Sticker Shock? A Novice Vessel Owner's Guide To Boat Decals

When you buy your first boat, you take on a fantastic responsibility: the task of making your boat your own. This entails changing the boat's license or registration so it reflects your ownership and also customizing your boat's appearance with appropriate legal markings and personalized effects. Simple though the task may sound, you should give your boat's decals special attention to ensure that your boat not only stays legal, but also reflects your personality. 

Understand Your Boat's Decal Needs

Like car owners, boat owners must follow certain rules and regulations, many of which set forth decal requirements. First, determine if your boat should be licensed or registered.

If your boat is a pleasure craft with an engine that is over 10 horsepower, you can choose to either license or register your boat. A pleasure craft license helps law enforcement and search and rescue teams identify your boat. On the other hand, if you use your boat for commercial reasons, you must register your boat. If you have a mortgage on your boat, you are also required to register it. If you have a pleasure craft but plan to boat outside of Canada, also consider registering it, as other countries may have registration requirements.

Once you know whether your boat must be licensed or registered, you can order your decals. Ensure that, when you order your decals, you request block characters that are at least 7.5 centimeters tall if your boat is licensed, and 10 centimeters tall if your boat is registered. Choose a color that is clearly visible against your boat's hull color. If you are placing the decals on your boat yourself, also ensure that you place them on your boat's bow.

Add Personalized Boat Decals

Decals are not reserved for legal uses alone. You can also affix decals to personalize your boat. Vinyl is waterproof and sturdy, so it is a good material choice for these decals. 

Decals are available to order, but if you cannot find what you are looking for, you can also have them custom-made. If you are confident in your artistic abilities, you can submit your artwork to a boat decal manufacturer, who will transform your design into a seaworthy decal in your desired size. If you are less than talented in the art department, you can also describe your decal idea to the decal manufacturer, who will then either create it or refer you to a qualified artist. 

Affixing Decals to Your Boat

If you do not affix your decals to your boat properly, your license or registration characters and any personalized decals will degrade. At best, these degraded decals will diminish the aesthetic appearance of your boat; at worst, your boat will violate licensing and registration requirements. 

The type of adhesive that you use differs depending on your boat's hull material, be it fiberglass, wood, or metal. Regardless of your hull material, clean the area well and affix the decals carefully so that you do not have air bubbles or visually unappealing results. Also give your decals enough time to dry before you power wash your boat or take it into rough waters.

To learn more, contact a company like Prairie Signs (2000) Ltd Grande Prairie