Do day hatches get in the way?

I’m looking at new boats, and I noticed in one video (I think the Delta 12.10) that the day hatch on the deck protrudes somewhat deeply into the cockpit. I hadn’t even thought about that being the case. Do people find themselves bumping into them, knocking their knees, or finding that it slightly hinders getting in and out? Or I am I just imagining these problems?

Sit in the boat if you haven’t already but not for 60 seconds.


Just to clarify for old farts like me - you are talking about the more shallow hatch that newer boats have in front of the cockpit, yes? What my older boats called a day hatch was the first one immediately behind the cockpit.

If you are talking about the small hatches in front of the cockpit, which are called various things, but not the traditional day hatch as Celia clarified, yes they do protrude into the cockpit. We have three boats with them, previously had a 4th boat without them. I like them a lot. Very handy.

The only issue I found with them is the room for feet moving around. For me, I am 6 ft and have relatively long legs) it was no issue. For my wife, she is shorter and found the standard length tube interfered with her feet in some positions, we specified a shorter “tube” so her feet had more room.

I don’t notice them when entering and exiting. Yes I do touch them a bit, but I slide right past them easily, so no issue for entering and exiting. I will note that some people without them do put things in that position, like bilge pumps, so having something there can be useful for some.

I even find that on occasion I actually find the tube gives my knees some additional purchase in some maneuvers. But the main benefit for me is very easy access to a few items such as sunglasses, GPS, notebook, small towel/handkerchief, etc. If I were getting another boat, I would get one with the same hatch again.

Sitting inside any kayak before purchasing is sound advice. Much better would be paddling the kayak for 30 minutes of more.


I’d add that it depends on the height of the front deck, to begin with. I’ve sat in boats where I didn’t notice it; and others where I noticed that it robbed space for the legs to move around.

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That is certainly my criterion. On longer trips I want the possibility to move my legs around to relax them. A deck pod which precludes that I would reject. I’ve had boats of both sorts with deck pods. It also depends on your inseam i.e. whether the deck pod on a particular boat hinders your feet.

As Bobo mentioned, it depends to the height of the deck.

That being said, the area under the forward deck of the cockpit is wasted space in most kayaks IF you have room to move your feet, legs, knees as needed, IMO.

Only kayak I’ve owned that had a small hatch in the forward cockpit was the Cetus MV …it was never an issue during entry, exits, rough water rescues, surfing, teaching, etc. And, I now paddle mostly HV versions of kayaks, however other MV versions with small hatches in the forward cockpit that I have tried have never been an issue for my 6’1" long legs and size 11 feet.

All composite material kayaks I paddle now do not have a small hatch forward of the cockpit. I fiberglass in attachment points under the forward deck for stowing a paddle float and pump to keep them out of the way yet to have easy access (despite having to open my spray skirt to access them which is a negative). I like a clean deck except for a spare paddle and contact towline.

Give it a test paddle and find out for yourself. I think you are making an issue out of something which shouldn’t be one. Unfortunately, kayak manufacturers occasionally make bad design decisions which only come to light when several of us paddle their kayaks in real life conditions.

Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough answers, Hank and Greg and others. Appreciate it. I prefer the idea of one behind the cockpit. But I’ll try the boat and see. If I go with the Delta, I can buy it at REI, try it out for up to a year and then return it if I don’t like it.