How to Paint a Boat Hull

old renewed sailboat
  • 6-30 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-600
What You'll Need
Industrial solvent
Marine paint
Revolving power sander
Epoxy glue

A poorly painted boat hull will easily strip away. If foreign materials in the sea don't get to it, simple water pressure will eventually destroy a poor paint job. Even worse, improper painting can actually result in not just discoloration of the hull, but actual weakening of the hull. Knowing how to paint a boat hull isn't just a great way to give the vessel a vibrant appearance, it can also extend the lifespan of your boat.

Painting a boat hull requires a lot of time and effort. Here are some helpful steps that will enable you to effectively paint your hull.

Step 1 - Protect Your Skin

Throughout the preparation and painting process, wear gloves to reduce the contact between your skin and the substances you'll be using. This not only is a neat way to limit messes, but also protects your skin from any irritants or allergens that may be in the materials.

Step 2 - Prepare

boat in the water in an old magazine ad

Even though you will be using specialized boat or marine paint for this job, you'll still need to prepare the hull's surface for it to stick properly. In this case, that means a layer of industrial solvent.

Dip a sponge into the industrial solvent and apply it to the boat hull surface. In addition to prepping the surface for paint, this step also removes any wax that may be present from your regular boat maintenance.

Step 3 - Sand

After applying the solvent, it’s time to clean the boat hull further by using an oscillating power sander. This device strips away previous traces of paint from your boat hull. Be thorough with your sanding, as painting on an improperly sanded boat hull will result in paint discoloration or removal.

Follow all manufacturer instructions when using the power sander. It's a dangerous heavy duty piece of machinery.

Step 4 - Repair

Before applying the paint, make any necessary repairs to the hull. Apply epoxy glue to any holes or abrasions and smooth it out carefully to prevent any epoxy lumps from forming on the hull. Lumps will make it harder for you to paint the boat hull.

Step 5 - Apply the Primer

applying paint to a boat

Once the boat hull is fully repaired, it’s time to apply the primer by using a roller. Roll the primer over the boat hull as evenly as possible.

After priming, sand the boat hull for a second time. Apply another layer of primer after sanding. This back and forth of sanding and priming create a fortified foundation for your paint job.

Step 6 - Paint

Once you've created a strong base with your repeated sanding and priming, it's time to paint. Use a roller and paintbrush to color your boat hull with marine paint. Brush the hull carefully, especially on areas where bubbles form up. When the painting job is done, let your boat hull dry for several hours.

Step 7 - Finishing Touches

Apply thinner layers of paint in order to smooth out your newly painted boat hull. Continue applying paint until you’ve achieved a thoroughly smooth, even paint job.