Replacing NDK hatches

-- Last Updated: Jul-30-08 2:45 PM EST --

An opportunity for a very attractive deal on a used NDK Explorer has me interested, but the seller ackowledges that the NDK brand rubber hatch covers are approaching the end of their happy life and do leak a bit. The boat is several years old. Assuming one does not just order new covers, is the repair/replacement of the hatches themselves for all three a pretty intensive job, involving hull fiberglass work?

It’s just the covers that wear out
All you need to do is pop the old ones off, retie the tethers, and snap the new ones on. No fiberglass work involved. New hatch covers are not cheap, though, so take that into consideration when you make an offer.


I’ll have to re-question seller who hinted at replacing not just the cover but the hatches as well. Confused on this.

NDK hatch covers

– Last Updated: Jul-30-08 3:15 PM EST –

NDK uses Kajak Sport covers for the big hatches and Valley for the day hatch.

You should only need to buy new covers (if you even need to do that).

NDK brand

– Last Updated: Jul-30-08 3:28 PM EST –

then maybe this Explorer is older than described. The seller said the hatches are NDK brand, like Kajaksport, but made of a lower quality material that NDK used. Might that explain why the entire hatch would have to be replaced? If NDK does not stock replacement covers for the precise fit of their own hatches and one can only buy VCP or Kajak sport, replacing the entire hatch/cover is the only option now?

If so, I assume this is at least a several hundred dollar repair. But there are many used Explorers out there being sold and bought every year. Hard to believe on the older boats, everyone has to do this repair at some point. In summary, the issue seems to be that the NDK sourced or made covers not the same quality as VCP or KS and wear out quicker.


– Last Updated: Jul-30-08 4:56 PM EST –

NDK had Kajak Sport manufacture the hatches with the NDK logo. I expect they use the same exact material. (That is, NDK isn't using a "lower quality" material.)

One nice thing about NDK boats is they haven't changed!

How old is the boat? I have a nearly 10 year old Romany and the hatch covers are fine.

(It's possible that the covers for "your" boat have been exposed to too much sunlight.)

Call Atlantic Kayak Tours in Peekskill, NY. They will even have the hatch covers.

If you can look at the boat, the hatch rims should look good (even and smooth). If they do, you likely won't have any problems.

Note that it's possible that you don't even need hatch covers. The covers aren't cheap but they are easy to replace.

Note that NDK uses a Valley hatch for the day hatch. You can't mix Valley and Kajak Sport hatches (they work differently).


I guess you went with the NDK Explorer for your Greenland skills! Enjoy (it's a great boat).

you are over thinking
this problem. Measure the OD (outside diameter) of the hatch rim that the cover goes over, then check it against the Kajak hatch cover sizes. I think you will find they are the same.

Kajaksport hatches will work just fine.

If you have to replace the rim, which you won’t, the hatches and rims run about $58 each for Kayaksport. If you need to replace the Valley hatch and rim, it’s $69. It’s a simple operation, pry out the current hatch rim, marine glue the new ones in. Rivet or screw them in the same spacing as before. If you just need the covers, they’ll be less expensive. $45 for the Valley and probably $40 each for the Kayaksport.

It’s not a huge problem, but I’d get him to drop the price.

Glass work?
You need to look at that boat carefully. Why is the seller hinting at glass work for hatch covers?

Maybe the rims are cracked. I read somewhere that older NDK boats had the hatch rims not only glued on but also screwed on. The screw holes created some kind of stress that sometimes resulted in cracks–in the hatch rims, not the fiberglass. Sounded like a PITA repair. I don’t know what years are affected, though. (My 2008 Explorer LV does not have any screws there.)

more clarification
is forthcoming via an e-mail to me. But my initial post in not correct per the seller. The leaking is not with the covers but with the actual hatch rims themselves-suggestion to remove and reglue. Sorry for going down the wrong path on this, but still a question to resolve before considering purchase.

For what it’s worth…
We sell the NDK hatch covers and they’re NDK branded ( If it’s the hatch rim, it could be just a matter of applying sealant to the rim area inside and outside the hatch. A messy job, but not overly difficult.

Hope this helps, Tom

Virginia Sea Kayak Center

NDK Explorer hatch rims
The rims on the Explorer I had were screwed on and they cracked at the screw holes. There was some seeping and at the end of a rolling session there was about a cup of water in the hatches.


NDK vs. Valley covers
A couple of things that apply:

  • Valley covers are considered the gold standard, but NDK covers (Kajaksport) last longer. My 2000 Explorer had been out in the sun a lot before I got it last year. The Valley day hatch cover was all rotted - the NDK covers on the main hatches are still fine. I gave them a good 303 treatment.

  • NDK covers for the day hatch are available and come with the newer boats. I don’t know if they work on the older NDK boats, but I suspect they are interchangeable. We have both at the shop - I’ll have to try them and see.


Why do a half-assed repair?
If there is leakage around the hatch rim(s), it indicates a poor bond with the deck. Adding sealant to the outside is at best a temporary repair. The best thing to do is remove the rims, clean off the sealant and re-bond them with 3M 5200 or a similar product. This is assuming that the rims are in good shape. If they’re screwed in place, chances are that they’ve cracked and will need to be replaced. Bonding the new ones without screws is the best way to go.

I’m with Nystrom
do it right, it’s easy, you have a good boat there.


– Last Updated: Aug-11-08 12:04 PM EST –

So, did you get the Explorer?

I ordered spare Kajak-Sport covers after I got my Romany because I wanted to preserve the NDK branded covers. (NDK had recently gone bankrupt and I was unsure if the NDK branded covers would continue to be available)

I've seen UV destroy both Valley and Kajak-Sport (NDK) hatch covers.

I had to duct tape the hatch covers on the Romany Tom Bergh loaned me a few summers ago. They were so badly deteriorated that they were both cracked and left black residue when touched.

The day hatch rim leaked on my Romany and I used Lexel to reseal it.

seller withdrew
Unfortunately, the seller(s) withdrew the offer saying they forgot another party put in an earlier offer. Arrrggh. Thus, I am actively looking for an Explorer still!

Todd at St Michael’s

– Last Updated: Aug-11-08 4:44 PM EST –

I believe that St Michaels is selling off a couple of Explorers. Contact Todd Wright 802.654.2614 or