How to Remove the Bottom Paint From Fiberglass Boat Hulls

by Will Charpentier

Removing the bottom paint from a boat with a fiberglass hull needs to be undertaken at regular intervals dictated by the type of bottom paint and the amount of use your boat gets. Anti-fouling bottom paint needs removal if you plan to change the type of bottom paint you are using or if the anti-fouling chemicals are depleted. If the bottom paint is simply paint, then you need to remove the paint only if it begins to wear.

1. Spread one or several plastic disposable drop cloths on the ground then position your boat over the drop cloths.

2. Use a paint roller to apply a paint stripper formulated for use on fiberglass onto the bottom of your boat. Apply the stripper from the water line to the keel, starting at the bow and working towards the stern on one side of the boat.

3. Use a 2-1/2 or 3-inch hook scraper to scrape the stripper and bottom paint off of the boat and onto the drop cloths.

4. Repeat the process on the other side of the boat.

5. Fold the drop cloths up to contain the material that you scraped from the boat. Dispose of the drop cloths properly.

Items you will need

  • Plastic disposable drop cloths
  • Paint roller
  • Paint stripper
  • Hook scraper
  • Overalls
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves


  • Wear overalls and gloves while stripping the bottom of your boat if you want to stay clean. A hat will keep paint out of your hair.


  • Safety glasses are a "must" for this activity.


About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.