Wildwood’s Boat Wrap – 3 Years On

Three years ago Wildwood was in bad need of a new topside paint job. But instead of getting her painted I decided to have her wrapped instead.

At the time I had lots of questions about boat wrapping and many people asked me to keep them posted with how the wrap performed compared to regular paint.

You can read all about the original wrapping process here.

But just as a wee refresher if you can’t be bothered reading the other post right now:

Before…

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And after…

Boat Coat

My main reasons for deciding to go with a wrap over paint were:

  • Cost – it was going to be much cheaper than a paint job
  • Easy to repair if scratched or dented (see more about this below)
  • Design – you can have any colour or pattern that you like
  • Our haulout yard – which is a very dusty windy cold place – not a good spot for a decent paint job.

OK so three years on – how is the wrap performing?

Well overall – fantastic! I am really pleased with the durability and it is still bright and shiny and the colour doesn’t fade – which is really handy because I have had a few…

SCRATCHES…!

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Yes some very nasty gouges actually, which happened when Wildy’s mooring broke and she was floating around the harbour on her own in the tide for anywhere up to 12 hours… eeeek!

I still have no idea what she hit – and I was a bit upset about the scratches, but I was just very thankful she hadn’t been run over by a ship or wrecked on the rocks, or something like that.

These gouges were right through the wrap and also dented in to the hull. So we cut away the loose wrap, filled the holes, sanded them flat and then stuck patches over the top.

The great thing is that the colour doesn’t fade, and Dan from Boat Coat had left me plenty of offcuts, which you can then simply cut out a ‘plaster’ size appropriate to the gouge or scratch – and slap it on top – and tag-dah! Fixed!

Not quite so easy to repair painted boats without lots of sanding, priming, more sanding, painting, and then good luck with getting the colour matched perfectly… (trust me – I know all about that, refer to the original post where I had a dull boat covered in shiny spots)

If you look really closely – like from a metre away, then you can see the patches, but any further away than that, they are practically invisible.

Here is a shot of the repaired gouges and other related scratches. There are about 10 patches in this picture from the mooring breakage incident. Can you see them?

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So any boat that you use a lot is going to get scratched. Be it going in and out of marina’s, coming alongside wharves, bumping in to it with your dinghy, or when you are rafted up. Painted boats get scratched too – but they aren’t as easy to repair as simply sticking a plaster over the damaged bit.

FENDERS

Dan from Boat Coat recommended we get socks over our fenders – as the rubbery fender rubbing on the rubbery wrap can cause issues. We did that and our fenders have been fantastic, but we did have another time when we resorted to using one of our old fenders when we were rafted up and it rubbed a bit on the name sticker.

To be fair, most painted boats also have their names as a sticker, so they would have had the same problem as us.

WATERLINE

The wrap is just on the topsides and you paint the underwater bit with antifoul as you would usually do with any other boat. The join between the wrap and the waterline is painted with a special glue to stop it lifting.

Unfortunately I have had a bad issue with my waterline getting quite weedy this year on the wrap and this made some bits lift up.

I rang Dan from Boat Coat for some advice. “No problem” he said “I’ll send you a repair kit”

I cut away the bits that were lifting with a craft knife and on this red bit I decided to add a white waterline stripe as I had a really long bit of white wrap leftover.

I then used the special sealer to seal the waterline down.

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I am not sure that Dan is going to be offering me a job any time soon as my edges aren’t quite as straight as I think he would probably like – but I reckon it’s not too bad.

SHINE

As you can see from the photos, she is still very shiny. This is without any polishing. The only dull bits were on the red along the waterline where the weed was attached. I’ll make more of an effort to try and keep that clean this year to hopefully avoid it happening again.

WRAP vs PAINT

I am parked in the haulout yard at the moment next to a boat that was painted at the same time as Wildy was wrapped.

This boat has got some quite big scratches through the paint, including the painted stripe. The paint has gone quite yellow around the waterline and it seems to have lost it’s shine.

Wildy looks much whiter and shinier than the painted boat.

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LIFESPAN

Dan said that the wrap should last about 7 years. I think that also has a bit to do with easily removing it (as it was VERY difficult to remove our old sticker name…).

Perhaps some paint jobs might last longer than that if you look after them?

If you look at the picture above then you could argue that after three years the painted boat could probably do with a bit of a freshen up already?

ENVIRONMENT

Yes I acknowledge that the wrap is plastic, and we are all trying to make sure that less plastic ends up in our beautiful oceans. However paint jobs aren’t exactly clean and green either when you think about all the solvents and chemicals involved, and while my wrap will most definitely eventually end up in a landfill – the sanded off paint job will almost certainly end up in the Ocean.

SUMMARY

I am really pleased with my boat wrap and would 100% recommend it to anyone considering giving their boat a fresh new look.

Dan from Boat Coat is a great guy, and also offers fabulous after sales service and advice. He is based in New Zealand, but also travels around the world wrapping boats. His website is http://vinylboatwrap.co.nz

13 thoughts on “Wildwood’s Boat Wrap – 3 Years On

    • Thanks!
      It has been around for a few years now. You might have noticed cars being wrapped with advertising etc? I was the first boat to have it done in our area. Good to get a boat specialist to do it as opposed to a car wrapper.

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  1. Your boat looks BEAUTIFUL! I may have just missed it, but can you comment on the price of surface preparation and application of the wrap? Also, is the white background color on the entire hull?
    About the ‘bare’ fenders, I don’t have covers (yet) but plan to cover mine, as the admittedly dirty water in our harbor makes most everything below the waterline pretty ugly in short order!

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    • Thanks for your kind comment!
      We did the preparation ourselves. It just involves preparing a smooth surface and we had a few chips and scratches that needed to be filled and sanded flat. There is some more info about that on the first blog post. (Link in the article)
      The cost was NZD$3000 for just plain white – compared to $6000 for a plain white paint job. The extra swirly graphics and name was another $2000 which included all the design work too. So for plain white it was about half the cost of the same paint job.

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  2. Thank you for the update, Viki. We have looked into this and think wrapping is an excellent idea. Your review certainly confirms that the vinyls are a viable option! All the best. Mary Grace (s/v Let It Be)

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