How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Boat ?

The expense of painting a yacht is one of the most often posed queries among boat owners. They often ask how simple it is to decorate a boat. Is a group of experts required to work on the project, or can one individual manage it?

Boats may sustain a lot of wear and tear when out on the water, and they may appear worn out while docked in a port. With a decent jet wash and some cleaning products, it may look better in no time, but occasionally it need a little more attention. In most cases, a coat of paint to return it to its former glory.

If you hire a professional, the topside painting will cost between $100 and $400 per linear foot, while the bottom painting would cost between $15 and $100 per linear foot. The cost of doing it yourself is estimated to be between $2 and $10 per square foot. 

You’ve come to the perfect place if you’ve ever wondered how much it will cost to paint your boat because here in this article we’ll go over everything you need to know, regardless of whether you want to do it all yourself or pay a professional company to do it for you.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Boat ?

Why Should Your Boat Be Painted ?

Painting your boat, whether it is constructed of fiberglass, wood, or aluminum, is quite helpful and may increase its lifespan. Additionally, the value of the vessel will rise, which is important if you intend to sell it in the future.

Moreover, It will also be shielded from water damage and kept free of water plants by special paint. Be aware that this involves careful planning, a lot of effort, and is not a simple task. If you want to get the ideal boat look, it is believed that around 75 percent of the procedure is preliminary work.

Why Should Your Boat Be Painted ?

Costs of Painting A Boat, By Type

You should decide if the entire boat has to be painted or just specific areas before you begin. This will immediately impact both the cost and the amount of effort.

Costs of Painting A Boat, By Type

Painting On The Bottom (Anti-Fouling)

This kind of painting includes painting the vessel’s submerged portion. The majority of boat owners who use their boats frequently deem it unnecessary, although it is advantageous for boats kept primarily at the dock.

Its main objective is to shield the hull from weed and barnacle damage. Keep in mind that after painting the boat bottom, it is frequently essential to clean and repaint it. The initial step is to choose the right paint:

Painting On The Bottom (Anti-Fouling)

Ablative Bottom >

paint is a great choice for boats that move slowly since it self-polishes. While sailing, it progressively deteriorates and releases biocides, making subsequent repainting simple. Powerboats and other fast boats may choose to have a hard bottom paint on them. The drawback is that before repainting your vessel, you must remove it.

Ablative Bottom >

Hybrid (Semi-Hard Ablative) Paint

This paint type offers a smooth, hard surface that is resistant to accumulation, making it ideal for most boats.

Other than the type of paint, the total cost for expert bottom painting will rely on:

  • Boat size
  • State of the boat
  • How to maintain (in the water, a yard, or on a trailer)

If you choose for a do-it-yourself job, painting your boat will cost you between $100 and $500.

Professional services typically cost between $20 to $45 per linear foot, although the price range is $15 to $100. This indicates that for a typical boat of 20 feet, you should budget $300 to $800. (6 m).

Nevertheless, that sum can go to $2,000 or even $5,000 depending on the size of the boat, the business you select, the paint job, and any potential bottom damage.

Interior Painting/ Top Sided Painting

The boat’s topside will be painted for aesthetic reasons, for sun and water protection. Boat body repairs, surface cleaning, and primer application are all part of the procedure.

Before beginning, decide if the entire boat has to be painted or only certain components, such as:

  • The ship
  • The patio
  • The inside

Costs associated with topside yacht painting might vary greatly based on:

  • Paint kind
  • Boat dimensions 
  • Boat state

There are three topside paint types from which to choose:

1. Alkyd Enamel :

is an inexpensive, low-gloss oil-based paint with poor color retention. It is also easy to apply.

2. One-Part Polyurethane :

is a well-liked, affordable, and simple-to-apply alternative that is ideal for DIY topside painting.

3. Two-Part Polyurethane :

is a difficult, expensive, high-gloss topside paint type that is difficult to apply; it is best left to an expert.

Additionally, you should budget more money in case your boat is destroyed and spend more for a large boat.

The cost of DIY topside painting is typically around $350. In this situation, you need figure up the cost of paint and include prep material expenses, such as:

  • Paint trays and brushes
  • Sandpaper and masking tape 
  • Sandpaper and 
  • Masking tape 

You’ll pay between $100 and $400 per linear foot for the topside painting services. However, the typical cost is frequently between $200 and $250 per linear foot for a boat that has not been damaged, especially if cheap paint is used.

For a typical 20 feet (6 m) long sailboat, you would need to budget between $4,000 and $5,000. But the price range is $2,000 to $8,000 instead.

Which Paint Should You Use On A Boat ?

If you want to give your boat a total makeover, you may need to purchase a few different types of paint for the various regions of your boat.

Before committing to buying gallons of paint, make sure you know what sort of paint is best for your boat. As it will depend on what kind of boat you have and what materials it is constructed of.

The following are the most typical boat paint types:

  • Epoxy
  • Gel Coat Paints for Boats’ External Coatings
  • Polyurethane
  • Defending Paint
  • Oil-based paints are used on the boats’ upper surface.
  • Tar paints for painting a boat’s bottom

Many of these paints are available at home improvement stores. Some are designated as boat or marine paint. While others have generic names since they have multiple applications.

Painting your yacht could be far more pleasurable for you than painting the interior of your house. Using bold colors or taking the time to stencil a cool design before you paint can let you express your creative side while working on your boat. This will make a statement when sailing and wearing some funky patterns.

If your boat is older or in in bad shape, you may need to hire someone to repair the damaged parts with fiberglass if you don’t know how to do it yourself.

It may cost between $70 and more than $100 per hour to hire a professional to do this job. Some experts may include the cost of the materials in the labor price charge when it comes time to pay, but you should double-check.

It’s time to talk about how much this will cost now. These numbers are obviously estimates based on prior experiences and rumor’s. These costs will vary based on

  •  Your boat’s size
  •  The business you choose (if you choose)
  •  The paint you choose
  •  Any damage that has to be repaired beforehand
  • The amount of paint you’ll need to use.

Create Your Own Boat Painting >

If your boat has some really visible water lines and is looking a little sad, you may save some money by painting it yourself. Don’t be fooled; this is not a cheap job, and when you realize how much the full project will cost, you may find yourself doubting your estimations.

The type of paint you’ll need will also be determined by the material used to construct your boat. Since you’ll most likely need to use various colors for the inside and outside, for example.

Anti-Fouling Paint >

will be more than enough to brighten up and safeguard a wooden boat. Although it is not very costly, it is quite good in preventing barnacles and other organisms from growing on the bottom of your paint when you are sailing.

In order to keep everything safe, you need be sure to spend a lot of money on high-quality paint when it comes to boats constructed of materials like fiberglass.

The higher the cost of your boat, the higher quality (and more expensive) paint you should choose; otherwise, you run the danger of damage and rapid condition decline, which might result in a major reduction in value.

Painting your own boat will allow you complete creative freedom to design and decorate it whatever you choose. You’ll also get the joy of being able to admire the completed result and exclaim, “I DID THAT!” However, you’ll need to be ready to put in a significant amount of time painting the boat. If you want to work outside on your driveway, be sure the weather is clear since rain might wash away your labor.

Make sure the boat has been properly prepared and sealed before you even start to paint it. If you don’t, you risk double-backing on a process you’ve already completed.

How Much Will It Cost To Have Your Boat Painted By A Professional ?

The cost of having your boat painted by a professional business will often range from $1000 to over $5000, but it will mostly depend on the size of your boat and how long the process takes.

Each provider will charge a different fee, so you should shop about or ask individuals in your area for recommendations. As you might be able to discover more affordable options. A professional painting company will often bill you by the hour. While others may base their estimate on the length of your boat in linear feet. The painting time and cost depends on  the size of boat. An experienced painter should normally spend 10 to 40 hours painting a boat, depending on its size.

How Much Will It Cost To Have Your Boat Painted By A Professional ?

How Much Will Painting A Boat Cost ?

1. Estimated Values :

When conducting a thorough search for the best contractor, offering the linear foot measurement—which boats and RVs are both measured by—will help you receive an accurate quotation over the phone.

2. DIY Calculation :

It’s not difficult to measure your boat. Simply run a tape measure along its length to determine its length, across its back to determine its width, and up and down its body to get its height. Alternately, perhaps you are painting the boat’s deck (topside). In this situation, you might be able to get away with a less expensive paint. But we advise purchasing the best paint available to safeguard your investment in floating furniture, especially for the bottom paint.

Remember to measure the height somewhere in the middle of the boat, following the curves as you go from top to bottom. Identifying the area: Let’s suppose your boat is 6 feet from top to bottom and 17 feet long. This indicates that each side is around 102 feet long. Additionally, if the boat’s back is 8 feet broad and 3 feet height, the space will be 18 square feet. Back of oat plus left side (102 square feet) plus right side (102 square feet) (18 square feet). That equals to 222 square feet of painting. 

3. Investing In The Paint :

For older boats, we’ll need an extremely durable polyurethane paint or possibly an ablative paint that won’t flake off in the water. We made an educated guess based on items from Amazon and spent roughly $400 on paint and materials.

4. Setting Up :

You should set aside $50 to $200 to cover the cost of all the materials required to do the task properly.

Around $2 To $10 Or More For Painting Per Square Foot?

Don’t give up despite the fact that a great paint job on a yacht may go well into the thousands of dollars. By receiving quotes from several local businesses, you may still negotiate a fair price. The entire painting surface on our 18-foot yacht is 222 ft.


You’ll see that we spent $360 on some premium paint if you scroll below. For a total of $40, we also bought various prep items including tape, paper, film, and sandpaper/sanding supplies. 222 square feet would cost $400 altogether. Thus $1.80 would be a reasonable estimate for the cost of painting it.

2. PRO COST Ballpark Range :

When painting boats, professionals often bill by the linear foot rather than the square foot. The painters will price the task according to, let’s say, the size of your 20-foot yacht. You finally discovered a respectable business that would charge you $2,000, which is a fair price for your 20-foot yacht, which may have a total surface area of 280 square feet.


$2,000 divided by 280 square feet equals $7 per square foot.For a high-quality work, that paint cost is surprisingly affordable. Just keep in mind that some businesses will offer you an absurdly high price, such as $5,000, if they are strapped for time or believe your insurance would cover the expense.

Your task is to negotiate the best price with the painters.

What Quantity Of Paint Will Be Required To Paint A Boat ?

The surface area we need to paint on our yacht is roughly 200 square feet. The two-part polyurethane paint we want to use claims to cover 100 square feet every quart combined.

When painting maritime vehicles, around six coats of paint should be used. Therefore, 12 gallons will be required to apply 6 coats of paint to the boat.

To ensure that the paint adheres to the surface successfully, you need also apply a primer. We’ll say four gallons or two coats of priming. 

In addition, you need 4 quarts of clear coat (boats typically have a 2-part gel coat that comes with a catalyst that forms a hard paint layer). Or, to put it more succinctly, one gallon each of primer, base coat, and clear finish for our particular boat.

In such case, the cost of boat paint would be $30 per quart (12 quarts, or 3 gallons), multiplied by $30.

How Much Will It Cost To Paint A Boat, Approximated ?

Each business will bill you in service hours for painting your boat. But it’s likely that the real time it takes a pro is less than what they are billing you.

A professional yacht painter would likely need between 10 and 40 hours to complete the job. But everything is based on the boat. For instance, in only a few hours, you might paint a tiny boat in your driveway. 

How Can I Paint A Boat Affordably ?

Repainting your own boat is the best way to save money. Although the tools needed for this paint job could be a bit more expensive.  You can keep them in your toolbox for subsequent repaints. The tools and materials listed below are necessary for the task :

1. HVLP Aerosol Paint :

HVLP sprayers are cost-effective and ideal for all outdoor projects. If you haven’t already, consider making a purchase.

2. Brush Trays And Paint :

Having a few paintbrushes on hand at the project site can be beneficial if you need to touch up or cut in any edges. Paint trays are a great method to easily access paint while working.

3. Spouts For Body Filler / Filler :

Before painting, body fillers like Bondo are an excellent way to cover up minor flaws. To make it simpler to locate your issue places while using polyester putty or body filler, label them with masking tape.

4. Cloth Dropped :

A drop cloth designed specifically for painting can help keep work spaces tidy and speed up cleanup.


The multiple external factors that sailing exposes your boat to make protective painting essential for extending its lifespan. A newly painted boat will also seem more professional and fetch a better price when you decide to sell it. The size of the boat, the kind of paint being used, and the method of completion will all affect the projected budget. The DIY project will be less expensive, but employing experts frequently results in a more pleasing boat appearance.

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