• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Replacing a vinyl name

Oct 10, 2011
Tartan 34C Toms River, New Jersey
I know this has been asked before but I guess I'm just to lazy to look it up. Anyway It's time to replace my vinyl name. What is the best and easiest way to remove it?
I've heard about a eraser on the end of a drill, and comments?
While I'm at it I want to replace the registration numbers as they are getting shabby. The vinyl name has been on for about 6 years, as for the numbers I don't have any idea. But it's been a real long time.
I plan on using a teak cover plate to cover the ghost left by the numbers.
Jan 7, 2011
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Probably many options, but I used a razor blade to get under my old boat name decal. You have to be very careful not to cut into the gel coat...once I got an edge lifted up, I could peel pieces off.

Others use some heat (heat gun, hair dryer, etc.) and a scraper. Might be able to get away with a plastic scraper with this method....

Use some Goo Gone afterwords to remove any residue adhesive....

Jul 7, 2004
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
Another vote for a heat gun and goo remover. You'll still see a shadow after the old vinyl is gone.
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: rgranger
Jan 19, 2010
Hunter 26 Charleston
Yep... heat gun or a decent hair dryer will soften the vinyl and allow it to come off in one piece.
Nov 3, 2018
Cape Dory, Albin 300ms Motorsailer, Vega Baltimore
I was working away with a heat guy and scraper on the vinyl lettering on my boat making very slow progress when the yard manager came by shaking his head an telling me there was a much much easier way to do it- 3M eraser wheel. You just chuck it into your drill and gently pass it over the graphics an off they come. Using the heat gun it took me over two hours to do one side, the eraser wheel took about 10 minutes.
Oct 19, 2017
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Nice responses. I think all of them will work. I couldn't say which was best, but I really like the eraser wheel suggestion. It might be interesting to try a variety for future comparison. Different materials respond differently to temperature, hard glues begin to crack when the two materials they are gluing shrink or expand at different rates with temperature change. Soft glues may get softer under heat and harden right up in the cold. These properties can be interesting to exploit.

I use to have a really hard time washing cheese out of our pans using really hot water and soap, then I tried filling a pan with icewater. The cheese practically fell off. Comes right out of the dish brush too.

Just a thought. Go with the eraser wheel.

-Will (Dragonfly)
May 11, 2005
Hunter 37-cutter Port Clinton, Ohio
We used a razor blade to get it off, then goo-gone for the remaining adhesive. After it was clean, we used a Mr Clean scrubby pad which has a mild bleach - that helped with the discoloration left by the old name. Then we waxed and put on the new name.
Oct 10, 2011
Tartan 34C Toms River, New Jersey
Thank you all for the suggestions. I am going to give the 3M eraser wheel a try. I did a little research and it seems that only the 3M brand is good all the other ones no so much.
I will be compounding the entire hull after the vinyl removal, paying a little more attention to the transom where the name was. As for the registration numbers I'll be covering the area with a teak board and new numbers. I doubt I will be able to blend/remove the ghost as they have been on for 50 years.
  • Like
Likes: Tom J
Jan 24, 2018
Catalina 25 Whiskeytown Lake
We used a heat gun to get the bulk of the old name that had been on for 30 years. It got much of it, then the 3M eraser got the rest. We used Meguire’s finishing compound and 3M Wax and Restorer after that. Pretty much got rid of the ghosting.

Nov 30, 2015
Hunter 1978 H30 Cherubini, Treman Marina, Ithaca, NY
LAZY? Yep, that’s me too! I decided to hire my unemployed, body working, Brother-in Law! His choice was careful razor blading and compounding with a marine grade Meguiars cutting agent and finish with a Mr. Clean Scrubbing Sponge. The shadow left, but the lettering appeared embossed. After a few weeks in the suns the embossing went way. The boat was named “For Pete’s Sake”, now not so much. If you zoom on the picture you can see the embossing.


Jan 19, 2010
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Can't say how many times I've done this.. Heat gun and razor blade. Then from a flooring store I get adhesive remover. A little goes a long way. Once clear of all stickiness, 3M glass restorer is used with a buffer. Heavy oxidation 3m is used when necessary. Then it's grease pencil and soapy water and squeegee time...
Jan 5, 2017
Beneteau First 38 Lyall Harbour Saturna Island
If you use a heat gun don't use too much heat or you'll melt the vinyl into the gelcoat. ( don't ask)
Oct 10, 2011
Tartan 34C Toms River, New Jersey
I am going to give this product a try after the vinyl removal. I've heard good things about it, any comments? Then Collinite 925.
Woody Wax Ultra Gloss Restoring Compound