Changing the Name- part 1

When we purchased the boat, the name she came with was Deja Blue. That name would have to go. After much discussion, we settled on Incorrigible. In order to change the name, the first step would have to be removing the old name. Luckily, the previous owner had used self-adhesive vinyl letters across the transom. Removing the lettering should be easy.

The old name, prior to starting work

Researching the process of removing vinyl letters, I found a ton of conflicting information. Some people insisted that heat was the only way to go. Others said soapy water in a spray bottle. Some people recommended dedicated vinyl removal chemicals.

Naming-striping tools

I opted for heat. I had a heat-gun from a non-boat project (ask me about waxing canvas clothing some time…), plus picked up a package of plastic razor-style scrapers. I also had a back-up spray bottle of soapy water, in case I found the vinyl was sticking back to the boat.

The entire process ended up being pretty easy. This morning was about 50F, and sunny. Using the heat-gun on low, I was able to get the scraper under a corner and lift each letter pretty effectively. It turns out the two-tone lettering was actually two layers of vinyl. Places where there was two layers was actually easier to remove, not harder. I did try spraying things down with the soapy water, but it didn’t seem to make a different.


Once I got the vinyl off, all that was left was some of the adhesive. I used a bottle of Goo-Gone and a paper towel to soften it, and then scraping with the plastic razor-scraper. Once I was finished, I hit the whole area with some Simple Green to make sure the Goo-Gone didn’t eat into the wax.

Once finished, I moved forward and striped of the old registration stickers. While the previous owner never bothered to put the state registration letters on the bow, he also never took the old registration stickers off, or laid them on top of each other. So, I had a white patch covering a stack of Maine registrations, plus a row of Maryland registrations from 2009-2015. All gone now.


Looking at the transom, there is some ghosting from the wax oxidizing around the old letters. I’ll probably have to buff, polish and wax the transom to get this off.

The next step will be to order and install the new name. I’ll probably have to wait until right before launching, since the weather has to be fairly warm (like above 60F). Worst case scenario, we sail a few days without the name, and install it later into the season, since the boat will be out of the water most of the time.

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