I used behr deckover, it's a deck restoring product. It won't get great reviews from painters and I can't speak yet for longevity but its supper nice on my decks. Its a lightly textured finish, feels like very fine sand paper and it hasn't caused any road rashes yet. I put it on top and an acrylic porch and deck paint underneath for a smooth surface. I used to have a wood drift boat that was mostly spar varnish. All I'd use was man-o-war, but I had to use it a lot!! No thanks for me on a raft, I'll stick with paint...
FWIW there are several deck restore paints. The rostoleum product gets horrible reviews, behr - good and olympic gets the best. I just had a gift card and know I'll be rebuilding the decks as my rig changes this year so I went the Behr route.
Also wood boat people will generally tell you to put a sealant on non-exposed/non-visual wood, but not to paint all of it as it will trap moisture and promote rot. This is to prevent most moisture frome entering the wood while allowing that that does to easily dry. I wanted to have smooth sides against my rubber and don't plan on them needing to last so I forwent that advice but just know it's generally best to not try and encase wood in paint/varnish.
I totally agree about Thompsons, pure crap!
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae