How To Paint a Fiberglass Boat

For amateur and recreational fishermen, fiberglass boats have become a popular option for transport. It is more durable and lighter than the traditional materials used for boats. Typically, fiberglass boats come in a glossy gel coat finish. These coats are not very durable and fade easily. The worst thing about it is that no amount of maintenance and waxing can keep it staying fresh. When it fades, there is only one thing that you can do to put the new look back into your boat. You will need to paint it. The hitch here is that painting a fiberglass boat is not a simple job. There are rigid processes you will need to adhere to in ensuring that the fiberglass does not get damaged and your boat will look brand new again.

Prepare the materials. For this job, you will need to acquire special materials from your local hardware supply store.

  • Wax removing solution
  • Epoxy filler
  • 60 and 80 grit sand paper
  • Electric sander
  • Fiberglass primer
  • Foam paint brush
  • Paint rollers
  • 3 to 4 gallons of urethane paint (depending on the area of the paint job)
  • Gloves, masks, and protective gear

Clean and repair the boat. First off, you will need to remove or tape up any part of the boat that will not be included in the paint job. You can opt to wrap and tape it up in plastic. As soon as you are through with that, get a cloth and wipe the boat down with the wax removal solution. Make sure to scrub off any wax and dirt residue. The boat must be completely clean for the next processes. At this time, take note of any scratches, scrapes, or damages to the boat. Fill it in with epoxy filler or putty. Let it dry then sand it with a 60 grit sand paper. Smoothen it out with an 80 grit sand paper after. This should take care of all the blemishes and flaws on the fiberglass. Remember to sand any uneven patches of the boat as well.

Apply the primer. The next step in the paint job is the application of the primer. Get a paint roller or brush and apply a thin coat of primer to all the areas to be painted on. This should take care of the remaining residue that you were unable to remove and will serve as the base for the paint. Let the primer dry for about 2 hours.

Start painting. Use a paint roller and start applying the first coat of the 2-part urethane paint. Once you have completed the first layer, follow it up immediately with the second layer. However, for the second layer, use a foam paintbrush. This will smoothen out the texture of the paint. Let the paint dry for about 24 to 48 hours.

Once the boat is completely dry, take it out for a test run and enjoy the new and fresh look of your fiberglass boat. During the paint process, always remember to wear protective gear. Focus on your eyes, nose, and hands. You are handling chemicals that can be potentially unsafe for the body. It is better to be safe than sorry.


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