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Brighten up your boat with non skid deck paint – Waterborne

Looking to give an old boat new life? Repainting the decks with non skid deck paint is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to dramatically improve your boat’s appearance. Chris Valentino is in the process of restoring his 1967 O’Day Widgeon and has been blogging about it at C2 Valentino. He shares this quick and easy deck DIY.

Sometimes things are just tired and ready for a refresh! In the case of my 1967 O’Day Widgeon sailboat, the non-skid paint was ready for a new breath of life. While it’s certainly tempting to run off to the boat store to buy some paint and go to town, a little bit of preparation goes a long way in delivering results. I was able to achieve amazing results in 3 easy steps; (1) a good cleaning, (2) sanding the existing surface, and finally (3) painting.

Step 1: Cleaning

For cleaning I first washed the surface with a deck brush and boat soap. This was then followed up with a pressure wash using a general usage tip. Finally, I used the deck brush and boat soap again and then rinsed to make sure the surface was as clean as I could get it.

non skid deck paint


Step 2: Sanding

After taping out any areas that you don’t want sanded, use an orbital palm sander with 120 grit paper. I went to work to sand the surface to a “milky” appearance. If you have any paint flaking off, it’s really important to make sure that you remove all of it. In addition, now is the time to work out any imperfections in the surface. The result is a semi-smooth surface that is ready to accept paint.

Editor’s note: If you sand through the gelcoat, exposing the bare fibreglass on a balsa core or foam deck, you should first seal the exposed areas with epoxy before painting. Many anti-skid products will not keep water from penetrating the deck.

Pro tip! If you have any imperfections that can’t be sanded away (like chips or big dents), now is a good time to fill them with a two-part filler (for above the waterline only). Never used 2-part filler before? Not to worry, these products are are super easy to use and can be quickly sanded off if you goof up.


non skid deck paint


Step 3: Painting

Before you apply non skid deck paint tape out any borders and wipe down the areas you will be painting with acetone. I used Pettit non skid deck paint in the off-white color. The overall length of the O’Day is 13’, so following the directions on the can I bought 1-quart. In the end, it took 2-quarts of paint to get a consistent finish. It is important to stir the paint really well. My basic rule of thumb is, if you think you’re done stirring you’re not. The non-skid bits of material within the paint, have a tendency to settle to the bottom of the can. Don’t spend a lot of money on paint brushes, the el-cheapo ones you buy and throw away work just fine. No sanding was necessary between coats either.

non skid deck paint

non skid deck paint