How to Remove a Painted Boat Name: Try Easy-Off

True story: A guy brings home a used boat he just bought, and he is just beaming. His wife comes out, says nothing at first, then points to the boat and says, “You’re going to take care of that, right?” and heads back inside.

For painted-on names, some people use Easy-Off over cleaner as a removal remedy.

The guy hasn’t thought much about it, but after a moment or two he understands. There, on the hullsides in bold letters, is one of the most trite, unimaginative names ever painted on gelcoat: Wet Dream. That name had to go.

The good news is that it wasn’t as difficult as you might think. The home remedy is Easy-Off oven cleaner, which usually does the trick. So he bought a can, and with a little spare time and elbow grease, he renamed his boat: We Dream. The Easy-Off removed the “t” on both sides of the hull, so now he had a happy wife and permission to store the boat at home uncovered.

Easy-Off works well enough that the professionals use it for removing painted letters and stripes, according to Mike Miro, owner of Dynamic Fiberglass Boat Repairs in Deltona, Fla., who also heard about it second-hand. “It works,” says Miro. “I don’t know why, but it does. I’ve never even looked at the can.”

So the first professional tip for removing painted-on names was sourced from, oddly enough, word of mouth among do-it-yourselfers. You will have to wet sand and buff the gelcoat that was underneath the paint to restore the finish, but Easy-Off is the way to go.

Just be sure to wear gloves and a mask when you use it because it’s not a pleasant chemical to work with. But that’s a small price to pay for any boater. Because a happy wife is a happy life.

Brett Becker





  1. Denise says:

    Hi Brett,
    I see you wrote this over four years ago, so I’m not sure if you’ll even see this. Question, just in case: do you use a wet sander with it? Scraper? Heat? What’s the procedure?

    Thank you!

    • Boat Trader says:

      Hi Denise. The key is not to damage the gelcoat. Tape off surrounding areas and apply the Easy-Off or conventional paint stripper to the paint with a brush, sponge, or rag (using gloves). Let it sit and work for a while, then wipe it off or push it off with a plastic putty knife. If there’s residue afterwards try lightly wet-sanding by hand using 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper. No machine sanding, no heat. Follow that if you need to with plain old rubbing compound on a rag. Then re-wax. Good luck!