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Old 10-04-2018, 08:28 AM   #1
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Hatch over berth

I'd like to get thoughts and opinions on having a hatch over your berth.

I grew up with wooden boats and the consensus was never put a hatch over your berth - but then again, everything on a wooden boat will leak at some point. Now I have to decide about a hatch on an aluminum hull boat.

The easiest and most useful location is to put the hatch centered over a queen size berth. It will probably be a Lewmar 60 Low Profile hatch that is large enough to serve as a point of egress in emergencies. I realize everything leaks eventually, that's why I'm looking for folks with more experience with these hatches than I have.

My preference is above the berth. But I could also locate it offset from the berth, but would need to reduce the size of the hatch. If I reduce the size I probably wouldn't be able to use a hatch large enough to slip through unless I kept the same size hatch, then it would still overlap the berth - so that's not a logical improvement in my desire to avoid leaks on the berth.

This is a coastal cruising boat - so not much blue water crashing on the hatch (I hope). Any thoughts on the reliability of these hatches or practical experience is appreciated.

Dave
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:32 AM   #2
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I’d put one over the berth, in addition as an escape hatch that you mentioned, for added ventilation. It’s nice to capture the breeze.
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:45 AM   #3
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Modern hatches are quite reliable at keeping the outside out. In 10-15 years if/when the gasket gets worn enough to start leaking you replace it. No biggie. I say put a hatch wherever you think its best.


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Old 10-04-2018, 08:59 AM   #4
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Over the berth and large enough for emergency exit. New hatches dont leak under most conditions.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:01 AM   #5
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Good feedback from both - thank you. I was hoping that would be the consensus but just didn't know about these modern, newfangled hatches. My current boat is a state of the art 1950's design.

I'm sure someone will chime in with a different opinion - but that's what I asked for.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:02 AM   #6
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All the reasons above for "over the berth" plus-if you are using that berth you will know about the inevitable leak the FIRST time it occurs.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:26 AM   #7
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It probably will never leak but as always; hope for the best and plan for the worst. Think it though and be ready for it.

Gotta admit that I have never looked into emergency hatch repairs. It's hard enough to get crew to close the engine room door when waves are breaking into the engine room. Sometimes you look back and wonder: "What were they thinking?" Sometimes, some people, when under stress, just don't connect the dots.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:29 AM   #8
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Boat - I'm a retired Special Forces officer (it took a while before I could say that out loud) - I've had many "What were they thinking?" moments in my life!! Granted, my language was a little saltier back then...
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:47 AM   #9
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I am with the not directly over the bunk crowd if possible.

It doesn't matter if it leaks or was accidently left open and your conehead boat neighbor washes his boat and now your bunk is wet.

Sleeping on a soggy savk isn't much fun.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:48 AM   #10
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There is a lot to be said for that link between drilling and discipline. And the difference between discipline and punishment. It seems to be mostly lost in civilian life.

If you take a wave over the bow and the hatch is open, it will leak - promise. It might damage the hatch and leak forever. Checklists are your friends.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:56 AM   #11
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I am with the not directly over the bunk crowd if possible.

It doesn't matter if it leaks or was accidently left open and your conehead boat neighbor washes his boat and now your bunk is wet.

Sleeping on a soggy savk isn't much fun.


This.

I like being able to see out, both pleasant and good tool to line up a particular tree and know you are where you are supposed to be. But few things cause my soul to shrink faster than not having a place to sleep when the time finally comes. If you have an alternate bunk for times like this you can count on, go for it.
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:19 PM   #12
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I've had hatches over berths on every boat I've ever owned or used. It was only a problem on one of them, and than was simply due to a poor design choice on the part of the builder.


Currently I have a larger Lewmar hatch over our master berth. It is great for ventilation and light (I love having natural light coming into the cabin in the morning although my wife isn't as crazy about it at 5:00am in the summer.) Modern hatches installed properly don't leak. Last spring I made a bad weather call and repeatedly buried the bow with green water washing over the deck and cabin. Not a single leak through the hatch.
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:37 PM   #13
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Good thoughts from everyone. Thank you. The sister ship I inspected had a hatch over the berth, but that vessel was in Washington State where they never get any weather at anchor...
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:33 PM   #14
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For us a hatch is indispensable. THe V berth cools off way before the salon meaning we can sleep long before we would otherwise.

Yes some water can get in if attention is not paid to neighbours, the rain clouds or even your own boat washing. Even when at home and I'm working on the boat I open the hatch and the salon door and the breeze keeps the interior tolerable on hot days. Without that hatch it would be HOT.

Make sure there is a good insect screen or bugs can ruin your day/night.

Can you mount the hatch on a curb of about 1", even 1/2" high. THat will keep a lot of water out that would otherwise overwhelm a low profile hatch frame. Mine is like that and even in the heaviest rain, or washing, no water gets to the hatch seal itself due to the curb, unless of course I leave the hatch open. Even then it takes a very heavy rain, splashing, to enter.
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:46 PM   #15
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C lectric - the curb is a good idea I have not considered. I've seen raised lips around a hatch for offshore protection and decided I didn't want to go that route, but raising it up an inch or so is worth considering.

I'll ponder that idea!
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:58 PM   #16
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I would not be without a hatch over the v berth. I dont want to drown and dont mind getting wet from a leak if I dont die. Getting from a sinking boat through one or more other cabins would scare me to death...wouldnt drown...I guess. Never had a boat, wooden, steel, or glass that didnt have an escape hatch.
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:55 PM   #17
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Center the hatch....and get a waterproof bedspread. The hatch probably won't leak for 15 years....by then it might be someone else's boat.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:32 PM   #18
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We have one, OEM,over the fwd berth. It has a dorade vent incorporated into it,and an insect/ breeze type general screen attached with press studs. The vent can be left open at night if desired, head to breeze on the hook gives good airflow. If it rains we are soon woken It can be closed and air still enters via the dorade vent which has never leaked,even in extreme weather.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boat View Post

If you take a wave over the bow and the hatch is open, it will leak - promise. It might damage the hatch and leak forever. Checklists are your friends.
True Statement. Don't ask me how I know.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:46 PM   #20
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Hatch over berth ... isn't that standard practice? ... Give us some light, ventilation, and a way to escape.
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