Dear Leaky Larry,
|Lewmar Ocean Hatch|
You've hit on one of the most common questions that we receive from customers. Boat hatches of all manufacturers will eventually start to leak, typically due to one of the seals going bad with age. Almost all hatch leaking problems can be reduced to one of four areas. Of course, your leaking hatch may suffer from more than one of these.
Determining where the leak is, exactly, is step one. The best time to find the leak is in a down pour or thunder storm. Spraying the hatch with a hose can find the leak, but sometimes there isn’t a substitute for Mother Nature when it comes to volume. With the hatch soaking and hopefully leaking, look to see if the water is coming through the deck-to-hatch base joint, the handle where it goes through the hatch, around the lens, or between the hatch base and the lid.
If the handles are leaking, you will need to replace the o-rings that seal the handle. We can replace these for currently manufactured hatches. For older hatches, we will carefully remove the handle and o-ring so that the o-ring stays in one piece (this may not be possible) and we can match up a new o-ring to the old one and reassemble the handle.
If the seal around the lens is leaking or the lens itself is cracked and leaking, we can fix both of these situations for you. This is a good winter project since older hatches may need a custom cut replacement lens.
If the hatch is leaking between the hatch base and the lid, we can replace the gasket. Once again on older models we may have to order an aftermarket seal. In most cases this will work, but unfortunately in some cases the hatch lid or base is bent causing the leak. In some cases, a specialty shop can straighten the hatch, but often a bent hatch means hatch replacement.
If the leak is coming from in between the deck and the hatch base, we can remove the hatch, clean off the old sealant and re-mount the hatch on the deck. It is possible that this joint started leaking due to the hatch base being bent which as mentioned above may be repairable, but likely means replacing the hatch.
Leaky Larry, I hope this helps. If you want to attempt any of the above repair jobs yourself, we’d be happy to walk you through it over the phone.