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How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Boat? Updated Price

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

Seeing your boat with a worn-out look obliges you to have a painting job done. A price comes along with the upgrades that you want to make. So you would ask yourself, ‘How much does it cost to paint a boat?’.

how much does It cost to paint a boat

If you choose to avail of professional services, the topside painting costs $100 to $400 per linear foot, while the bottom painting varies from $15 to $100 per linear foot. Doing it DIY has an estimate of $2 to $10 per square foot.

This article will show you more details regarding the expenses when painting a boat. You’ll know which works for you; hiring a professional or doing it yourself.


Factors that Affect the Professional Cost of Boat Painting


There’s a difference between painting a brand new boat and repainting. It’s just one of the several factors that affect the cost of boat painting. Bear in mind that you sometimes need to spend some bucks for preparations before new coatings are applied.

To be aware of the future expenses, here are the other factors:

  • The total cost of the painting job varies from boat to boat. By nature, a bigger boat has a wider surface. So you need to spend more as it necessitates a larger amount of paint than a smaller vessel.
  • The boat’s material is another factor that determines the price you’ll pay for the painting job. For instance, the process of painting an aluminum boat is different from a fiberglass one. As a result, a more complex technique, a higher fee is charged.
  • There will be necessary preparations before painting the hull and they sometimes take more time than the painting job. Well, it depends on the boat’s condition and how bad it is.

Some require refurbishing, filling, sanding, and other types of repair. These procedures are not free so expect additional charges.

  • There are various paints to choose from and they are sold at different prices. Pick the one that is suitable for your boat’s material.
  • The location of your boat also affects your spending on painting your boat. For example, your boat may be in a storage area, on the water, or a trailer. The need to haul it asks for an extra fee as well.

What You Need to Know When Hull Painting is Done by Professionals

The base cost of hiring professionals mainly depends on the boat size. In this case, based on the latest professional painting rate, every linear foot for premium selections starts around $100 to $125.

The basic procedures start at $25. This rate applies to virgin hulls or those that haven’t been painted as they don’t require paint removal.

A professional boat painter typically needs 10 to 40 hours to finish the whole boat. However, there’s no need to count the time and attempt to sum up the total cost.

You’ll receive an estimation of the painting cost from the professionals before they begin the job. It’s convenient for boat owners as they only need to decide if the price is right. If not, there’s leeway in finding a better option.

The total price can be estimated after you’ve given the information about the boat, such as size in feet and its current condition. You’ll also be given a chance to pick among various kinds of paint and the price range.

Some professionals will give you an insane bid if they know that you have boat insurance. They also charge higher costs if they have a hectic schedule. You should know these things as a boat owner to have your say in this matter.

Here are some estimates that can be done by a professional. But, of course, it may vary as it depends on your boat size and the usual charges in your location.

l 29’ boat = $25 per linear foot + $155 for premium upgrades

l 30’ to 36’ boat = $29 per linear foot + $190 for premium upgrades

l 37’ to 43’ boat = $34 per linear foot + $250 for premium upgrades

l 44’ to 49’ boat = $38 per linear foot + $330 for premium upgrades

l 50’ to 54’ boat = $43 per linear foot + $400 for premium upgrades

l 55’ to 59’ boat = $49 per linear foot + $490 for premium upgrades

l 60’ and larger boats = $56 per linear foot + $555 for premium upgrades

Extra Cost When Hiring Professionals for Boat Painting


In some cases, your boat needs to go through some processes before obtaining a new look. So there might be an extra charge on top of the given estimation.

Paint Stripping

The previous paint needs to be stripped off before applying a new one. It will also give the professionals a chance to inspect your boat for damages if there’s any. Furthermore, it gives them a much better way of priming your watercraft.


If you want to give your boat an outstanding look, you should be willing to spend more on customization. Your initials, logo, and other things can be added aside from the new coating. It’s worth spending on this as it gives your boat that signature look.

Estimating the Cost of DIY Boat Painting

When you choose to skip professional fees and handle boat painting by yourself, you should know the essential steps. They usually involve doing the math but it’s not only about numbers but discretion too.

Here are the steps you shouldn’t skip to correctly come up with the price you need for a newly painted boat.

  • Get the whole measurement of your boat to know the exact amount of paint that you’ll need. Take note of the length, width, and height. Be attentive when obtaining the numbers as it’s the biggest bulk of the overall cost.
  • After you’ve finalized the quantity of paint that will cover the entire boat, you will need to search for the right type of paint. Know the price of the type of paint you’ve picked to come up with the necessary amount.
  • Some materials are needed to complete the job and you have to buy them when they’re not on hand. Spare some amount for a spray gun, respirator, paintbrushes, sandpaper, and more.

You will need $50 to $200 to buy these things to help you achieve a satisfactory result.

  • You may also need assistance which conveys another fee. On the brighter side, it won’t cost you if it’s your friend or family member who’ll lend you a helping hand.

Boat Paints and Number of Coatings

Be particular of the following points as they’re known as the boat paints.

  • Anti-fouling paint
  • Epoxy
  • Polyurethane
  • Oil-based (for top part)
  • Gel coat (for outer layer)
  • Tar points (as bottom paint)

Water vessels vary not only because of their types but with the materials. Therefore, a specific paint is compatible with each of them. Also, the suitable paints for the interior and exterior are different.

To set an example, an affordable anti-fouling paint adheres well on old wooden boats. So when you have a speedboat that’s made of IMG composites, choose the best among the best boat paints, and of course, it will be costly.

Ablative hull paints are usually applied for two coatings, while the modified epoxy is fine with a single stroke. Here are some tips to make a calculation of the total cost for paint easier.

l 20’ to 35’ feet = 1 1/2 gallons (single coat)

l 20’ to 35’ feet = 3 gallons (double coat)

l 36’ to 51’ feet = 3 1/2 gallons (single coat)

l 36’ to 51’ feet = 6 gallons (double coat)

l 53’ to 63’ feet = 4 1/2 gallons (single coat)

l 36’ to 51’ feet = 9 gallons (double coat)

Example Calculation for DIY Boat Painting

For example, you can only spend a sum of $420 for an 18-foot boat, $360 for quality paint and $60 for the materials.

An 18-foot boat is equivalent to 222 square meters. If you divide 222 square meters to the total cost of $420, it will give you $1.89 square meters. See? It’s affordable as long as you have the patience and skills to paint your boat.


Sailing through different bodies of water exposes your boat to different outdoor elements. That’s why protective coating through the proper application of marine-grade paint is very important.

By being careful about your actions and thinking about ‘How much does it cost to paint a boat?’, you’ll be aware of the possible expenses. In specific conditions, it will leave you always prepared for the maintenance of your boat.

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