I recently completed a boat improvement project that proved to be, bar none, the best thing I’ve ever done to any of the boats I’ve owned through the years: re-decking with SeaDek. If you haven’t seen this stuff yet, it’s basically a thin firm foam with a (very) sticky backing, which you cut to fit different sections of your boat’s deck, then stick in place. It’s soft underfoot—far softer than fiberglass—and eliminates the uncomfortable feeling of kneeling on the deck. It’s grippy and has better nonskid properties than diamond-pattern fiberglass both when dry and when wet. And stains, even fishblood, are no tougher to scrub away than they are on fiberglass. This stuff is easy to work with, easy to cut, easy to stick in place, and it looks great. Take a peek at how it came out on the bow of my 22′ Glacier Bay:
And, here’s a look at the stern. Note the ruler which SeaDek sent me, and I installed at the transom—it’s already proved quite handy for fast and easy fish measurements.
So, what are the down-sides? For starters, this stuff isn’t cheap. A 39″ x 77″ sheet costs about $150, so even a small boat can cost a few hundred dollars to retrofit. Then there’s longevity to consider. In the Florida sun, SeaDek says the expected lifetime is five to seven years if the boat is stored in direct sunlight. If you keep your boat covered, it’ll last a whole lot longer. Either way, however, there will probably come a day when you decide the whole project needs to be done again.
You also need to be forewarned that the process does take some time. It isn’t difficult work, but prior to cutting the material you need to template each section of your boat with sheets of mylar. Then you have to make the cuts. After that, the deck has to be prepped for installation, which is a three-step process consisting of a good wash-down, wiping the deck with Windex, then wiping one last time with acetone. Finally, you have to very carefully position and stick down the SeaDek. The complete process took me 16.5 hours, to re-deck the entire Glacier Bay.
When all is said and done, however, this DIY project is, IMHO, well worth both the time and the money. My boat has never felt so comfortable underfoot, and I can feel the difference in my back at the end of a day of fishing. Seriously, folks—if you’ve read my blogs or my columns in Texas Fish & Game regularly, you know it’s very rare that I sing the praises of an aftermarket product. This stuff is just plain awesome. If you think it might be a good project for your boat, check out the video I made of the SeaDek process. It pretty much shows you all the steps one by one, in detail.