A vinyl wrap is basically a big sticker. A digital design for the "sticker" is produced at scale, the appropriate vinyl is printed via a large flatbed printer (these things are big and expensive and must be suited for the job) and the "sticker" is applied to the boat using a heat gun and "scraper" to activate the glue on the reverse of the vinyl and remove all air bubbles. The technology is awesome and can produce a very good result if it is done right.
1. The vinyl must be suitable for the purpose, which means you need to specify the high quality product and this costs. The ocean is a harsh environment. There are vinyls that are specifically suited for the application and you have to get these. Get a cheap vinyl for a boat and it will fail in no time.
2. Make sure the printer has the right equipment to produce the "raw" product. The equipment to do the job generally has a cost of $300k+ and you have to use the right inks. Experience in producing wraps for boats is essential.
3. Surface preparation is important. The expected life of a good quality vinyl wrap is 7 to 10 years. As with everything, the surface condition when the material is applied has a bearing on its life span. The general requirement for a wrap is clean and smooth with a surface that the glue will stick to. Raw aluminium is ok but freshly painted and cured is probably the best - there is a potentially big labour cost in surface prep and it may be something you would want to do yourself. There are specific cleaning fluids that should be applied prior to application as they effectively prepare the surface.
4. A vinyl wrap won't specifically protect against "dings". The vinyl is effectively a thin coating and doesn't really offer the boat protection against impact. The vinyl will "mould" into dings so they will not generally be noticeable but it is not really a protection. In fact, vinyl should be protected from activities that could tear it.
5. It is not that easy to install. Boats have a lot of surfaces that change angle. Car panels are generally fairly uniform surfaces when broken into individual panels. Boat surfaces are long and move around a lot. This needs to be considered in design and installation. You need someone that is experienced in boats to design and install it properly.
6. Edge sealing is critical. Given that the "sticker" is subject to force from water all of the edges have to be sealed properly, and this is an ongoing maintenance requirement. The product to do this is relatively inexpensive but if you want the wrap to last it needs to be done every year or so.
We are happy to help you with your project, and find the right person to do the job.