Installing a hatch


Has anyone ever installed one of those “hatch kits” or a deck plate? Did it work well for you? are they water tight?


My Dagger Crossover has plenty of room for a front bulkhead compartment, poor bow floatation, and I have a spare weekend on my hands.

Thus, I picked up some 3" foam from REI and some 3M-5200 sealant from my local marine store. After I get the foam cut & glued into place in the bow, it will provide the foatation I want (for under $25!), and it should be easy to cut a hatch in the bow. Chesapeake Light Craft sells a 6" deck plate for $15 that I’m eyeing. But I’d like to hear from someone who has treaded these waters BEFORE I bust out the sawsall.


If I can do it on a somewhat fragile glass surf ski - you’re good to go on Rotomolded plastic!

Tip - skip the Sawsall! Get the hole as exact as you can. Cut by hand/Dremel. One of those things to cut in the holes in drywall for recessed lighting would be nice!

SS machine screws (that fit the recesses)w/nylocks.

Use that glue or silcone sealant - or better - cut a neoprene or similar material gasket (I used some weatherstrip tape under the rim as a gasket on my ski as it wasn’t perfectly flat and wouldn’t seal - and I didn’t follow the next bit of advice).

Make a solid backer ring for the inside (so the boat material is sandwiched between hatch and ring) if you don’t have one already and really want to do it right. It that’s overkill - SS washers. Both for real overkill.

Be sure the areas is flat enough to accomodate that size deck plate or you’ll have it all warped and buckling (thicker gasket minimizes - but hatch may stick up more).

Half way installed one
We cut the hole and installed the hatch kit, I haven’t done the rest yet to make it a real dry storage area.

The one thing I would suggest is to buy 2 of them.

I say this because I bought hatch kit at Jersey Paddler years and years ago, I lost the hatch cover and it was a nightmare replacing it. If I knew it would have been such a pain, I would have jumped over and looked for it on the bottom of the bay.

do it!

– Last Updated: May-14-04 2:48 PM EST –

like grayak said, it is a little nerve raking to make that first cut, but the hatch will make your yak more versatile..Beckson makes excellent hatches which really are waterproof,get the screw kind ,and they even come in clear so you can see what's there.the only thing i can add technically is to tighten your fastners alternating opposite sides a bit at atime to avoid any warping. I used SS nuts and bolts ,with the nylon inserts in the nuts .and use that dremel tool, too tight a fit around your base plate can cause the hatch to warp and not screw in properly, so dry fit it BEFORE applying thing you know you'll be hatch mad, and want to access all available voids,,; I used large pan washers under the hatch and most of decent backing size aren't going to fit ,so i trimmed one side down with a grinder, so they looked like a crestsant moon shape and they fit against the edge of the round hatch nicely. I believe in overbuilding anything thats going out on the water.

Just got back from the marine store…
I actually wound up w/ 3M 4200 quick dry, it’s lower strength, but I’m not trying to hold the Queen Mary together here.

They also had a wide assortment of hatches, including the clear ones that lees spoke of. A 6" inch white cover hatch will run me $9.85. BTW, the ultra-snazzy Beckson Stowaway Hatch runs $78. I’m trying to keep the project under $50 total.

One thing that now occurs to me is to combine Youngerthanthat’s idea of buying a second hatch for a spare lid, and Greyyak’s idea of using a solid backer ring. In all likelyhood, if I buy a second hatch, I can simply cut apart the base of the hatch to make a backer ring. Then, voila, I have a spare hatch lid. And what the hell, I think I’ll glue something that will FLOAT to the inside of the cover, just in case. I’ll try to take some digital pics of the setup.


beckson was how much?
maybe it was missmarked, I bought beckson screw in 10" hatches here for $17 a piece.

Beckson Hatches
Ah yes, the Beckson screw in’s are about that price. I was looking at the Beckson super-snazzy flip up rectangular hatches w/ the clear cover, locks, and double seal. If you REALLY wanted to go overboard, that’d be the way to go.

I think the link you posted had them listed toward the bottom of the page. If you used the round screw in style, then I’m sold on those.


Good idea
Using the rim of hatch #2 for the backer. Maybe a bit wasteful - but not at all if you want a second lid anyway! Not like they’re really expensive. Might be a bit harder to cut that other options though. Using hatch #1 as a template on something else is easy too.

Stick with common brands (Beckson) carried at boating stores and replacements should be easy. I’ve checked various brands of covers - and even when labeled same size - they’re far from it.

Float is OK, but I’d recommend a tether attached to the inside of the lid that runs to something inside the boat. No worries, or at least less worries, then.

The one I just did is a Beckson, white ring (matches ski well) and clear lid. Think it’s only 4" (it’s whatever would fit). Has an O-ring seal which is nice. Also had a post in the center of the lid - with a hole in it - that was prefect to put a small screw in to attach a tether. Being centered, the cord doesn’t affect screwing the cover on and off.

Cord on mine is just the tail end of the cord on the drawstring closure of the hatch bag (lip of bag has a flexible platic ring bigger than the opening so it can’t come out without help).

Only bad part - only bag I could find was shocking pink! Of course they had a much nicer looking orange one the next week - but the bag was more $ than the hatch - so pink it is! Ski fits someone around 5’8" - so if I ever sell it odds are good it might be to a female who might like the pink anyway!

the round screw in
is the ones i’ve used, but your idea of gluing flotation to the inside of the lid is a good one, I’ve tried to find out who makes the viking hatch which comes on Islander kayaks, thats really a nice hatch. but the factory like usual didn’t know where they got them from or if they could order one for me. how some of these co’s survive with such poor consumer support I’ll never know!why they bother to give out their phone no#s or have “contact” on the site .anybody have any Positive stories about factories?

Hmmm. Time to cut the foam. Any hints?
OK, I have the foam, adhesive, hatch, a cold 6-pack, less 4 beers, and about 4 hours tomorrow morning. This shouldn’t be a problem.

Butt, How can I make a template of the bulkhead dimensions so I can cut the foam to the correct dimensions? Considering my $50 project budget, I’m considering buying some tagboard for ~$2, flipping the boat on it’s side and cut away the interior of the tagboard until I can slide the tagboard around the left (or right) side of the hull, thus approximating the shape of the hull. Theoretically the left & right sides should be the same so I can use the template to cut half of my foam and then just flip the template over to cut the other side of the bulkhead. If this doesn’t make sense, it may have to do w/ the aforementioned 4 beers.

Is there and easier way?

try tracing the tagboard on
the outside of the yak ,scale it back 1/2 inch all around and then try inserting it, it should be fairly close… and theorecticly flipping it over should work…and get another six pack first; you wouldn’t want to have to stop in the middle of the project for more supplies.

How did you make out?
So did you do it? How did it turn out?

Are you going to block it off to make a dry storage area? I want to do that with my boat and I don’t know what I’ll need or how to do it.

I have the hatch installed, I just need to “block” it off now.

OK, so I chickened out when a buddy of mine came over w/ his boat & urged me to take off on a weekend of boating, booze, and babes. BUT I do have a bomb-proof plan, thanks to bnystrom. Email me and I’ll email you the plans he emailed me.

IN SHORT, the biggest problem is making a template to cut the 3" foam out with. To do this I’m buying 3 pieces of tagbard from Meijer. Then I’ll cut one out intentionally smaller than what I need. Then I’ll slide this inside the boat to where I want the foam. I’ll tape this to the ceiling of the boat, and then tape strips of tagboard to the dangling piece that just barely reach the edge of the boat. As I add strips to the dangling tagboard the basic outline should emerge. THEN I’ll take the taped together tagboard & strips and lay it on the second piece of tagboard, outline where I think the hull outline is, and cut the second piece of tagboard to size. Then slide this piece inside to make sure it fits where you want it (measure twice cut once philosophy). If all is well, then I trace the outline of the finished tagboard template onto the foam and use a drywall saw to cut it out. NOTE, I’m going to cut the foam about 5mm too large all the way around to ensure a snug fit. Much larger than 5 mm and rumor has it that you can get a bulge in your hull when the preloaded foam gets hot. The third piece of tagboard is $.50 of insurance in case I mess up one of the first two pieces.

Glue the sucker in place w/ quick dry 3M 4200 or 5200 (they actually stick to royalex), put a good bead around the edges, and you’re golden.

Another problem I’m running into is that my deck isn’t flat, it’s domed. Thus, a nice big 8" hatch simply won’t work. a 6" will require a fair bit of shimming and epoxy work.