Perfect Hatches

Ideas found online that are worthy of consideration as you build a hatch on your boat.  Links to more source material below.

If you are planning to build your own there are a number of criteria which the hatch should attempt to address.

  • It wants to be leak proof as possible.
  • Lockable, to keep out the thieves.
  • Good to look at so as not to spoil the overall look of your boat.
  • It should be strong enough to be walked on.
  • It should slide open easily without jamming.
  • As maintenance free as possible.
  • And relatively easy to build

Sliding Hatch Size

  • If you are replacing an old sliding hatch then the size may very well be preordained.
  • However, if you are building from scratch then you are free to design your hatch to suit your requirements.
  • The larger the opening the easier it will be to enter and exit and the more easy it will be to stow bulky gear below.
  • But the larger the span the stronger the hatch is going to have to be, especially if it is likely to be walked on.
  • And the larger the hatch the heavier it is going to be.
  • The minimum size to allow for normal ease of access needs to be 24inch/ 610mm square but preferably with at least one of the dimensions longer.



  • For most wooden boat owners there is nothing to compare with receiving complements on the appearance of their boat, much better than complements about their partners.
  • Much of the appearance of your boat will depend on the details.
  • Details such as the style and shape of the hatches and those little finishing touches.
  • A curved top will always look better than a flat one.
  • And a sliding hatch which is higher towards the aft end looks more rakish and somehow more proper than one which slides level.
  • Idlers walking along the dockside who look down on your deck will be impressed if your hatch has a smart hardwood trim and the rails are finished off with a birds-beak.

entrywaynice-72.jpg photo by Prestoboat.clipular

A sliding cover that jams will drive you crazy until you tear it apart and correct the problem, so best build it right the first time around. Most important is to begin with proper alignment, and to provide the proper amount of clearance in all positions. The rails and runners that support the hatch sliding mechanism must be aligned parallel to each other to slide smoothly in all weather. Laminated, built-up runners, epoxy glued, are always more stable than a large single piece of lumber, and they may be built of small or even scrap pieces.

An additional secret to a slick working hatch is a strip of friction-reducing thick plastic; 40 mil or approximately 1/8 inch, on which the weight of the hatch slides rests. Such plastic is tough, long lasting, unaffected by saltwater, and works equally well in tropical sun or winter freeze.


Please visit these sites for the complete information: and

Originally posted 2016-02-29 08:08:28.

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