There are literally thousands of options for putting your boat name and hailing port on your boat, ranging from companies that have graphics designers on staff to create one-of-a-kind artwork and professionals to install it, to companies where you design the lettering and install it, and they simply cut it. And just about everything in between.
For now, we opted for the less expensive DIY option and found a great company to get the lettering from. Our name and hailing port cost just under $30, including shipping – and many other companies charged upwards of $100 for similar apply-it-yourself lettering. Sometime in the future, we’d like to do larger lettering on the side of the boat with a fun “barefoot” graphic, but for now we were concerned with making the boat legal (Barefoot Gal is a documented vessel and thus must have a name and hailing port on the boat).
The company is DoItYourselfLettering.com and they have hundreds of fonts for you to choose from, and more than a dozen colors and several grades of vinyl. From the home page, just click on the “Design Online” button to start playing with all the options. (NOTE: I’m not affiliated with the company and make nothing on sales. I’m just a really satisfied customer.)
TIP: Measure your space before you start – I had a design we both loved, then learned it wouldn’t fit on our transom!
SECOND TIP: Check your state laws or requirements for documented vessels (or regs from your home country) to learn any size and location requirements – again, before you start. See the requirements for US Coast Guard Documented vessels.
Our lettering had to be 4” high and we had a limited space to work with, so I really liked that in the “choose a font” section, they had sorted fonts by category . . . and one was called “compact” meaning tall and narrow. I also wanted it to be fairly bold so that other boats could read it.We received the lettering in just a few days (maybe 3?) with detailed installation instructions showing several ways to do the installation depending on location and size of the vinyl. The information is also online (click here), so you can see it ahead of time and judge whether you want to do it yourself (we thought it was reasonably easy but everyone has different feelings about different types of projects . . . ).
Now here’s the really good part – Do It Yourself Lettering guarantees your installation! If you have any problems, they’ll ship you free replacement vinyl. See guarantee. This was huge in our decision to go with them and also to do it ourselves – not just the best price by far, but a “no screw up” guarantee??!! No brainer.
For what it’s worth, it took Dave and I about an hour to put the name and hailing port on Barefoot Gal. One of us probably could have done it alone, but it was easier to pull the backing tape off with two of us working together.