In-vessel retention (IVR) is a key severe accident management (SAM) strategy that has been adopted by some operating nuclear power plants and advanced light -water reactors (ALWRs). One viable means for IVR is the method of external reactor vessel cooling (ERVC) by flooding of the reactor cavity during a severe accident. As part of a joint Korean - United States International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (K-INERI), an experimental study has been conducted to investigate the viability of using an appropriate vessel coating to enhance the critical heat flux (CHF) limits during ERVC. Toward this end, transient quenching and steady-state boiling experiments were performed in the SBLB (Subscale Boundary Layer Boiling) facility at Penn State using test vessels with micro-porous aluminum coatings. Local boiling curves and CHF limits were obtained in these experiments. When compared to the corresponding data without coatings, substantial enhancement in the local CHF limits for the case with surface coatings was observed. Results of the steady state boiling experiments showed that micro-porous aluminum coatings were very durable. Even after many cycles of steady state boiling, the vessel coatings remained rather intact, with no apparent changes in color or structure. Moreover, the heat transfer performance of the coatings was found to be highly desirable with an appreciable CHF enhancement in all locations on the vessel outer surface but with very little effect of aging.