Paint protection film (PPF) is known for the protection it provides from rock chips, road debris, scratches and scuffs, chemical stains and etching and ultraviolet (UV) ray damage that affect cars … but what about boats and their interiors?

Hitting the Water

“With PPF’s growing awareness, more fields are seeing the uses of it,” says Tony Kiger, territory manager and PPF, ceramic coatings and paint corrections trainer at Autobahn, Hüper Optik and Edge. “It could be boats, planes or counter tops in a commercial or residential environment where you’re protecting paint, glass, metal, wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber and other substrates. The only limits are your imagination.”

Tony Kiger, territory manager and PPF, ceramic coatings and paint corrections trainer at Autobahn, Hüper Optik and Edge, joined the brands in 2022.

Before joining Autobahn, Hüper Optik and Edge, Kiger installed PPF on eight boats ranging from 20-foot bass boats to 65-foot HCBs and Catamarans. Protection points varied for each particular boat.

In 2021, Kiger applied PPF to a 2020 “Sea Dreams” 53-foot HCB Sueños. The boat sold for $3 million and was equipped with five supercharged 450R motors pushing 2,250 horsepower to the prop shaft of the vessel.

Kiger was working for Ultimate Auto of Orlando, Fla., at the time. While there, the company started a second venture called Ultimate Marine where they would buy a hull from a company like HCB or Invincible and completely customize it. Paint, speakers, interior, sea deck, trim, hardware—you name it. The “Sea Dreams” project represented a challenge distinct from exotic supercars.

“The vehicles that I normally worked on were not your average daily drivers,” Kiger says. “The least expensive were $100,000. Many were around a half-million dollars due to being custom wide-body builds that we (Ultimate Auto) would build in house. Brabus G Wagons, Mansory/Novitec Roll Royce’s, Novitec Ferrari’s and Techart Porsches. These would be custom painted, and a day or two later, I would be laying PPF on the entire vehicle for protection.”

While aquatic projects presented challenges unique from cars, Kiger says boat-based PPF installations are more approachable. “The main difference is the volume of PPF that will be applied,” he shares.

Getting to Work

“The single largest piece of PPF on this boat was 60 inches tall by 28 feet long wrapping all the way around the helm,” Kiger says of the “Sea Dreams” project. “I had to work with three feet at a time due to the contamination in the air, cleaning the panel and trimming out ports and covers as I went. This was a one-and-done so the pressure was high on a custom-painted boat where you are looking for few seams. All in all, roughly 600 square-feet of PPF was installed.”

According to Tony Kiger, territory manager and PPF, ceramic coatings and paint corrections trainer at Autobahn, Hüper Optik and Edge, PPF’s applications extend beyond a car’s exterior.

The job took two-and-a-half days. “We measured the film and ensured we had large enough rolls to cover all of the areas I would be protecting, also ensuring all edges were sealed before the boat ever got shipped out to sea water. We didn’t want any lifting edges or water intrusion distorting or causing film failure due to the lack of heat-sealed edges.”

Kiger protected the entire helm and cockpit, the seat mounts, handrails, windscreen and the full-forward hatch. Kiger also covered the areas that would be bumped into, sat on or worked from for fishing.

New Horizons

“Over the years, I have applied PPF to many different surfaces such as tabletops (metal or wood) in either gloss or satin [finish],” Kiger says. “This allows for a protective layer that can look natural or even change the appearance of the surface. My dishwasher at home is raw stainless steel yet still streaks up bad as it is not fingerprint resistant like the coating on my smart fridge. I decided to apply PPF to save myself from having to wipe it down as much and protect the finish from two little boys running around the house.”

In addition to boats and their interiors, Kiger says car interiors and cellphone screens can be protected. No one knows what the future holds, but with the price of high-demand goods increasing and their stock fluctuating, he says more people are looking to protect what they already have as those items are becoming more difficult to replace.

“When we look at protecting a vehicle’s finish, many may look at just the surface at face value,” Kiger shares. “But many vehicles come with a high-gloss black trim that we call piano black—super soft finishes that scratch or swirl extremely easily. Instead of having to replace the trim, or live with it, we can protect the finish with PPF or even change the appearance of it.”

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