How to paint fiberglass boats

Updated February 21, 2017

Fibreglass boats are popular with fisherman and recreational users alike. Over time, exposure to air and seawater can wear away the glossy painted finish on these boats, while minor collisions and damage can cause dents and dings to the fibreglass transom. Fortunately, it is relatively easy for the average boat owner to repair and paint her boat to restore its shiny finish.

Remove any old wax or sealant on the transom using a wax-removing solvent. Apply a liberal amount of the solvent to a rag or towel and wipe the entire surface of the transom until all waxes and sealants are removed.

Fill any holes or dents using an epoxy putty. Once the putty has dried, sand the area until it is smooth and level with the remainder of the transom's surface.

Use a paint roller to apply a thin layer of primer to the boat. Choose a primer that is specifically made for use on fibreglass. Allow 24 hours for the primer coat to dry before proceeding with the next step.

Select a two-part urethane enamel paint and mix it according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Roll a thin coat of your paint mixture onto the transom, using a paint roller that is suited for enamel paints. Apply the paint in one direction, painting in smooth, even rows.

Wait 1 hour to allow the first coat to dry, then repeat Step 5 to apply a second coat.


Products like yacht enamels can be used in lieu of urethane paint. These enamels won't last as long, but pose less of a health hazard during application.


The urethane paint used to paint fibreglass boats can be very dangerous. Wear goggles and a chemical respirator mask during application to protect your health.

Things You'll Need

  • Wax-removing solvent
  • Rag or towel
  • Epoxy putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Fiberglass primer
  • Paint roller
  • Two-part urethane paint
  • Goggles
  • Respirator mask
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About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.