How Much Does Boat Painting Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 15, 2018

Boat painting, as any boat owner would agree, is extremely important.  Aside from the fact that it can add style and color, it also offers extra protection to the walls and bottom of the boat  Paint that contains copper, which discourages the growth of algae, barnacles and other marine organisms on the hull, is generally the paint of choice by most boat owners.  Whether the boat is made of aluminum or fiberglass, painting a boat is beneficial. However, boat painting is not easy.  It requires a lot of preparation and hard work.  As a matter of fact, almost 75% of the job is consumed by prep work alone.

Fishing boat by rcasha, on Flickr
Fishing boat” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by rcasha

How much does boat painting cost per foot?

Overall, it is safe to budget at least $85 to $150 per foot for the hull and around $135 to $185 per foot for the deck.  The costs will depend on the portion of the boat being painted, the contractor you’re using, the type of boat, the length of the boat and where you live.

According to members on, a forum member said a painting job for the hull can be around $150 per foot or around $500 per foot for the deck.  According to the forums, a 30-foot boat, for instance, could cost $1,050 and can take up to four weeks to complete.

This forum thread on said the costs of a paint job is going to be around $125 a linear foot for the hull and about $150 per foot for the decks.

Factors that affect the price:

The type of boat

Aluminum and fiberglass will have a different process when it comes to painting, and therefore, the prices will differ from each other.

The size of the boat

Most paint jobs are priced by the foot.  Of course, the larger the boat is, the more you’re going to pay.

The type of paint

If you want a premium paint that will offer more protection than an ordinary paint, then be prepared to pay more.  For some boat paint jobs, for example, customers may be able to request an ablative paint.  The said paint is a lot more expensive than ordinary paints.

What is going to be included?

A painting job, on average, can take at least a few weeks or may even take months since extensive preparation is needed.  Preparation, for example, will include scraping and sanding the entire surface of the boat.  According to an article on, sanding takes 50 percent of the entire job.  Depending on the boat, the paint will be brushed or sprayed, however, the latter is usually used for fiberglass boats.

What are the extra costs?

Bottom painting

This is usually done separately.  Painting the bottom of the boat is much different since it gives a different level of protection for your boat.  The bottom paint will eliminate the growth of organisms while your boat is in the water.  Of course, there is a separate fee for this, mostly due to the fact that special paints are used for bottom painting.   Bottom painting, depending on the condition of the existing paint coat can cost $25 to $50 per foot.

Bottom paint stripping

Paint stripping is usually done when your boat is outside of the water and when your boat’s bottom has plenty of chips.  To strip the boat of its paint, this can be an additional charge if the professional doesn’t already include it.  Plan on spending at least $20 per foot to have the paint stripped


If you would like a special type of paint job that adds some personality and design to your boat rather than just choosing one stock color, you will have to pay extra for this.

Tips to know:

For a fiberglass paint job, it is suggested that only the best two-part marine grade polyurethane paints should be used.  It is not advised to use an automotive primer and paint for a fiberglass boat since these products are not designed to adhere to a gel coat on a fiberglass surface.

How can I save money?

Always get multiple quotes.  Whether it’s talking with some friends who own a boat or contacting local professionals online, don’t settle on the first quote.

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