Are you tired of landing on your backside?
I was too. We’ve all been there, it’s mid-July, and you want to take a dip, and once you hop back on board with a puddle below, you hit the deck and nearly end up needing a hip replacement. Okay, maybe the fall wasn’t that bad, but you get the point. Not to mention, if you have kids like I do, watching them fall on the deck is even worse.
Don’t worry; there’s a solution! And more than just one! If you’ve been boating for a while, you have noticed the boats with Seadek flooring or one of the alternatives we will cover in the article. But when you find it yourself, you most likely had the same reaction I did—sticker shock.
Keep reading to discover Seadek alternatives including options for DIY projects.
The problem that Seadek solved when it was the first to hit the market was simple. Prevent boaters from slipping on a wet deck and make it look good. Seadek was the first big name to release a solution other than the traditional non-nonskid paint (more on this later).
You can’t tell me that Seadek doesn’t look good. It can turn a pretty boat into a true head-turner.
But when considering the square footage needed to cover the deck and possibly any other areas of the boat plus the price per square foot, the cost can become too much for many boaters.
The Market Leader
Seadek. The name we all associate with any boat traction pad. Similar to the way the Yeti and Penn have dominated their respective markets, so had Seadek.
And to be honest, this is another case where the old saying – “you get what you pay for,” is true.
Seadek is, in my opinion, “the best,” considering durability, effectiveness, the feel, and of course, the look.
But in recent years, the market for boat traction pads has become more crowded. By no means is the market in the same realm as the cooler market, where there are now more than a dozen coolers trying to look like a Yeti. I don’t think the demand will ever be there to warrant enough space for companies to go bananas like with “Yeti Look A Likes.”
So without further ado, let’s look at the Seadek alternatives available today.
- Gatorstep – Best Seadek Alternative Overall
- MarineMat – Easiest to DIY
- Aquamarine deck – Most Options for DIYers
- Black Tip Jetsports – Best For PWC’s
- Nonskid Paint – Classic Look (What I Have on My Deck)
Without a doubt, Gatorstep is my top pick for a Seadek alternative.
No, I don’t have it on my vessel, but I have now stepped foot on this boat traction pad for the last few years, and man, they are not far behind Seadek.
Whether Gatorstep is on the deck or a Yeti, the number of customization options is endless and looks impressive. Just check out their customer gallery to see for yourself.
Gatorstep has Tier 1 Dealers spread out across the country to help ensure a perfect look once installed. One of the MAJOR DIFFERENCES between Gatorstep and Seadek is the adhesive used.
Once Seadek is applied to the deck, it is there to stay, and if you try to peel it off, you will ruin the Seadek and have to start over. With that being said, this is where Gatorstep sets itself apart. Gatorstep allows DIYer’s a redo or two. You certainly don’t want to apply continually and peel it off multiple times because the adhesive will eventually be worn down. But, if you do not love how it looks upon first application, Gatorstep traction pads will peel off and go back on sufficiently.
The one area I believe that Seadek has the upper hand in is durability. When comparing the feel and durability of the two, Seadek is noticeably thicker, more supportive, and feels like it stands up to the elements longer than Gatorstep.
If you want a Seadek alternative that you can do on your own, without the pressure of having to nail the application the first time, Gatorstep is your answer. In my opinion, it looks just as good as Seadek and allows for endless customization.
What I like most about MarineMat, is their “Stick-it” series. This mat series is built to the same quality as their more well-known “Snap-it” series but instead uses a more straightforward application process.
The easy peel-and-stick application process is an excellent option if you’re looking to avoid the cost of paying a professional for an application.
Check out this video and see for yourself what I mean.
I think the one downside to MarineMat is that it doesn’t offer near the amount of customization that Seadek and Gatorstep do.
One of the things I like most about Aquamarine Deck is that they have so many application options. They have pads for Yeti’s, casting platforms, gunnels, rod protectors, dash pads, fish rulers, and more.
The application process seems straightforward, and handymen ought to be able to apply without too much hassle.
Check out the video below for a better idea of how to apply Aqua Marine Decking.
The one downside to Aquamarine Deck is that they don’t have many colors to choose from. They have the basics like black, white, and gray, but if you are looking for something more custom, you may have to look elsewhere.
This is what I currently have on my vessel. I own a 1987 Pro-line center console that has been refurbished more than once. It has a classic look with teak accents, and I decided any modern boat decking didn’t fit the look I was going for.
Nonskid serves its purpose. It doesn’t have the head-turning appeal compared to the other options mentioned here, but it works surprisingly well. With that being said, as far as performance and preventing slips, modern decking is more effective.
What I like most about nonskid is that it is affordable compared to the other options and also maintains the original look of a boat.
The downside to nonskid is that it can be tricky to apply and get a consistent finish. If you are going to go this route, I would recommend having it done professionally.
There are many Seadek alternatives on the market today. I have listed a few of the more popular ones above. It depends on your needs as to which one is the best for you.
No matter which one you choose, I think you will be happy with the difference it will make on your vessel.
For more guidance on choosing gear, check out the pages below: