How to make hatch covers for your boat

Written by will charpentier
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If you lose a hatch cover to weather or rot, you might finish the season with a tarp or, if the weather is pleasant, an open hatch. Remember, though, that an uncovered hatch on a rough day is an invitation to trouble and a wasted hatch cover is an invitation waiting for delivery. Building a new hatch cover can occupy a few hours during your off season and make fitting out at the start of the next season a shorter process.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter's square
  • Circular saw
  • Marine epoxy paint
  • Marine silicone caulk
  • Drill and bits
  • No. 8 wood screws
  • 4 hasps

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Make the tops of the hatch covers by using the measuring tape to measure the length and width of the combing around the hatch. Measure from the outside of the combing to the outside of the combing on the opposite side of the hatch. Add 1 inch to the length and 1 inch to the width.

  2. 2

    Transfer these dimensions to the marine plywood, using the straight edge of the carpenter's square to ensure that the lines you draw and the corners connecting them are straight and square. Use the circular saw to cut the tops of the hatch covers from the plywood. Paint all surfaces of the plywood with marine epoxy paint and allow to dry completely.

  3. 3

    Measure the height of the combing. Make the sides of the hatch cover by laying out four strips with length of 1/2 inch less than the sides of the hatch cover top, and with width the same as the height of the combing. Use the carpenter's square to ensure the lines are straight and the corners are square. Paint all surfaces of the plywood with marine epoxy paint and allow to dry completely.

  4. 4

    Assemble the hatch cover by applying marine silicone caulk to one long edge of each plywood strip. The caulking will seal the sides to the top of the hatch cover. Place one side so that one end is even with the corner of the hatch cover top and the other 1/2 inch short of the opposite corner; then place each following side in the same way to form a topless box with corners overlapping.

  5. 5

    Drill three equally spaced 1/8-inch pilot holes down through the top of the hatch into each of the sides. Screw the No. 8 wood screws into the pilot holes.

  6. 6

    Attach hasps to all four sides of the hatch cover using the screws included with the hasps, so that it can be locked in place. The hasps should be installed so that they hinge at the bottom of the sides of the hatch cover.

Tips and warnings

  • The hatch cover is removed by lifting the cover straight up.
  • Allow the caulk to cure for 24 hours before installing the hatch cover.
  • This project involves work with chemicals and tools. Appropriate caution is advised.

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