rubber hatch covers

Last night I bought my first boat with rubber hatch covers - a Valley Avocet. What’s the trick to getting them on & off easily?

The good news is you don’t want them to come off too easily. On my wife’s Valley Etain we grab a corner with a finger tip, palm over the center of the hatch, then pull up and rotate back toward the center of the hatch to take it off. Putting them back on I start on one end, oval, and push down, working my way to the original corner then slapping the last corner down. It is a lot like working the bead of a tire over the rim.

Keeping them clean with soap and water helps. Leave it out in the sun also softens them up. They will loosen up in time.

@davavd said:
Last night I bought my first boat with rubber hatch covers - a Valley Avocet. What’s the trick to getting them on & off easily?

Every so often spray them with 303. That will keep them pliable. Are they the original hatch covers?

Do you have the Valley hatch covers (would have Valley,or perhaps Necky, written on them) or the Sealect Design hatch covers? is your boat composite or plastic?

The boat is a 2000 model composite. The day cover might be original, but the ovals look way too good. They have no name on them. The ovals have an oval w/ a circle in it on top and an embossed squared off gear tooth design around the edge. The day cover is similar but just has the circle and the gear teeth around the edge look more like real gear teeth. Thanks for the 303 tip, Rookie.

With Valley (VCP) covers going on with difficulty, I suggest beveling or rounding lower outside edge. This will resolve difficulty in jamming down the hatch flange into sometimes too tight rim flange against deck. Coarse paper on power sander will give decent results. It does create lots of black dust and grains, so outside work suggested. When you get around to replacing VCP covers, Sealect is strongly recommended over Valley. Works and lasts far better and about 10% cheaper too.

First off there hard to get on and off, 303 will help. But they don’t leak. I have run into valley users that don’t realize that you first snap the hatch cover down BUT your NOT done. Then you need to push that lip down to seal the hatch. Not sure how to describe what iam talking about. BUT that lip needs to be pushed down or the cover will leak and possibly pop off in rough conditions. I use my thumbs to push that lip down. Its not easy but you want to do this.

I love and prefer tight hatches, for all the reasons dc9mm points out.

Thanks for all the comments!