Good lettering enamel should last 5-7 years if you keep it waxed.
After 20+ years of Sign Painting and specialiZing in lettering all sorts of boats both in and out of the water
I have plenty of thoughts about all this
1. There ARE still Sign Painters out there, but we are a vanishing breed, and hard to find.
WILL last if applied correctly, waxed now and then. just think of how many posts you have seen about people having a hard time getting the lettering off....lol
3. If you change boats often, or scratch your boat often, then maybe decals are the best choice. If you plan on keeping the boat then removing the name will not be an issue.
So here is the trade
Vinyl lettering is charges usually by the inch of letter height....so 8" letter at $1 an inch =$8.00. If you have a long name or a really big boat that can add up.....PLUS most Sign Shops have a minimum charge of some kind.
That is for ONE color letter. If you want extra details like an outline on the letters, or a drop shadow to make it look classier the double the cost. If you want drop shadow AND an outline then Triple the cost.
If I paint
it, I can keep the costs on the extras down because I am not cutting and throwing away all that excess and very expensive vinyl.
Applying decals to a compound curve can be a challenge and these days most are done wrong. Painting it is compensated for during the layout process.
Sooooo if you want a plain one color boring look, then go for the decal. If you want something really nice, that stands out from the rest, and involves some real old time Craftsmanship, along with all the free stories you can stand the take the time to find the local Old Sign Painter, feed him some coffee to sober him up, and let him/or her work their magic.
You did not say where your home port is, but if you come near the Pamlico Sound area of NC look me up.
By the way.....nothing gets attention in a Marina like a Sign Painter working of a project
......except maybe a pretty girl, or free beer
, and eventually they will end up over watching the Sign Painter....lol