Adding 2 - 11” Hatches

Hello, I’m new to Kayaking and very excited to get out for my first time this weekend. I wasn’t sure how well my 6 yr. old daughter and I would enjoy it so I decided to purchase a cheaper tandem from Sam’s Club (Lifetime Envoy 106) It came with only one 6 inch hatch up in the very front. And I’ve done lots of research, and I’d love to add two more…(1) in the center between both seats and (1) in the very back behind the seat.

My question is, is it okay to put one in the center? And if I go alone will I need to sit in the center (maybe thinking on top of the center hatch) if possible because a seat can be moved and adjusted there. And I plan on doing a couple kayak/camp trips this summer and I know that with loading gear on top and under that the weight needs to be distributed evenly.

See uploaded pic. The purple circles is where I’d like to add the hatches. The center one is where a seat would need to be positioned for single use with the hatch.

Thank you!

Welcome to kayaking Kalindaswim. I hope you and your daughter enjoy your new kayak.
If you truly would love the process, the work, of adding hatches, you truly know exactly how you are effecting the integrity of the kayak, you are welding plastic to reinforce the structure of the kayak where you are cutting out some of the structure, and you are making sure that the sealed sections of the kayak that were watertight are still watertight, then why not? Have fun with your project.
If it is a case where you would just love it if they were there, not so much love the process of adding them with an understanding of what it would take, then it may be best to just forget about that, and try kayaking instead. You don’t want to learn from your mistakes with your 6 year old daughter with you.
Use a plastic jar under the bungees for dry storage, or a dry bag, or whatever kind of container that would be watertight.
For many people, kayaking involves very little skill. But to be anything good at it, it requires quite a lot of skill. You want to experience things like paddling with your daughter in the wind on a safe, calm, never far from the shore that’s close to your vehicle kind of way. Learn how to paddle the kayak. Learn how to maneuver the kayak. Learn how wind effects it. Learn how choppy water effects it. Learn how currents effect it. Do all these things yourself, and with your daughter, in areas where if you cannot make progress against the wind, or cannot make progress against the current, or cannot control the direction you’re going well enough to make meaningful progress, or the constant splashes into the kayak from the chop are slowly fillling your kayak through your handy new hatches and your kayak is no longer stable and is going to sink…learn all these things where you can have fun with swimming to the safety of shore and your vehicle. It’s all a lot of fun. But even for just yourself, and especially for yourself and your daughter, you may have a lot of muscle conditioning and learning to undertake before you go out into a situation where your dry storage even matters. So I guess I would put quite a bit of paddling the kayak as it is first, so that you can at least figure out how important or unimportant extra hatches truly are, or whether it’s even a good idea.


The one in the center should be ok, but the deck in the back look like it would not drain well if it gets water on it, so chances are that one is going to leak despite your best efforts. Also even with all those hatches, the way its molded does not lend itself to having much inside storage for larger items and the max carrying capacity on that kayak is only 425 lbs, so you would not be able to carry too much without it getting squirrely.

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There are ways to do the hatch adds, but remember the area below is likely open space. Things you put in there may slide and migrate into areas where you can’t get them easily.

It would be easier to just use a drybag under the bungees.

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Do ;pt know that kayak all that well, so giving soem general q

I don’t know that kayak all that well, so here are some general questions you want to consider.

  1. when you paddle the boat with your child, does water pool in the area where you want to add hatches? If so, it becomes much more important to make sure the hatches are installed as truly watertight, and usually would be better to not install hatches there at all. That is asking for a leak

  2. is the area flat (not curved)? if not, you don’t want to install hatches, as hatches need flat space.

  3. why do you want to install hatches? To store things you want to keep dry? If so, this can usually be done better and cheaper by using some form of dry storage that you keep under bungees, like a dry bag, dry box, reusing bottles (plastic jar @CapeFear mentioned), etc. The area behind th back seat is called a tank well, and can fit a fair amount of gear under the bungee.

I don’t like hatches in sit on top kayaks. The boat being hollow and filled with air is its primary flotation, and should you get water leaking into that area, this could cause major problems. Each hatch is a possible leak location. And there are usually no compartments in the hull, so anything you stick into a hatch has a habit of rolling around and moving to some place you can;t reach it.

A trick many with SOTs with hatches do is to stuff foam pool noodles inside the hulls of heir boat. These help compartmentalize the inside of the hull, so hopefully prevent items in your hatch from going anywhere. And the foam also acts ads flotation should the hull take on water.


The easiest, and probably safest, is to buy a tandem with hatches already built into it and use dry bags and the on-board bungee cords for everything you can’t fit inside the hatches.

But before any of that happens learn to paddle. Learn self rescue. Learn how to rescue you and your daughter.

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Wondering how much space there is between the floor and the hull. More than an inch?

Best bet might be an inspection hatch; a buddy installed one like this on his Laser sailboat (fiberglass) and it proved to be watertight. The bag keeps your stuff at the hatch. Has to be installed on a flat surface, maybe the back location would be suitable.

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