Painting the deck was easily as intensive and tiring as painting and fixing the bottom. Thankfully, Matt and I only had to do it twice.
When we first got the boat, years of exposure had broken down the paint, exposing a lot of the gel coat beneath. The paint that was still attached, was barely hanging on. In fact, you had to be careful when stepping or sitting on the deck, since the old paint would usually stain your skin or clothes in dusty patches.
So much of what we did was trial and error. Many of the project Matt and I took on, were ones we had never done before. We would do a ton of research and then just do the best we could. When you are teaching yourself how to do do something, it's expected that you will make some mistakes along the way. While the deck was greatly improved after we painted it the first time, we made the mistake of not using primer. We weren't sure how necessary it was. But, after a few years or so, it was abundantly clear that not putting down primer was a mistake, as flecks of paint began to break away from the deck over time. The flecks of paint would replace the dust, as it equally would latch on to skin and clothes.
When we decided to re-paint the deck for the second time, we decided to not cut any corners. Over the course of three days, we used citrus strip to take off the excess paint, clearing the whole deck of any weak old paint that might ruin the stick of the primer. And, of course, we put on a thick coat of primer.
During our first go over, Matt and I also didn't put on any grip paint. This made the deck slippery when any amount of water would get on it. Obviously, not a great thing on a sailboat.
Now that we have grip paint on the deck, it feels a million times safer and much more stable. I also happen to think it looks much more professional. Plus, since using primer, the paint hasn't shown any signs of flaking off. Lesson learned!