There are many different boat paints and qualities, generally the more you spend the better the results.
Duralux High Gloss Marine Enamel is affordable and easy to apply and only recommended for above the waterline or moderate use on the bottom (a day or so in the water, not extended periods). This topside paint works best in very thin coats; see the prep recommendations found on product page on “how to use” tab. Duralux marine enamels do have a color offering in a flat finish, those are limited to their camouflage paint colors.
You also have a choice from Supermarine Paints that can be used above or below the waterline and come in a few different styles. The Revolution (great option if rolling/brushing) or Mono Epoxy (durable and looks best sprayed) are the easiest to use and usually customers choose the SuperMarine Etching Primer (SM 664D) for the primer. They are also available in your choice of sheen (satin or gloss). Click on “view more” for the paint and use the specification/how to use tabs for detailed instructions, coverage and preparation on any of the product pages. The “work horse” is the Two Part Epoxy, most durable of the Supermarine choices with the top of the line selection is Ironside. The previous two paints are available in flat and semi gloss as well as satin and gloss.
Typically when people discuss bottom paint on a boat they are referring to Antifouling paint. Bottom paint prevents growth of organisms that attach to the hull and can affect a vessels speed, performance, and durability when boat is kept in the water for extended periods of time. If you don’t have that problem, you may not need bottom paint. Antifouling bottom paint typically has a flat, dull finish that is used below the waterline.
There are generally two types of bottom paint both of which have several variations that create a multitude of products in the market place. The two different types or categories of bottom paint include hard bottom paint and ablative bottom paint.
So your boat paint choice depends on your budget and which paint meets the needs of your boat and usage.