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Paint or gel coat??


New member
Please excuse me if any of these questions come off obvious to anyone but I'm new to body work on boats. I've painted cars but I have to assume it's a totally different ball game. Maybe, ( hopefully ) not. So I have a 21' 1986 Starflite. Just all around totally faded, few gel coat cracks up on the bow. It's currently black with the red. What is the way to go? I'm looking for a shine. I don't mind cleaning and waxing etc.. it's going to be pulled every time. Is there special marine paint? Or can I just sand it down like a car, throw paint on, 5 coats of clear and go about it? I have full access to a paint booth and all the materials. I want to go to charcoal grey the whole thing. Top and bottom. Is there a different material below the rub rail? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Probably 15 years ago I wetsanded & clearcoated a 1981 Eluder with regular old DuPont Chromaclear. Still looks brand new today, my mom still owns it. This spring I wetsanded & clear coated my 251 with Nason....time will tell. Duponts hard to get anymore around here & ppg they say is reallllly hard. Afraid it not might take too well to traffic walkin across the deck. Got tired off Buffing & waxing just to be chalky again ina week. Gelcoat is more durable but more labor intensive to apply. Paint is usually shinier without all the cutting & buffing. IMHO. I grew up in a body shop....someone who works or specializes in boats would have better advice.