Taken from the recent article “Fishing For Opinions” (http://www.paddling.net/guidelines/showArticle.html?451)

Manufacturers lose a lot of sleep designing front hatches and covers. They need to be water tight, and still hold some gear. Still, many folks put gear in dry bags because sometimes those hatches simply don’t seal well. So why not simply have another tank well up front?

I always use a dry bag regardless
I usually call them “mostly dry hatches” rather than “dry hatches”. There has never been built a boat that doesn’t leak somewhere.

Another tank well in the front precludes an SOT user from accessing the copious space in the hull for putting in rigged rods.

  • Big D

Front Hatch
My hatch is usually packed with a waterproof pack, kayak cart, rods and other miscellaneous gear. It doesn’t matter that the hatch isn’t water-tight, as there are ways to prepare. When camping, you can definitely cram a load of gear in there.

Front Hatches

– Last Updated: Sep-28-09 10:20 PM EST –

I like the idea of a decked bow to disperse big waves breaking over the bow. I would loose stability if a front tankwell filled with water. It takes a too much precious time to drain from the scupper. Dry bags under the front hatch are not a hassle. A great reassurance.

When I'm camping, I can stow my tent and sleeping bag and lot of water there.

I own a 2008 Native Manta Ray 12 and the front hatch is okay for overall size, except for the smallish opening, and the hatch could have a more secure locking system. I don’t mind taking a little more time unlocking the lid when I’m sure what’s inside is dry and protected. I also wish the 6" hatches were 8" or larger for easier internal access, at least the one behind the seat. I like to use my boat for camping excursions and some of my bulkier gear sits in the tankwell in drybags because they don’t fit through the front hatch. Not great when the wind comes up. Thanks for listening.