Neoprene hatch covers

I am about buying my third boat and one of the choices is a Current Designs kayak with neoprene hatches under fiberglass covers. I personally believe that a good quality rubber cover on finely crafted hatch seams is the best waterproof system. On the other hand, everybody thinks that CD boats have good quality control.

As neoprene hatches are usual in North American kayaks, I shall be glad to received any opinion. Has anyone experienced leakings in hatches like this?

I’ve seen more leaking in plastic kayaks with neoprene covers as the hull flexes more during rescues and the lip isn’t as tight as the glass boats. A friend prefers glass covers OVER VCP hatches because of wildlife that likes to eat through rubber hatches where he camps.

Some of us older guys use Depends if our hatches are leaking.

Seriously, though, I have a plastic Necky with neoprene gaskets and would also like to here from those who have had trouble with this system.

My plastic Looksha IV’s hatches get quite a bit of water in them during a rescue practice session. My Tikani gets some too, but I haven’t done repeated capsizes in it.


mine leaked
I had a plastic Precipitation Corona and it’s neoprene covers leaked, significantly.

I think it was due in part that the plastic hatch rim lip does not present a defined edge for the neoprene cover to stretch around and seal against, it’s rounded. While it was a fun boat, all attempts at keeping the compartments even remotely dry in the ruff water failed. I have sense avoided boats with that design in favor of the VCP style covers. To be fair, I only owned the one boat with hatches of that design and also have not tried the glass boats like that where the more defined edge may provide a better seal?


I 've never seen a neoprene hatch

– Last Updated: Dec-31-04 8:14 AM EST –

cover that did not leak a bit. Like a couple of cups after a good bit steep chop washing over the decks and a couple of capsizes.
I only have one boat with this system, but paddled a lot of rentals so equippped. Mostly glass or kevlar.

Airtight Vcp and Kayaksport hatches
Today, December 31st, I paddled with a club friend along the coast until a sandy beach. Outside the bays we met a 5 foot swelling sea that quartered when close to the cliffs. When landing at the beach, a breaker rolled my boat. It did not felt worse than a cold shower. My boat sports Kayaksport hatches. I only found a few drops of water due I guess, to the foam bulkheads of my polythelene kayak. My friend’s with Valley hatches and fiberglass bulkhead finished the excursion dry and clean.

Thank you for your coments. I conclude that quality neoprene hatches with good hard covers a prone to leak just a little in rolling or capsizing. Well, I could stand that. But it seems that only quality rubber hatches can be airtight.

As for Leeg’s friend, if ever wake up and find that animal wildlife ate away my rubber hatches … I would scared shitless.

You are afraid of…

they look like hoodlums
and waddle like weight lifters,scary little buggers.

those are notoriously bad. I saw two years production of Shadows/Eclipses/Coronas show up with three different kinds of neoprene covers in one model of kayak. I think they were trying but it’s a two steps forward two steps back process. Basically if the kayak is turned over,water is flowing around the neoprene hatch cover and pumping action/compression makes water flow around the neoprene. I saw Shadows/Eclipses fill up with gallons after 6 rescues. The Avatar was much better,embarassingly so because I launched through surf with a friend and FORGOT TO CHECK the hatches. With the neoprene cover loose inside the hatch the Avatar took on about the same amount of water as the Shadow/Eclipse with it’s neoprene cover on!

I’ll take a…
racoon over a chipmunk any time. At least racoons won’t pester me and my gear when I’m around. Chipmunks on the other hand make me nervous when I see them anywhere near my tent.

I thought Mariner…
had a good idea. They used a neoprene cover OVER a fiberglass hatch cover.

Vermin attack
I guess that’s what it comes with the great outdoors. You paddle like yourself out with a smirk on your face, set your tent and when you wake up for your coffee, wildlife has eaten your hatches and made fractal designs on your boat’s gelcoat.

Then you hug a tree.

my necky dolphin hatches don’t
really leak but they weep, they eventually get wet and very small amounts of water eventually get inside the hull.not enough to worry about but enough to have to drybag stuff.of course this is only in choppy conditions, otherwise everything stays dry. my question is how do those rubbermaid style hatches seal up on the wilderness tarpon series?

Dagger Magellan
I have a dagger magellan that I have had for 7 years now with neoprene hatch covers under plastic that have never leaked, and this boat has gotten a lot of use!!

Have had trouble with both kinds
The rear neoprene under fg hatch in my fiberglass Looksha IV regularly leaks during rescue practice but the front is bone dry.

I have had some problems with the Wilderness system Rubber hatches, but sometime I seem to get them to seal pretty good. Often get at least a few drops in though.

IMHO it is best to buy the hull you like and the cockpit you fit, leaving the hatch design as secondary consideration.

My Boat has this type
of hach and the only time I have ever got any water in the hatch has been during rolling or in heavy serf. Th4e water that has got in has been just a few drops.

VCP hatches on my sirius have never given me a problem whatsoever. No leaking in surf, while rolling, the only time I had any significant leaking was paddling in a Heavy rain, and still that was not worth talking about.

I have a Perception Shadow (glass)
with neoprene hatch covers and fiberglass hard covers (2001 model). I have had almost no leakage in the hatches even after 3hr. roll practice sessions. I would trust the 2pc. hatch system in rough conditions more than the 1pc. rubber hatches on my poly WS Tempest.

is it one piece or that two piece plastic center/rubber outer part where the center part can break? VCP oval hatches hold up fine,although i agree a hard cover is nice,i’m tempted to make some glass ones just to eliminate UV damage.