Installing hatches

Can anyone give me some info on where I can buy hatch supplies for kayaks? I have an area on two kayaks with the indentations in the molding for hatches and deck rigging but no rigging has been installed. I have not been able to locate a retailer online or in local boat shops that sells the hardware or instructions for doing an installation to upgrade my kayaks. Thank you.

some ideas
Here are hatches and how-tos.

Now that you have ideas
time to be a smart shopper.

I have a few of these-type deck hatches on my powerboat. They don’t leak. They don’t cost $70, either. It’s your money.

So, what kayaks are these?
I own a Necky that came molded for a front hatch. I ordered a hatch kit from Necky, through my local dealer, and installation was fairly easy. If you local dealer is unaware of such kits, contact the manufacturer of the kayak.

How do you get the bulkheads?
I have looked into this as well, my wife’s boat came without the hatch and we now would like to put one in. No problem with the hatch itself, but where do you get the material for the bulkhead?

Do you just buy the plastic, cut it to shape and glue/seal it in, or are there bulkhead “kits” for different boats?

I have emailed the company that makes our boats (Robson) but have never received a response for some reason (after 3 emails).

You don’t need the bulkhead. Get
tapered inflatable storage bags from Voyageur. That’s what I did.

Contact the manufacturer
They’ll know what’s available for hatches and can probably point you to a source, or sell them to you directly.

Hatches & Bulkheads
Hatches are readily available at West Marine. I’ve had good luck w/ the round screw in style. They’re actually the driest hatches I’ve ever used. Don’t screw them down too tight though.

As for the bulkheads, I’ve made & installed them on 2 boats. I make them out of 3” minicell foam & glue them in w/ 3M 5200. Despite what some posters will have you believe the stuff sticks adequately to rotomolding if used according to the directions on the package. REI sells the foam & the 5200 is dramatically cheaper if you go to Home Depot (or was it Lowe’s?). A couple years ago I posted a complete how-to on this board. Search the archives (use my screen name) or shoot me an email & I’ll send you a word document if I can find it when I go home.

Found - directions to install bulkhead
The full thread

It worked! I now have 2 watertight bulkheads, and a new front hatch. So far the 3M 5200 is sticking perfectly.

Think of this as a fool-proof 12-step program to install a bulkhead/hatch.

(1) Remove everything reasonable from the inside of the hull - pegs, seat, backband

(2) Decide where you want the bulkhead. I moved my pegs back 3-4 inches - there’s no point in having 6" of empty space behind your feet. MAKE SURE this is where you want the bulkhead.

(3) Cut a template for the foam (you already bought the 12x20x3 inch minicell foam, right?). BY FAR the best way to do this is to take a large piece of cardboard, cut a notch out slightly larger than the size of your hull, and tape the cardboard where you want the bulkhead, but on the OUTSIDE of the hull. Now, take strips of cardboard and tape them so that one end of the strip is on the large cardboard piece, and the other end of the strip lightly brushes against the hull. Repeat this as far around the hull as you can. you’ll end up w/ a large piece of cardboard w/ a notch cut out of it w/ little “fingers” of cardboard extending inward tracing the outline of your hull. Now take the cardboard piece w/ the strips attached and lay it over a second large piece of cardboard. Trace the outline of your hull. [note: if you make your template starting on one SIDE of the hull, extending around the top and bottom of the hull, and go 2/3 of the way around the hull, you can trace the hull as I described above, then flip your “fingered” piece of cardboard over to trace the rest of the template on the second piece of cardboard.]

(4) Cut the cardboard template out, stick it on the inside of the hull & see if it fits well. Figure that you’ll want to SLIGHTLY oversize the foam so it squeezes into the hull, and then trace an appropriate outline on the 12x20 foam block. Cut the foam out w/ a serrated bread knife, or a carving knife. Saws suck for cutting foam. [Note: 12x20 wasn’t large enough for my bulkhead, so I cut what I could, then glued scraps to the top of the foam, traced the rest of the outline, and finished the bulkhead. It worked fine].

(5) Time to cut the hole for your hatch. Placement of the hatch is probably best done as far toward the middle of the boat as possible, but in front of the foam. Measure back 3”-4” from where you want the foam, and lightly mark this point. Chances are that your hull is domed on the top, so you won’t be able to install an infinitely large hatch. I used the round style “screw-in” hatch that others discussed on this thread. 6” was the largest I could fit, and that required that I let the port and starboard sides of the hatch stick up above the hull. These hatches also have a ½” lip sticking down so it is still a simple matter to seal the hatch. It’ll look like a homemade job, but who wants a 4” or smaller hatch? While you’re at the marine store, pick up some stainless steel hardware to screw the hatch to your hull. MAKE SURE the size hatch you selected is reasonable, and MAKE SURE you allowed at least 3” for the thickness of the foam. RECHECK this. Then trace the outline on your hull, RECHECK everything, and cut the hole w/ a drywall saw. The round hatches also have a ½” lip on the outside extending laterally so you don’t have to get it perfect, just remember it’s always easier to make a hole bigger than smaller. Stick the hatch into the hole, and then drill the holes in the hull for the stainless steel machine screws to go through. Assemble the hatch the way it’ll rest when you finish the job. Remember, the more you compress the hull on the sides of the hatch, the more you’ll warp the hatch and the less waterproof your hatch will be. I suppose you could even break the hatch if you tried.

(6) Now that you have a big freaking hole in your hull, it’ll be easier to fit the foam into position. Go ahead and do this and make sure you’re happy w/ the placement & fit. Mark the position of the foam. Pop the foam out.

(7) Prep the hull. Sand the area you’re going to be gluing, then hit it w/ some alcohol. DON’T NEGLECT THIS STEP.

(8) Cram the foam back into the hull, position it where you want it. Apply 3M 5200 adhesive. The owner of my local marine store swears the quick dry 5200 is sticks less than the regular 5200. Also, the marine store wanted ~$17 a calk tube for the stuff, while Home Depot sells it for ~$8. There may be other adhesives that work better, check around. NOTE: I didn’t apply any adhesive to the foam before I crammed it into the hull because you’ll get it all over the place and have a HUGE mess if you do. Use your finger to smooth a bead all the way around the bulkhead on both sides. I laid down ~1.5” on the foam, and the same on the hull.

(9) Apply another bead around the hatch hole, install the hatch, then run another bead around the hatch where it sticks up away from the hull. Smooth it out w/ your finger. BTW, the 5200 took about a week to come off my hands, even after washing w/ Gojo soap at the end of the project.

(10) If you moved the foot pegs back, fill in the old holes now.

(11) Wait a week for the 5200 to harden. You’ll find that a lot of the 5200-mess on your hull peels off when you rub it, but for some reason (hull prep?) it seemed to stick where I installed the bulkhead. Go figure.

(12) Fill the boat w/ water & see if it leaks, mine didn’t. It’s a good opportunity to also fill your hatches w/ water to see how much storage space you created. Count 5-gallon buckets to fill the hatches, and then go to an online volume conversion page to find the answer. Put the seat/backband back in, re-drill & reinstall the pegs if necessary.