Documentation Number Board

Each boat that has Coast Guard documentation (federal) is required to display that unique documentation number somewhere in the interior of the boat. When we bought C Ghost, her documentation number was displayed on the interior of the starboard cockpit locker via a white board with black lettering. If the boat is boarded or inspected by the Coast Guard, they must view this number.

To access the original number board we had to lift the hatch of the starboard cockpit locker and remove any gear covering it.

While in the Bahamas, we met folks who had a beautifully treated wooden board inscribed with their number in their boat’s salon, and we were taken with it. It is always neat to see a “necessary” item become a smart-looking addition to a vessel.

We therefore again enlisted the help of Paula’s Dad (Mort) and he produced a great tooled oblong of teak with the digits carefully routed out to a good depth. This was, by design, just the size of a planned hanging space on the bulkhead behind the companionway stairs in our galley. Mort decided to adorn each end with a five-pointed star surrounded by a circle. Only later did he and we realize that this bore a resemblance to the Island Packet star.

The unfinished teak number board as received from the Mortmade woodshop.

Paula hand-sanded the board to smooth consistency. We then chose black gloss acrylic paint (vs. our other considered choice, white) and Paula carefully filled in the depths and sides of the numerals with a very tiny brush and occasional swearing. A can of mineral spirits was kept close by for any mistakes. Two coats and a “touch-up” coat sufficed.

The board has now had a preparatory hand sanding and the painting of the numerals has begun.
The numbers are painted (2 coats and touch-up) and the first application of tung oil is soaking in.

The board was then wet-sanded with 8 coats of tung oil and 400 grit sandpaper until it was soft, smooth, and faintly glossy.

Final result after all the coats of wet-sanded oil are complete.

Two brass screws fit into the center of the stars to mount it to the bulkhead. We now have an eye-pleasing addition to the salon that also serves a practical function. Our thanks again to Dad’s “Mortmade” workshop.

Our new number board in place. In the right side of the picture is an earlier Mortmade project – our spice rack.

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Morton M. Lyons

PR- What a great job. The pictures make the letters look, to me, like wrought iron. I am pleased with the results even though I originally thought the letters should be white. PR-1, Dad-0

Paula

Glad you liked the treatment, Dad. Thanks again for your workmanship. It was fun working with such a nice piece. Couldn’t have done it without you!