storage inside cockpit

Day hatch
My last boat didn’t have one and a Northwater underdeck bag worked ok. Not nearly as well as the day hatch in my current boat, though. Fishing a camera out of the thing, especially when it had a few other items in it, was not that convenient.


day hatch
the idea that a ‘day hatch’ was intended to provide cockpit accessible storage for a SEA KAYAK makes no sense. Low volume brit boats will have the back deck awash in 2’ waves. If I tried to get something out of my ‘day hatch’ in 2’ waves I would be shipping quarts of water every few seconds.

Seems to me the day hatch business was an accident of design where aft deck mounted bilge pumps were offered as an option with the hatch the default choice. After folks stopped wanting a bilge pump with rotting rubber the hatch became standard.

I guess
it works out ok since I seldom feel like getting my camera out of there when I’m in 2-foot waves washing over the deck.


Any pictures of this setup? I would like to see what your plastic Chatham looks like rigged up. I appreciate all the ideas.


true utility of the 'day hatch’
glad to see that i’m not the only one who questions the advertised utility of the day hatch…yes you can access it in calm water if you have torso rotation (some can’t) and yes it is another watertight zone of flotation which is nice in the event of something catastrophic-RARE…what the dealer tells you though is bogus, you are not going to reach around and routinely get anything out…so why?

Some manufacturers see this,think QCC.

On the other hand the 4th hatch is accessible-I’m living proof that you can point straight into the 2 foot waves, open it and get what you want.

Day Hatch Good…

I definitely can’t access it from the cockpit in my Nordlow without being supported but it is great as a smaller, contained, very dry compartment. Easier to open than the big hatches. Great on a day paddle for keys, wallet, lunch, extra water, thermos of tea. On overnighters just throw all the loose stuff in there without worrying about dry bags. This is my first day hatch and just love it…

Utility of day hatch

– Last Updated: Dec-28-07 10:00 AM EST –

I have good flexibility, and find the day hatch very accessible on both my boats. I've opened it when there was some water slopping around the deck - as long as I had stowed stuff so that what I wanted was near the top the bit of water that gets in wasn't an issue.

Most stuff is in a drybag anyway - for example I found out it's easier to have all the lights (deck light, headlamp and strobe) in one WaveTex type drybag than be fishing around the corners of the day hatch for one of them. And the thing I most often need is the cag or water bottle, both of which are packed right near the top for easy pull out.

That said, I know of people who have trouble with the rotation needed. I also have needed help to get the day hatch on the Vela open in the winter - the suction from being on cold water seems to pull it down tighter than on my Explorer.

Both of these day hatches are offset to one side. I have some concerns about the centered day hatches in the TideRace boats. I understand the logic about the deck but my experience doesn't indicate that it'd create a strength issue in 99% of a boat's use, and the centered position might challenge even my flexibility to get into it and spot stuff like the cag.

I do like the little forward hatch, and would use that in lieu of the day hatch for some stuff if I had one and could reach it. It is possible that the standard set could be too far forward to be practical for someone with 5'4" height arm length. I'd have to be in the boat to tell. But there are often blanket pronouncements about the use of a day hatch with which I disagree.

In bad stuff you are unlikely to want to open anything anyway, but if you absolutely have to get to something I'd rather open the day hatch (with tethered natch) than my skirt.

no pictures
it’s an easy set-up. The problem I have with the commercial bags is that they hang down too much and are closed up. Take that small REI mesh bag, put a rectangular piece of plastic and lace it in to make the bag shallow then screw it in. The hard part is finding the wide pan head screws. You’ll find them on some older plastic kayaks holding thigh braces or other harderware, regular pan head screws sit a bit high. Not big 1/4" pan heads like the footbrace screws but about #8. Replace the draw string with a 1/8" bungie. You can leave the mouth of the bag partially open for one hand access out or close it completely. I’ve left it 1/2 open and things don’t fall out.

Gluing in the d-rings forward of the seat looks kind of messy and unconventional but that space is a great spot for a small dry box. I think I used plain old contact cement on well roughed up hull. The kayak has sat out through three seasons in 95-25 degree temps and they haven’t pulled out.

no doubt
one can utilize that space. I’ve got a flexible torso and can rotate around well but there’s no way I can access that space that is inches from the water BEHIND ME as quickly as I can pop the skirt and grab an item that is in front of my torso and put the skirt back on.

If the utility of a day hatch is dependant on making sure those items are right under the hatch and flat water then just think of the utility of having those items right under the foredeck or between legs on the floor.

my basic point is that I think the feature of a day hatch is an accident of production and not by design. That it is accesible in flat water is equally so for popping the skirt. When water gets bouncy the space in front of ones lap is still more accesible and rapidly closed than the day hatch.

Another vote for a knee tube
I use one in my Nordkapp. Don’t have accessfrom the deck like Mediceman’s set up but paddlefloat, pump a towrope water and snacks in there.

when I’m in 2-foot waves washing over…
In 2 foot waves washing over my decks, there is little I need to access, that is not on my pfd, aside from my paddle. However, I have accessed my day hatch in swells of more than 2 feet.

Every one of my sea kayaks has a day hatch. I would be very hesitant to have one without a day hatch.

I pack my day hatch so I can easily retrieve the items I am most likely to want while in the boat for a particular outing. Sometimes this is spare lights, gloves, hot tea, or what ever.

Even if water washes into the day compartment, it is far less volume than the cockpit which, for me, makes it safer than popping the skirt in seas.

the utility of the day hatch
Good discussion.

I can’t really access my day hatch on the go. Not flexible enough. In conditions of any sort I’d just as likely wind up going over.

The value of the day hatch as I see it will be readily apparent to anyone who has read “Deep Troubles”. Remember how many harrowing accidents resulted from someone trying to open a main hatch in an emergency. To get this or that (flares, VHF, etc.). The main advantage of the day hatch as I see it is as storage area that can afford to be swamped in an emergency without compromising the overall boyancy of the boat. You’re in the water, in the thick of things, and can open it while keeping your bow and stern hatches in place.

That’s probably not how it was originally billed, but that’s the message I took away from it after reading Deep Troubles. For those who want to keep their cockpit clean. For all of your bigger emergency gear

paddling with partners
I think the British emphasize group paddling more than solo paddling so if there was access on the water to a smaller aft hatch having a partner do it makes sense, just as a partner would assist in pumping using the aft deck mounted pump,that the round hatch has replaced.

The volume of the “day” compartment is so much larger than a person would need for use while on the water. It’s a perfect place for heavy items like water needed for multi-day trips.

Seems to me that the term “day hatch” leads people to think there’s something special about that space for “day use”.

maybe rechristen it
the “water” hatch?

LeeG, I’m glad you reaffirm all of my guilty pleasures. All boats need now is a second “day” hatch at your toes. To be loaded with … more drinking water! :slight_smile:

Stuff stowed in the cockpit
This depends a bit on how much room there is already in the cockpit to do a wet re-entry, something that I do want to protect. In the higher decked Vela I can take stuff on the floor or, if I set up the mounting, in an under-deck tube without challenging my ability to do a wet re-entry and roll.

But in the Explorer LV, I have less room altogether and am concerned about that. I really don’t want anything in that cockpit that can’t fit behind the backband. And once it’s back there, it’s not a real dandy idea to pull a skirt to get to it.

welding rod tube…
with screw-on top, bungied inside\underside of deck has worked for me for years. It’s watertight, holds VHF, stainless container for hot tea, powerbars, etc., whatever I need that particular day.

To mount in your boat, use epoxy or JB Weld to hold two eyelets on underside of deck, add a bungy cord between them.

Now you’ve got a place to hold the tube. This can also be a good place for your pump and float or an extra water bottle.


We have them
A gift from a friend. They are really good stuff. They are also a good example of size considerations. One would probably fit OK in some of the boats, but it’d definately get fatally in the way of a wet re-entry in my Explorer LV when I think about colder water layers.

but in the average sea kayak with keyhole cockpit there’s a fair amount of room available right on the floor in front of the seat. I had a glass seat in my Express that I could jam a small dry box half way under. I could see cutting out a slot in a minicell seat for a dry box or at least a nalgene bottle. I’m not talking a 6"x12"diameter dry bag but 3"x6"x10" object.

Same volume is available under the foredeck on a lot of ‘regular’ kayaks.

flooded day hatch=too much water
I think if the day hatch floods you will have possibly 3-5 gallons of water…so up to 40 pounds of water sloshing and a major loss of control…again the 4th hatch, if it floods while you are getting out the radio or a flare a quart of water at most.

Honestly I’ve never had a day hatch flood but I will after the spring thaw flood only the day hatch and see how the kayak handles…might be a way to address weathercocking :slight_smile:

Day hatch water
The one thing I can think of is that, in true BCU tradition, my day hatch tends to be crammed even on day paddles in bigger or colder water. And to guard against fumble fingers and reduce the hunt into the corners for something, increasingly the contents are in dry bags, As long as I stay upright, I don’t kinow how much water could fit in the remaining space. Something to mess with in spring.

Now, if you capsize and things all that stuff starts coming out of the day hatch it’s another story. But unless it’s Valley hatches the first concern would be whether the tether held or the hatch cover is on its way to the bottom…