Sunday, August 12, 2012

How to Bed a Hatch

Yesterday, I decided that I should actually tackle a boat project.  Why, I don't know, but I did.  It's been brutally hot here in Georgia with the heat index well over 100 degrees every day.  But along with that heat comes whomping thunderstorms and rain in biblical proportions.  Although I've bedded the foredeck hatch and the port side deck prism four or five times, they've continued to leak.  

What?  You're thinking "Why would I want to read about how to bed a hatch from you if you haven't been able to do it right yet?"   Well, one of these times I'll do it and it won't leak, and then you'll see.  This time would be different.  This time, I'd gob so much silicone around them that there's no way they could possibly leak, or even be removed in the future.

I already had the clear silicone.   Daughter Megan bought it for me a month or two ago.  Yes, that's how long I've been procrast... uh... pondering how best to tackle this job.   You can't have too much clear silicone on an old boat.  If you don't have a boat you're considering buying one, start buying clear silicone now. 

First was the main hatch.  I've gooped this thing repeatedly, but still it leaked.    This time, I gobbed half a tube of silicone on it.

And then the prism.

Now, the more observant of you are thinking "Hey Dave, that silicone isn't clear, it's white!".   Yeppers.  The tube is labeled clear, but some clown at the silicone factory put white in there.   Why?  Just to mess with me.  It was so friggin' hot, and there was a huge honkin' thunderstorm coming that I had to run what I brung.  White it had to be.

Now, the way this is supposed to work is that you gob on the silicone real good and then screw down the hatch/port/prism until the sealant squeezes out a bit.   You then let it set up and later tighten the screws down with the sealant acting like a gasket.  Then you simply take a razor blade and cut off the excess sealant.

Like that.  Before the silicone could set up, the skies opened up and the rain came down, washing much of the silicone out.  The prism didn't leak, but the hatch did.   I'm going to try tightening down the hatch's screws to see if it stops the  leaks.  Here's hoping.  Otherwise, I'll have to rebed it for the umpteenth time.

You observant readers are now shaking your heads and thinking "Hatches smatches.  Are you ever going to paint those decks?  They look like crap."   Yes.  I've been pondering how to tackle that job, and because of its size, it requires more pondering.  How many victory beers will it take?  Lager or pale ale?  Cans or bottles?  See?  You simply can't rush these things.


  1. Dave, FYI,I sell the DAP Alex Plus at my hardware store in Florida. If you read the tube, it says it goes on white and turns clear in 7-14 days. Kinda cool huh?

    Regards, Mark

  2. Next time it leaks try bedding using Butyl rubber sealant tape (google it and you will wonder why you never heard of it, it really works).... I think you will only have to do it once, roll some into a thin string and wrap around under the screw head before you put them in. No need for a two step process... tighten screws the first time then have a beer.