How to Prime and Paint an Aluminum Boat

Aluminum is one of the best materials for building various types of boats, especially hunting and flat-bottomed fishing boats. It is durable, easy to work with and lightweight. However, just like other metals, many aluminum boat owners may find it difficult to paint. The success in painting aluminum lies in perfect preparation. Proper materials and clean surface are key.

You should start by balancing your aluminum boat on two sawhorses. In this way, you can easily work around the boat. The bottom of your boat should be on sawhorses, with its inside area facing up.


This step is important if you are repainting your aluminum boat. You can do this easily by using a regular sandpaper. However, you can also use electric sander to sand both the inner and the outer areas.

However, there is no need to get the entire paint off during sanding. Aside from that, you should not worry about scratching the aluminum because it will be invisible later when you paint and your paint will stick better due to increased surface area. You should first sand the inner areas of the boat, and then reverse it on sawhorses and sand the outer areas.

Wash it

Prime and Paint a Aluminum Boat

Prime and Paint a Aluminum Boat

Take a bucket containing soap water and scrub your boat down using a brush with stiff bristles. You should scrub as hard as you can to remove all debris that has accumulated due to sanding. Now rinse the boat using a water hose equipped with power spray nozzle. Once the washing is complete, you should allow few hours for boat to dry out completely.

Apply primer to your boat

You should use oil based primer for your aluminum boat. Some professional painters also recommend thinning of primer so that it can easily reach the microscopic scratches on the surface of boat. Primer can be mixed with the paint thinner to get the desired results. You can apply primer using roller or brush, but you can get much better coat using a paint sprayer when applying the primer. First apply the primer inside the boat, and allow it to dry. Then turn the boat over and apply the primer on its outer areas. You should allow few hours for the primer to dry before you start painting.

You can paint your aluminum boat using a water resistant paint in a color of your choice. Again, you should first paint the inner areas of the boat, and when it is dry, you should pain the outer areas. You can even apply the second coat to get the desired color.

Application of clear coat

Clear cost is sprayed on the boat in the same way as the primer and the paint. It provides protection against the scratching , water and will also give a totally new look to your boat. However, it will also give a shiny look to your boat and if you don’t like that, you can skip this step.

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