How to Recreate Boat Registration Numbers




Introduction: How to Recreate Boat Registration Numbers

I did this at TechShop Menlo Park.

In the process of painting a boat the registration digits got scraped off for a clean smooth look. Without these the boat is illegal to be in the water. This is how to recreate them:

Step 1: Save Your Registration Digits

And do it somewhere they will last. I made a reminder on my phone and wrote them down on several places. I know this seems redundant, but it is very important. 

Step 2: Set Up Vinyl Cutter

Turn on the vinyl cutter and install the blade. You will need BLACK vinyl to be proper and stay out of trouble with coastguards. Load it from the back and move your coordinates to the lower right side of the vinyl sheet. This is your XY home. Set your speed and force. I use speed of 4inches/sec. and force of 50grams but vinyl cutters vary so do tests until you are cutting all the way through the vinyl but not into the backing.

Step 3: Software and Vinyl Cutting

Using Flexistarter type in your registration numbers. Make sure they are 3 inches in height and choose a boring font, once again you want to stay out of trouble, coastguards are nitpicky. Push send and watch the vinyl cutter do it's magic.

Step 4: Weeding and Preparation

Using weeding tools (dental picks) remove the vinyl surrounding letters and numbers. Cover with transfer tape on the front and squeegee the surface for better sticking.

Step 5: Apply Registration!

Almost there! Peel the backing off of your sticker letting the digits remain on the transfer tape. Position stickers properly two stickers one on either side of the bow 2 to 3 inches from the top. Apply stickers by sqeegeeing or smoothing with your hands. Pull off transfer tape sideways with your fingers. Pulling it at 90 degrees out will pull the vinyl and stretch it leaving wrinkles.

Now you're all proper! Enjoy Sailing!

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    4 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction


    What kind of sailboat is that? Looks like you have a retractable keel.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I've always just painted mine on but if I had the toys to play with I'd probably go for it...thanks for sharing


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Using stencils, I assume?

    I just got a boat, so I'm trying to decide if it's better to buy some vinyl from a big box store or to buy stencils and paint.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Is there a marine grade vinyl material to use? Ordinary outdoor sign plastic sheet may not be UV protected or the adhesive may not be good under saltwater spray.