Acompartment hatch that opens slightly and slaps shut with each wave while underway can be annoying, but it’s also damaging to the compartment and its con- tents, the lid, and hinges. A loose hatch can even be
dangerous if gear starts shifting or someone’s fingers or toes get
in the way of the wayward lid.
The deck hatch over the large storage compartment forward
of the helm of my center-console had no clasp to secure it and
counted on sheer gravity to stay closed. Opening the hatch was
accomplished by using a simple round lift tab, which was handy
as it required only one hand.
The setup worked well enough when the boat remained on
smooth seas. But when we met a chop, the hatch would rattle,
chatter, and slam, depending on the water conditions, boat
speed, and entry. I figured the same thing was probably happening while the boat was being towed on the trailer whenever
we encountered bumps in the road.
The situation called for an aftermarket clasp to secure the
hatch in the closed position, and to do so tight enough that it
didn’t rattle. I wanted something simple that I could open with
one hand, that was inexpensive and easy to install, and didn’t
pose a threat to ankles on the busy section of the deck where I
intended to place it.
Having tested boats that used a variety of hardware to hold
hatches shut, I recalled a low-profile latch that was constructed
using a flexible material to latch the
components under tension, thus elimi-
nating any chatter-inducing play. The
same material covered the hardware with
protective padding that would be forgiv-
ing to ankles that would invariably come
into contact with the clasp.
A quick search online revealed that
what I sought is a flexible compression-style clasp called a Soft Draw Latch
made by Southco ( southco.com). The
Soft Draw line features thermoplastic
molded over stainless-steel hardware for
marine applications in two sizes, large
and small. It even comes in white, which
I preferred for my particular application.
I ordered a C7-10 concealed front-mount model in size small from
Boat Outfitters. The latch mounted without a hitch and eliminated the hatch slap
and chatter. It’s easy to open and close,
and its low, soft-padded profile has yet
to draw blood from my passengers or me.
Fix a slap-happy hatch
A hatch that bangs each time you hit a wave is dangerous
and can get on your nerves. Here’s how to lock it down
>> No. 8 bolts
and nylon nuts to
mount the keeper
>> No. 8 self-tapping screws for
About 1 to 2 hours
DO IT YOURSELF
ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY DAN ARMITAGE
We chose a low-profile draw-style
latch with hardware sheathed in
soft thermoplastic because our
is exposed to passenger foot traffic.