Repairing Leaky Circular Hatches

I bought a 2001 Hobie Mirage Classic sit-on-top fin drive kayak.

The footwell around the drive stays wet while on the water and I picked up over a gallon of water in the hull about 4 hours in my first shake down run. I checked for leaks (vacuum exhaust and soapy water), and while I have minor leaks around at some pad eye rivets, the main issue is the hatches. They leak at the door, not the bezel that’s mounted to the kayak. (The bezels that are mounted to the kayak are well-sealed.)

The footwell stays wet because of the drivewell hole and water in the footwell splashes and laps at both of the forward hatches.

It’s got three circular hatches–two in the original positions and one additional, larger one just forward of the seat. They leak at the hatch lid seals.

Looks like I have an image upload limit. Here they are.

The bow hatch is the worst offender. It might be original. It has a thin, hard, rubber o-ring that I can’t imagine ever worked. It leaks like a sieve. The other two have foam seals in a channel in their bezel. The large 8" hatch that’s forward of the seat leaks too much for where it is, too, but it’s not as bad as the bow. The tank well leaks, too, but it doesn’t matter as much since it’s high and dry.

I cleaned up the seals and the mating surfaces with soapy water and a toothbrush but they weren’t too dirty to start with (and it didn’t really help).

What’s the standard protocol for dealing with these leaks? New hatches all around? New seals? I haven’t been able to find too much information online about dealing with these circular hatches.


Given that you seem sure that the hatches are leaking at the door and not the bezel, I would go with trying o ring gasket replacement first. It’s the cheaper and easier way to go first. Rubber gaskets do get old and brittle and lose effectiveness over time.

Good luck.



Sounds like the O rings should be replaced. I have had issues with both the screw in deck plates and door lock hatches on kayaks and sailboats. They all seem to leak. What has worked best on my Scamp sailboat are the Armstrong deck plates. They are simpler and haven’t leaked. I am not sure if they would work on your Hobi though. I am considering replacing any screw in deck plates and door hatches with the Armstrong hatches.

Armstrong Hatches - Duckworks Boat Builders Supply