Sometimes it can be very hard to select the best topside paint for a specific application. There are a number of variables, and not all paints are created equally. Marine paints can commonly be used as household paints, but it generally does not work so well the other way around.
Be sure to weigh the options and consider the following factors if a paint seems right for you.
UV stability: This is one of the most important choices when selecting a paint. Generally, 2-part paints have much higher UV resistance and stability. The technology of 1-part polyurethane paints has come a long way, but still can not match the longevity of 2-part paints. A 2-part paint should be considered for any paint job that demands the absolute highest amount of UV protection—especially in more tropical or exposed climates. In most other cases, 1-part paints will have more than adequate UV resistance.
Finish type: Gloss and lower sheen coatings each have very different advantages. Gloss paints tend to have more UV resistance, as they reflect the sun's rays as opposed to absorbing them. Gloss paints also make it a little tougher to hide imperfections, as they will show dust, hairs, sags, and imperfect fairing a lot more prominently. Gloss coatings also become much more slick when wet. Lower sheen coatings such as satin, matte, and flat finishes will help hide imperfections, will not draw as much attention, and are much better for soles, decks, and other places where wet traction is important for safety.
Continuous submersion: Most paints are not designed for continuous submersion under water, but this does not always exclude a paint from certain applications. Many paints will allow for a few hours at a time to a few days of continuous submersion, so always be sure you understand the submersion tolerance for each paint you're considering. It may not always be necessary to buy a very expensive paint for a canoe or kayak that will only be submerged for a few hours at a time.
Abrasion resistance: What kind of abrasive wear and tear do you expect from the paint? Do you have a kayak or dinghy that will be dragged on rocky beaches? Generally speaking, 2-part paints have much better abrasion resistance due to their increased hardness, compared to 1-part paints.
Ease of application: 1-part paints are very easy to apply, as they tend to be air dry paints that cure on their own, and are a lot more tolerant to a wider selection of substrates. They tend to adhere well to a wider range of primer types and don't usually involve much mixing of thinners or additives to make them work. 2-part paints require you to mix a base and activator or accelerator to force them to cure. These paints tend to be more sensitive to contaminants, temperature, application methods, and reducers.
Cost: 1-part paints are almost always cheaper, and any recommended reducers also tend to be more affordable. 2-part paints usually require a reducer for proper flow, in addition to being more expensive. Many of the 2-part paints can be 2-4 times the cost per square foot of coverage.