Wilderness Systems replacement hatch covers

Found a couple old threads on the topic. Looking to see if there’s any new solutions out there. I have a kayak business and a small fleet for students. I have one WS Tempest 170 and an opportunity to pick up a second at a good price. I like the Tempest as a fleet boat. It handles nicely, yet is foregiving for newer paddlers as well. Good all around kayak and I’d like to pick up the second.

One critical issue though … The hatches just won’t stay on, especially the stern. I’ve done a T-rescue on one and had just the weight of a small dry bag knock the stern hatch clean off in the water mid-rescue. I’ve seen raccoons pop them right off to go exploring for food (which was luckily held in a stronger boat). Horrible design.

I talked to dealer rep for North American sales recently. He said it was a big area for redesign and they totally updated the hatches on the newer models. He said they are great now and I’ve heard the same from paddlers. Question is: What to do about older models? Does anyone know of any replacement hatches out there that will make a better fit? Any other solutions?

I had an older ws tsunami 145. Looks like the same hatches. Black rubber withdrawn harder gray center section. I was concerned with the oval rear hatch coming loose. What I wound up doing was adding a ‘J’ hook on 1 side hatch opening near the middle of the hatch and extending the bungie cord on the oppsite side so I could then stretch the cord thru the hook sio ti pushed down on the hatch

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Not a bad idea. I thought of doing something like that using straps and buckles if the hatches proved to be an issue. Below picture of a Valley tandem is what gave me the idea. Seems like a measure you shouldn’t have to take with a properly designed kayak, but with the WS kayaks it would add piece of mind, plus some raccoon-proofing.

I also have a plastic tempest 170, and it seems like the hatch rim on the kayak is about a half inch to big in the longer dimension for the rubber hatch cover to fit well. I really have to stretch the hatch cover to get over the lip, and then it’s clearly not very well seated on the rim and ready to pop off. I searched everywhere I could think of for a source of a slightly longer cover but never found one.

I’ve also thought adding a couple straps across the hatch cover would be the easiest way to make it more secure.