When it comes time to look at boat flooring options, the word “vinyl” always seems to pop up. Vinyl boat flooring is just one of many options available including snap-in carpet, teak decking, and even truck bedliner from the auto parts store. For many people on the fence over vinyl boat flooring or the equally popular carpeting, vinyl easily wins out in the maintenance department. Certainly the look of carpet can look much more warm and inviting so people laying down vinyl floors on their boats often have utilitarian needs. Vinyl itself is not at all unattractive, and if you use your boat often having vinyl makes the deck easy to clean. Marine carpeting, though it can be washed with water, is still quite a hassle to clean.
Depending on your fishing needs, vinyl can offer several benefits over carpet. Fishing at temperatures below freezing often means frozen water on the deck of your boat which is much worse to deal with on carpet than vinyl boat flooring. And contrary to popular expectation, vinyl does not get more slippery in subzero temperatures. If you use organic baits like worms or fish, then sometimes spills are unavoidable. The gunk from worm guts or even fresh fish that you have gutted can collect in carpet. Removing this, while possible, is a lot of work. Flies also get attracted to this organic matter and can get stuck in the carpet as well. Don’t forget blood, dirt, mud, and more. These are not selling points any carpet salesman will mention.
With vinyl all those problems go away. Because it’s smooth and there are no fibers that trap matter that falls on the floor, a little hosing or light scrub is usually enough to make your boat deck clean again. It also dries much more quickly than carpet, which retains water after you wash it. Wash down kits for vinyl flooring make cleaning easier than ever.
Even boat owners with snap-in carpets that are often offered with their boats as buying bonuses don’t even put them out for use. Savvy boat dealers offer snap-in carpets as a way to give indecisive boat buyers an excuse to buy. You get the boat with the vinyl floor but if you decide you want carpet just throw it on. Fortunately in these situations, the vinyl is not the removable piece and new boat owners soon find no use for their marine carpeting. Even if you are not buying a boat but replacing your flooring, you can use this same trick on yourself. Install vinyl flooring and if you want to, add carpet from a snap-in kit on top later.
It’s easy to see why vinyl boat flooring is so popular, especially for functional boats versus pleasure boats. For anglers, the low-maintenance factor of vinyl is usually the selling point. While carpet may look inviting it can be a cleaning nightmare, even if you don’t fish often. Simply using your boat often or having one party with many guests can get it dirty. Go with vinyl boat flooring if you want a highly durable, easy to clean, and non-slip alternative to carpet.
Last Revision: Apr 8, 2014