Alan & the group:
Sometimes one finds a diversity of product choices and many of them are actually superior. It's almost like one can't make a bad choice. Examples include self-steering vanes, jib furling
systems and more.
But sometimes it's tough to find a truly superior solution to an age-old question, which is why vendors keep pumping out alternative choices for us and painting a non-skid deck
may be one of them. Even flow of the material, presentable appearance, resistance to collecting dirt, and especially long-term wear make this a challenging project
, in my experience.
Products like Intergrip, which are tiny microscopic balloons of plastic and which float to the surface of the paint as it's applied to a surface, provide very even coverage. Their problem is that they wear quickly (woud you expect less of little plastic balls?) and so the deck loses it's grip relatively quickly in the high-action areas if the boat's being worked regularly (e.g. being used for full-time cruising).
Additives that last longer (crushed walnut shells, sand and other abrasives) are good dirt catchers, can be hard on clothing
and skin, and also offer optimum performance only as long as the paint lasts, since recoating will somewhat bury the abrasive surface and in turn require another application of the additive...and so you get build-up, which can lead to the deck getting paint-rich and forcing one to start the process all over again. I've seen some very nice jobs that are LPU + abrasive additive but, if the boat is being kept and especially sailed heavily, for longer periods of time, the paints going to wear off the abrasive and repainting will be needed.
One option I never see discussed is the 'less is more' choice: use salt
as an additive. Lay on your final coat while sprinkling salt
crystals just as you would sand, shell or spheres, seeking as much abrasive surface as you wish. When the paint sets up, wash off the deck. You'll have a non-skid surface without anything to wear off, other than the paint itself. With a hard paint, you'll get as much wear as is possible.