- Tips on selection, installation and removal -
To determine which hatch is right for your boat, first you must consider your cruising area. Boat hatches are divided into different CE categories from A to D. Category A hatches are suitable for the high seas, category B hatches for offshore cruising outside of coastal waters, category C hatches are for cruising in coastal waters and category D hatches for cruising in sheltered waters.
A distinction is made between the outer dimension and the inner dimension of boat hatches. The outer dimension corresponds to the size across the entire hatch. The internal dimension, i.e. the actual opening of the hatch, represents the installation dimension.
All boat hatches must be installed on a flat surface with max. +/- 1 mm deviation. On decks with a composite construction (e.g. GRP), it is advisable to seal the exposed laminate with gelcoat before installing the hatch to prevent moisture from entering. When cutting through metal boat decks, all sharp edges must be removed. If the hatch frame is made of a different metal to the deck of your boat, you should insulate the frame before installation to prevent corrosion from occurring.
Creating a new opening on your boat can weaken its structural integrity. Hatches are not considered to be strengthening elements, it is therfore advisable to reinforce the boat deck sufficiently to prevent it from buckling in rough weather conditions. If in doubt, it's worth consulting an expert.
Installing a new hatch can be quite simple. The most important thing is planning.
1. Mark the cut-out on deck
Copy the installation dimension of the hatch onto the boat deck. Remember that the opening must be slightly larger when using a screen. Use a compass to mark the corners. Then place the hatch on the marking as a test to check the accuracy of the fit.
1. Adjust compass to radius 2. Mark two circles 3. Keep circle setting
2. Saw out the hatch
Before sawing the cut-out for the hatch, check that there are no power cables, gas pipes or other hazards running through the side of the boat in this area. Protect yourself by wearing safety goggles and a residual current device. Drill a hole in which a jigsaw can be inserted and saw out the marked opening. Alternatively, the corners can also be drilled out with a correspondingly sized hole saw. If necessary, the ceiling lining must also be removed from the inside or cut to size accordingly. Check the fit of the hatch.
3. Drill holes for the base frame
With the hatch in place, mark the holes for the base frame. Take the hatch out of the cut-out again and drill the fixing holes. Screw the frame through the deck in the area of the hinges and screw the other screws into the deck. When you are satisfied with the fit of the hatch, you can start sealing.
4. Sealing the hatch
Apply sealant generously to the part of the frame that rests on the deck and to both sides of the mounting holes to seal the hatch. Now mount the hatch on the deck. Some sealant should run out between the frame and the deck. Screw the base frame firmly to the deck. Screws around the hatch hinges must be fastened with a nut. Self-tapping threaded screws are sufficient for the rest of the hatch frame. Finally, remove the excess sealant.
Use extreme caution when removing an existing boat hatch so as not to damage the deck. Make a wooden plank for the corner of the frame. Place a piece of cardboard or carpet underneath to protect the deck. Now place a second piece of wood under the inner frame of the hatch, directly against the base frame of the hatch. For this, it may have to be mitred. Attach a screw clamp to the wooden structure so that you can pull the piece of wood upwards under the inner frame. As soon as the frame has loosened a few millimetres from the deck, you can remove the sealant using a thin knife blade. Before a new hatch is fitted, all the sealant must be removed and each fixing hole filled.
Before buying a new hatch, carefully measure both your old hatch and the existing opening and then choose an appropriate size for your new boat hatch. You are welcome to contact us and send us a photo of your old hatch, the dimensions and, if possible, a model no. (see frame). We will then find the right hatch for your boat. If a suitable size cannot be found, an additional frame made of wood could help in some cases.
Most hatch frames are made of anodised aluminium. Aluminium has been used for boat hatches for many decades. There are also hatches made of PVC or stainless steel. Plastic frames are UV and impact-resistant. Stainless steel makes for an elegant and chic look everywhere. Panes are made of acrylic glass with a thickness of 8-15 mm, depending on the size of the hatch. Glass colour is smoke grey.
It is recommended to clean boat hatches several times a year. To do this, simply use lukewarm fresh water or soapy water. However, never use the following items for cleaning:
- Alkaline products that contain sodium
- Acidic cleaning products
- Steel wool, abrasive fluid or emery paper
- Glass cleaners for acrylic glass, as these sometimes also have alkaline components.
For bonding and sealing boat hatches, we recommend Sikaflex 221i adhesive and sealant together with a suitable primer. Gebo also sells a special sealing tape. It's important that the surface is clean and free of dust and grease before applying the sealant.
Franklin W. on 02.10.2022
Marine P. on 30.09.2022
Astthor G. on 30.09.2022