Decal Boat Name

05/27/2014:

Immediately after applying the decal. I cut “Hono” and “lulu,” in two pieces.

After the new top-side paint I needed to add the Hailing Port and Boat name to be legal. But I’m a horrible artist, so I decided to go with decals.

  1. Call around to find a print shop.
    1. Ask if they print vinyl decals.
    2. Fast Signs in Honolulu were friendly, helpful, and the sign came out perfect!
    3. Fast signs: (808) 533-4128.
  2. Design the decal
    1. Measure the area on the boat before you design the image to email to the print shop.
    2. There are legal requirements for the characteristics of the Hailing Port and Boat name, depending on if you are state or federally registered. Siren is federally registered through the USCG.
    3. Basically:
      1. No more than 33 characters
      2. No smaller than 4″ in height
      3. Recreational boats require the Boat Name and Hailing Port clearly visible on the external part of the hull.
      4. Commercial boats required the Boat Name and Hailing Port on the stern, and also the Boat Name on the bow.
      5. I decided to mark the Hailing Port on the transom and the Boat Name on both sides of the boat at the stern and the bow. This covers me under the commercial regulations.
      6. Here are the details direct from the source:
        CFR Title 46, Part 67.120 – Shipping, Documentation of Vessels, Marking Requirements
    4. Next, design an image to send to the print shop.
      1. I downloaded a cool font, used photoshop to warp it and make it look how I want, then saved it as a photoshop psd file to ensure they would see exactly what I see on my computer. Make sure the quality allows you to zoom in without pixelating. It would be disappointing to spend the money only to find your decal looks like a low-quality jpeg.
      2. I sent a photoshop file with different layers for each image.

      3. Email them the exact dimensions for each image along with the photoshop file.
        1. Port/Aft “Siren”: 12″ tall, 48″ long.
        2. Starboart/Aft “Siren”: 12″ tall, 48″ long.
        3. Port/Fore “Siren”: 6″ tall, 24″ long.
        4. Starboard/Fore “Siren”: 6″ tall, 24″ long.
        5. Transom “Hono lulu, HI”: 10″ tall, 66″ long.
      4. They sent an invoice and confirmation image, waited for my confirmation, then had it printed and ready for pickup the next day. They called the order, “Complex cut ready to apply vinyl.”
      5. Confirmation layout from FastSigns

      6. Unfortunately, they couldn’t print black on the white vinyl, so I decided to not order the images of the Siren Girl. She would look pretty bland with no facial features. Maybe later I’ll order them and have an artist friend draw in the features with permanent marker…
      7. Total cost, $210 after taxes ($60 for each big “Siren”, $36 for each small “Siren” and $46 for the “Hono lulu, HI”)
  3. Apply the decal
    1. FastSigns included a plastic squeegee and instructions for application. It was actually very easy to apply!
    2. Wash the area with soapy water.
    3. Dry completely with micro-fiber towels.
    4. Wipe down with 70-percent isopropyl alcohol solution. (I used Acetone which worked fine.)
    5. Position the decal with the backing still on and tape it in place.
    6. If it’s a long sticker, you can cut it in two to make it easier to work with.
    7. Step back and make sure it’s perfect, because you can never unstick this stuff!
    8. Peel off a few inches of backing from one side exposing the glue and let it stick to the boat.
    9. Now that you have an anchor point it’s easier to slide the backing off and you work your way along the decal.
    10. Ensure there are no bubbles and slide the squeegee from the center to the edges to ensure a strong stick as you go.
  4. Done! Now just wait 48 hours for the glue to fully cure and the stickers will withstand pressure-washing, fender blows, sun, salt and anything else you can throw at it.

09/16/2017 Update: Over three years later, the signs are clean, stable and still look like new. Amazing product!