Deck paint is a versatile and economical way to make lasting changes to your boat. After 5-10 years exposed to sun and elements fiberglass becomes chalky and the originally paint color fades. These products can protect and restore your boat’s original look, or you can apply new colors to change your boat’s look and feel.
In our guide, we’ll review product category leaders of the best deck paints and explain when and how to use each product. Our buyer’s guide will simplify product selection and inspire you to take on projects to give your boat a new look.
Best Boat Deck Paints
Here are the top 10 marine deck paints.
Jamestown Distributors’ Total Boat Wet Edge Topside Paint brings new life and a professional finish to your boat. Simple one-step application makes this product a good choice for covering large areas. This product is available in 21 pre-mixed colors in order to color match previous paint or give your boat a brand new look.
- Durable 1-component marine polyurethane provides a beautiful finish with maximum abrasion resistance.
- Self-leveling formula with easy application gives professional results with just a brush & roller.
- Brush, roll, or spray on fiberglass, wood, & previously painted hulls above the waterline.
TUFF Coat Non-Skid Coating adds safety for all types of boats and docks. Typical boat finishes are hard and shiny, creating a hazard on wet decks, especially while the boat is underway. Use TUFF Coat non-skid coating on your boat’s high traffic deck surfaces to create a new, safe, and durable finish for your boat.
- Extremely durable rubberized non-skid
- Single component, no mixing required
- Available in 10 colors
3. Kiwi Grip Non-Skid Deck System
Kiwi Grip Non-Skid Deck System is a one-step professional grade product that includes a proprietary roller for a high traction texture. This product is available in six pre-mixed colors, and the white color can be tinted to any color at a local paint store. This product is highly recommended for slippery surfaces that require a durable finish.
- Includes KiwiGrip proprietary roller for a professional, high traction surfaces
- The texture can be adjusted from a “pleasure boat” texture to an industrial “work boat” texture.
- One liter covers 20 square feet.
The Rust-Oleum brand means protection, and their Marine Topside Paint promises protection for your boat’s fiberglass, wood, or metal surfaces. This paint is especially useful for protecting your boat from UV damage after years exposed to the sun.
- Oil-based formula is flexible and applies easily with excellent leveling.
- One gallon covers up to 100 square feet and dries in less than two hours.
- Rust-Oleum formula is designed for superior gloss retention and a smooth finish to maintain your boat’s beauty and elegance.
Total Boat Aluminum Boat Paint can give your aluminum boat a new look. Painting aluminum protects against pitting and corrosion due to exposure to sun and weather. For duck boats order this paint in Army Green color to make a base layer for camouflage paint.
- Durable marine paint specifically formulated for aluminum & galvanized metal boats.
- Apply directly by brush, roller, or spray.
- No primer is required.
HI-UV Clear Coat Boat Paint is particularly helpful to restore the factory shine to UV-damaged fiberglass that shows signs of chalking. For unpainted fiberglass simply mix the resin with the included MEKP and paint or spray on the fiberglass. To restore painted fiberglass, first wet-sand the fiberglass to remove the paint, then apply HI-UV Clear Boat Paint, then re-paint to the color of your choosing.
- Clear Coat Paint refinishes dull gelcoat
- Includes MEKP catalyst which mixes with the gel coat resin for hardening.
- Protects and restores UV damaged fiberglass.
Durabak’s Marine liner kit gives your boat simple, tough protection. The kit includes a smooth formula and textured formula for added traction. This product is easy to apply with a brush, roller, or spray gun.
- DIY Non-Slip Deck Floor Coating
- One step, easy application
- Mil Spec product (MIL-PRF 32171A) used by the U.S. Navy
Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Anti-Slip additive is sold by the half-pint and is designed to be mixed with 1 quart of Rust-Oleum Topside Paint. When added to Rust-Oleum Topside paint this product creates superior protection with a slip resistant or textured surface.
- Uses a unique pumice material to add texture.
- Discrete additive promotes safety with anti-slip resistance
- Can be used on wood, metal, fiberglass, or concrete for a slip-resistant finish.
TotalBoat TotalProtect Epoxy Barrier Coat System is like a new boat in a can. This two-part formula includes a base and curing system that is designed for use above and below the water line. This product is a total solution to restore old fiberglass and prevent gelcoat blisters.
- Easy to mix and apply by roller or spray.
- Provides superior corrosion protection on all underwater metals.
- Estimated coverage is 400 square feet per gallon.
Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Primer gives your boat’s wood or fiberglass an even quality undercoat before applying colored paint. It is especially important to use primer on multi-colored surfaces, highly weathered wood or fiberglass, and mixed surface applications.
- Ensures better adhesion of topcoats and longer lasting finishes.
- For use above the waterline only.
- Works on bare, lightly rusted, and previously painted surfaces.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Right Deck Paint for your Boat
Here’s some more useful information to help you choose the right deck paint for your boat.
Fiberglass is the most common material used to build recreational boats, especially the hull. Fiberglass is common because of its’ lightweight strength and shiny finish. Fiberglass shows it’s age over time, and this wear can lead to structural problems such as osmotic blisters that could cause structural failure. Fortunately, fiberglass maintenance is simple, and a coat of deck paint every few years will help your fiberglass boat last for generations.
Wood was the most common material used to build recreational boats before the 1970’s, but since the 1980’s wood has mostly been used for trim or special features on boats with fiberglass hulls. If you have a wood hull boat you have a classic, and it is important to keep your boat maintained by stripping old paint, lightly sanding, filling any voids, then repainting your boat with quality deck paint.
- Aluminum or Other Metals
Aluminum boats last for decades, but over time the metal shows wear in the form of pitting (small holes that develop in aluminum) as well as faded luster from the original showroom shine. Paints formulated for metal can protect aluminum from pitting and bring a brand new look to an older boat. Deck paint can also prevent galvanic corrosion, which happens when dissimilar metals are touching or brought together by moisture or water. Be sure to pay close attention to our buying guide because some deck paints will protect metal, but paints that contain metal are inappropriate because they will increase galvanic corrosion.
Deck Paint Texture
Deck paints vary in texture. Paints for the outer hull are formulated for a smooth shiny look. For areas that people walk on a boat it is very important to have some sort of non-skid surface. Some boats use rubberized mats, others have a light pattern formed into he fiberglass for some traction, but the most effective non-skid surfaces are specially formulated with a paint-on rough texture surface for added safety on your boat.
Deck Paint Application
Different deck paints require different application techniques. The simplest applications are one-step, one-coat, roll, spray, or brush on. If you are refreshing an older paint coat with a similar color then a one-step application paint may be all that you need. Additional steps may be required on dissimilar or damaged surfaces. These steps include light sanding, priming, or restoring or filling voids. More complex paints require mixing different compounds or coats of different compounds, although these paints are less likely to require priming. Textured paints may require special rollers to get the desired texture results, but some textured paints are mixed with aggregate compounds that do not require special rollers.
Deck Paint Review Conclusion
We hope that our guide has helped you decide how you would like to paint your boat. As long as you take into account your boat’s materials and your goals for preservation, restoration, or a completely new look you can choose the best paint for your project.