Just picked up an older Impex Seabreeze (can you tell the year of production from the last 2 digits of serial?) It has a plastic hatch cover with 2 latches instead of the rubber hatches I am used to.
I noticed, the newer Sea Breeze kayaks have rubber hatch covers. Are rubber hatch covers better? The plastic hatch cover with latches, seem like a better cover since it doesn't seem like it can pop off easily and the seals look good.... but only played with it for a minute or so...are they more likely to break over time?
On the first question:
the answer is yes.
On the hatch covers, I prefer the neoprene with the rubber ring, and then a plastic or composite (depending on the boat material)that goes over that.
They all need maintenance such as 303, (or equal) on the rubber, and 303 or wax on the hard shell.
The hard covers work fine, but the ones I’ve seen (Impex) are more prone to a bit of leakage and accidental opening than are the best tupperware type hatches. In rough conditions and rescues, I’ve seen the latches for the hard covers come undone.
Tupperware types range from dreadful to outstanding, but both Valley and KajakSport hatch covers are extremely secure and often airtight.
as long as they’re mechanically sound
I have some of several styles, and I do not prefer the rubber tupperware lid style.
Both kinds of hatch design can be watertight. Personally I prefer the one-piece rubber tupperware-style hatch. One piece instead of two, and I’ve never owned a composite kayak in which they leaked.