A fresh guide to fixing boat decals! - Lebenn    
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February 4, 2023

A fresh guide to fixing boat decals!

  • January 26, 2022
  • 5 min read
A fresh guide to fixing boat decals!

There are boat decals that you can buy to cover up rust holes on boat trailers. Our boat was in rough shape when we bought it, so I needed to do some touch ups. If you’re boat is anything like ours , or if your boat trailer has seen better days but still works, you might want to check out this guide for an easy way fix rusted boat decal holes. These boat decals are typically sold at marinas and extremely cheap. The boat decal repair kit made by the brand “Boatmate” costs a whopping $8 bucks!

My first plan of action was to cut out a new boat decal from some spare plastic pieces I had laying around…but after Googling “boat decal replacement” I stumbled upon something better…

Rustoleum Hammered Finish!     No sanding required! My friend recommended this because he had been doing some hammer paint jobs on his truck and it worked great, so I wanted to give it a try. It is a two-part epoxy coating that you brush on and then immediately spray with a coat of clear acrylic topcoat. The best part about this method is that you don’t have to buy anything specific or hunt around for materials. You probably already have everything you need in your home or garage already. In my case, the whole project cost me only $10 bucks thanks to the boat decals being so cheap!

Throw your boat decal away (or keep it for spares if you want!) and bring out the garbage bags or newspaper to cover up stuff you don’t want painted. Lay down some wood or cardboard to protect surfaces.

Remove boat decals by soaking them with WD-40 and peeling them off, then wipe down boat trailer with acetone (fingernail polish remover works too) to remove any leftover dirt, grease, or grime before putting on first coat of paint.

Once everything is clean and dry…start painting rustoleum onto boat trailer! Use disposable brushers for easy cleanup.

I’m going to keep this article as brief and easy to understand as possible. I love boat decals and boat looking ships, but at the same time they can look strange or out of place on some ships. If you know why this happens, it is super easy to fix! This guide is for those who want a quick explanation on boat decal placement, but if you want more boat / ship articles in general, please let me know. The boat decals are located in the Decals > Flags folder inside your Starfarer installs location.

There are 3 boat images that have 1 purpose each. These are boat_d, boat_s, and boat_n. 

Each file is a different size too! There is also boat_i which has no use for this topic so far as I’m aware. It’s big at 1024×1024 so I guess it was supposed to be used for interface icons or something?

1) boat_d – 

This one is by far the most important file when trying to place boats on your ships (or anything else). Take-up the boat_d file and open it in your favourite image editing program.

The boat itself is actually upside down, but that doesn’t matter because everyone knows boat right side up is boat upside-down… I mean boat decals always look better on the bottom of things! But seriously don’t worry about this, unless you are trying to make boat decals for yourself or replace one.

2) boat_s – 

This image has two great uses. One, if you set it as a ship interface icon (you can find out how in my other guide here ), then it makes the reflection effects show the boat pointing downwards instead of upwards like what happens when you just use the default engine thruster images. You will be able to use boat_d to place boat decals under your ship, but boat_s can be used to make boat looking ships too! The second great thing about boat_s is that you can change all of the colours on it using a program like GIMP. You have an annoying basic line art boat image now that you are really only going to use for creating custom ship interface icons!

3) boat_n – 

This file makes large trails behind objects when placed as a decal underneath them. These look cool and I think it’s called “wake” or something? Take boat_n and open it in your favourite editor, because this file is actually upside down too! Again nothing here unless you want alternative wake effects for boat decals. 


Boat_d is the boat decal file you want to use 99% of the time, boat_s can be used for boat-looking ships or creating custom ship interface icons, boat_n is cool but not necessary for placing boat decals.

Here are some examples of my new boat decals along with a few others I’ve made. They all look super realistic and absolutely nothing like boat! Maybe a little bit of a boat hint here and there though. You can click on each image if you want to view them larger versions.