Boat Lettering Basics

Eight reasons to order from iboats:

  1. High quality marine grade vinyl
  2. Lettering comes pre-spaced and pre-assembled on a single application sheet
  3. Free USPS shipping to the lower 48 states
  4. Free application squeegee for easy installation
  5. Free Rapid-Tac application fluid
  6. Easy step-by-step instructions for professional results
  7. Custom design lettering tool
  8. You can always call 1-800-914-1123 for help

Measuring for Lettering
  • Measure the vertical and horizontal space where you will place the letters.
  • Make room for hail port or registration lettering.
  • Make sure the space where you will place your letters is flat, doesn't have texture, and is free of obstacles.


  1. Thoroughly clean area with Rapid-Tac and cheap kitchen paper towels. Expensive paper towels have added chemicals that might effect the application. Do not use other cleaners or solvents, nor cloth towels or commercial paper towels.
  2. After you clean the surface spray area again with Rapid-Tac. Peel backing off lettering sheet and place on wet area. If the lettering isnít perfectly aligned the first time donít worry!. Rapid-Tac acts as a lubricant to allow free movement of the lettering. Shift your lettering to the correct position.
  3. After the lettering has been aligned use the squeegee to remove fluid. Use strong pressure and work from the center of the lettering to the outer edge. Make sure to go in all directions; up, down, left, right.
  4. Wait 2-3 minutes. Saturate the application sheet with Rapid-Tac. Once the sheet is soaked through remove the sheet slowly at a 45 degree angle. After the sheet has been removed wipe area with paper towel and your application is complete.

Lettering Tips and Hints

In addition to your boat name donít forget to make hail port & registration numbers.
Tips from

Q: how hard should I press when I squeegee?
A: You must press VERY hard. The adhesive on pressure sensitive vinyl film consists of a layer of microscopic beads that must be burst by applying pressure to the film, hence the name "pressure sensitive".

Q: Why shouldn't I use cloth towels or shop rags to clean an application surface with?
A: We recommend using domestic paper towels. Shop rags are great for wiping a great deal of things like oil, tire dressing off of tires, cleaning engine parts, auto detailing, etc. All of these oils, waxes, and silicone contaminants can become "trapped" in the rags, and when cleaned by a commercial linen services your shop rags will come back with contaminants from other businesses. There is NO way to ensure that you are getting rags back that are free of these contaminants. Stick with the cheap paper towels, and you will have substantially more consistent applications.

Q: Do I need to buy any "other" cleaning solvents or chemicals?
A: No. Rapid Tac and Rapid Tac II are both cleaners as well as application fluids. If you are concerned that wax, or silicone or oil may be present, then clean once with Rapid Prep.

Q: Should I use "lint free / static free" paper towels?
A: No, use the "cheap" grocery store kitchen paper towels (they do not contain chemicals). Q: What about paper towels marked "Super Absorbent" or " Absorbent Pockets"? A: No, they also may contain chemicals that will contaminate your application surface, cause bonding problems, and failure.

Q: When applying vinyl to glass should I use a quality glass cleaner?
A: No. Glass cleaners can contain ammonia, silicone, and other chemicals that not only degrade vinyl, but will also contaminate your application surface and cause bonding problems.

Q: How are Rapid Tac and Rapid Tac II different than soap and water solutions?
A: Mixing soap and water to apply vinyl was originally started to aid in positioning. This worked marginally well, but also required an extremely long time to bond (if it would bond at all in some cases). Not only does soap and water NOT promote adhesion and bonding, but "mixing-you-own" also opens the possibility of inconsistency, contamination (what was in the bottle or bucket before you mixed your soap and water formula?). Rapid Tac and Rapid Tac II accomplish several things during an application. First, Rapid Tac and Rapid Tac II are always the same uncontaminated, consistent product every time you need them. They both clean the application surface, and leave only a compatible residue. Next, Rapid Tac and Rapid Tac II allow the user to position and reposition the vinyl being applied up to the point of applying pressure with a squeegee. Rapid Tac and Rapid Tac II also activate the adhesive on pressure sensitive vinyls by breaking the surface tension (softening so to speak) of the adhesive beads. Another great benefit of Rapid Tac and Rapid Tac II are their abilities to release the transfer tape from the vinyl once positioned and squeegeed. The best thing is that all of this can take place in 90 seconds or less.