correctly, this should not damage the material of your boat. Just be sure not to apply too much pressure when scraping or you may end up gouging the surface.

Another method is to use heat to soften the adhesive and then peel it off. You can do this by using a hair dryer on high heat setting or using a heat gun. Be very careful when doing this as too much heat can damage the surface of your boat.

Tips for Removing Boat Stickers:

Stickers are usually much easier to remove than decals. All you need is a little bit of Goo Gone or another adhesive remover and a rag.

Simply saturate the sticker with the adhesive remover and wait a few minutes for it to break down the adhesive. Then, use the rag to rubbing the sticker until it comes off. You may have to repeat this process a few times if the sticker is stubborn.

Be sure to clean the area with a mild detergent and wet cloth afterwards to remove any residue from the adhesive remover.


Removing decals and stickers from boats is not a hard task if you have the right methods and tools. Boat decal adhesives can be very difficult to tackle but it will all worth it when you get rid of that annoying sticker off your boat’s hull! If done properly, there should not be any damage to the surface material of your boat.

Boat Decal Source provides premium quality materials for custom made Boat Decals and Boat Letters at wholesale prices. We also offers free design service if required!

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