How To Paint Fiberglass Boats

When you buy a new fiberglass boat you will notice that it has colored gel coating on the surface rather than paint. The problem with this is that the gel will fade and there is no easy way to clean or wax it. This will cause the boat to become dirty and worn over a small period of time. When this happens you need to find a way to make it look like new again. Painting these types of boats is different than what we are used to – but it is possible.


  • Solvent to remove wax
  • Cloth pads
  • Epoxy putty
  • Dual action sander
  • 60 to 80 grit sandpaper
  • Fiberglass primer
  • Paint roller
  • Foam brush
  • Chemical respirator mask
  • Gloves
  • Urethane paint for boats (2 part)
  • Safety goggles


Tape over the part of the boat (including hardware) that should not be painted. This should include the bang irons, name plates, ventilators, and registration numbers. Use a cloth pad and wipe down the boat with the wax solvent remover. When you do this you will remove the residue that is left behind from any polish that has been applied to the surface of the boat.

Go around the perimeter of the boat and search for dents, scrapes, and gouges on the surface of it. Fill the areas using the epoxy filler and permit it to dry. Sand it down with the 60 grit sandpaper and the dual action sander. Go over it a second time with the 80 grit that will smooth the scratches out.

Once the dents and scratches are removed you will be able to apply a thin coat of primer to the surface of the boat using a brush or roller. Make sure that you cover the entire boat that you plan on painting. Know that the primer will look odd – but there should be a thin layer all around. Start painting no more than two hours after you have applied the primer.

Paint the surface of the boat with the two part urethane paint. Start off with a thin coat using the roller. When you have finished start again (right away) with another thin coat using the foam brush.