Hull Blacking

2 coats of SML bitumen applied to the hull of your vessel


Get hands-on and apply the paint yourself

P&S Service

Let us take the strain and do the blacking for you

Hull Blacking

Maintaining your boat’s hull is vital to avoid expensive steel damage and blacking with 2 coats of SML Bitumen every 2 to 3 years provides excellent protection for the bottom of your boat.

Your boat is lifted and we pressure-wash the hull to remove any underwater growth. This leaves a good clean surface to paint on.

Hull blacking with SML Bitumen can get very sticky and our team are experts in getting a fantastic finish. Alternatively, you may choose to do the blacking yourself in which case we can supply the paint and rollers (use of our handles and trays is free of charge).

P&S Marine Blacking Service:

  • Do the painting yourself – We can supply the paint
  • Let P&S paint it for you
  • 2 coats of SML Bitumen (not Epoxy)
  • All painting equipment available on site

You can stay on board your boat while we work, or leave the boat and return to the yard when your job is complete.

Note: Please be aware that during the summer staying longer than your allotted week is usually impossible. We are just too busy. Any substantial works found to be necessary, may need another visit.


Blacking prices per foot (p/f) for whole hull (inc VAT)
Prices as of January 2023.

  • £24.65 p/f Narrow boat Band 1
  • £29.96 p/f Wide beam Band 2
  • £36.64 p/f Wide beam Band 3
  • £45.02 p/f Wide beam Band 4

Pressure washing per foot (p/f) (inc VAT)

  • £ 2.50 p/f Narrow boat
  • £ 2.80 p/f Wide beam
Pressure washing before blacking
You can do it yourself
Blacking the baseplate is no problem
Nicely blacked
First class blacking! I took the advice to black to the gunnels and I love it. I cannot fault the whole process, booking was easy, questions answered immediately. Paperwork a doddle. Good price, not the cheapest, but you actually get more for your money here. 11 out of 10 for them. (June 2023)”

David Posnett

The Process

We highly recommend blacking the whole hull, the base is just as important as the sides. Of course, you may choose to black the sides (to the rubbing strakes) or base on separate occasions. Just remember you will need to come out of the water again sooner, adding the price of another lift to your maintenance costs.

The pressure washer is extremely powerful (3000 psi) so only operated by P&S Marine staff. If you are blacking your hull yourself we must carry out the pressure wash for you.

Pressure washing may reveal damage or small pits that need addressing. These need to be dealt with on an individual basis. In less busy times of the year we may be able to address unexpected issues while the boat is on land.

SML Bitumen vs Epoxy

Most of our customers prefer blacking with Bitumen every 2 to 3 years so we have listened to them. It keeps the cost down, while achieving the same level of protection as the Epoxy overall.

The cost of supplying and applying the Epoxy is very expensive and it’s not a nice application process. Although the coating is longer lasting (6 to 10 years), you will still need to take your boat out of the water for maintenance during that time. This adds a further cost. You are welcome to source your own Epoxy, but we can only advise not assist in the application. We can supply and apply primer at an additional charge.

We do still offer a grit blast service. There are very limited slots, so please see the grit blast page for further information.

Other Services


The largest lifting capacity on the UK inland waterways


Dry docking for you and your boat, and free WiFi

Engine Servicing

Smooth your sailing with consistent maintenance


Cathodic protection for your canal boat


Fabrication, welding and overplating for your boat

Grit Blasting

Hull preparation prior to painting the base and sides


The most frequently asked questions about blacking are answered here, but if you would like to ask an additional question please click below
Do you do 2 pack Epoxy?
No. We have decided not to offer Epoxy coatings. Please read above for more information. You are welcome to DIY epoxy. You will have up to 2 weeks hardstanding to complete.
Can I apply bitumen over a hull that already has Epoxy?

Yes. Applying 2 coats of bitumen over your old Epoxy is fine. Covering bitumen with Epoxy is not unless you use Ballastic Epoxy.

If I paint myself will anyone assist me?

No. The DIY option is just that, you do it yourself, but we are here to give advice if you need it. Don’t worry we won’t leave you hanging we are happy to give you tips to help you complete the job on time. We will NOT assist with Epoxy.

Can I use the P&S Marine pressure washer?

No. Our pressure washer is extremely powerful, so for safety and insurance reasons we only allow our staff to operate it. If you are DIY blacking we will pressure wash your hull for you. This is charged per foot £2.50 for narrow beams and £2.80 for wide beams.

Do I need to order paint from you before I arrive?
No. We always have plenty of SML paint in stock. Tins are 5 litres each and we advise you as to how many tins you will require using, the approximate square footage of your boat. Once a tin is open it must be paid for. Painting equipment such as rollers and brushes are available to buy, but trays and handles are available to use free of charge. If you are doing DIY Epoxy please let us know if you wish us to source your paint.
What are the Bands?
Our hull blacking pricing is split into Bands 1 to 4, depending on the width of your boat.
Band 1 – Narrow boat up to 7ft
Band 2 – Wide beam 7ft 1in to 9ft 11in
Band 3 – Wide beam 10ft to 12ft 11in
Band 4 – Wide beam 13ft -14ft
If you are just blacking the sides it is priced by the length per ft.
Please contact us for a quote.