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Old 26-03-2008, 14:11   #16
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Escape Hatch Requirements

I appreciate all the inputs. The Moonlight Hatches that several people recommended look like good quality. When I checked out the specs, it appears I would have a serious project on my hands since my cutout dimension is 550mm square while the closest Moonlight hatch requires a 500mm cutout. That means glasswork and a haulout that I hoped to avoid.

Before I go much further, I would appreciate some input on the European and USA requirements for escape hatches. Our cat is rated as European Categorie 1 and I would like to maintain the rating if possible. Does anyone know If there is a USA requirement by the Coast Guard for escape hatches?

I'm leaning toward modifying my existing hatches as I indicated in my first post. Briefly, that involves replacing lexan with 1/4" (6mm) aluminum plate and putting a s/s bolt thru four corners of the plate with backing plates on the inside. This mod would circumvent the current weakness of rivetted hinges and stops for lock handles. I would also mount a dedicated box wrench on each hatch for opening in an emergency. I recognize this is may not be the easiest hatch to escape from, but when I weigh the costs of hatches, $1,000. + and a haulout $2,000. +, I think I might like to spend the money (I don't have) on a new gas stove for the "Admiral." Do you think this type of hatch fastening would invalidate the European Cat 1 rating? If there is a USA requirement, would I violate that also?
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Old 26-03-2008, 14:17   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svcattales View Post
I appreciate all the inputs. The Moonlight Hatches that several people recommended look like good quality. When I checked out the specs, it appears I would have a serious project on my hands since my cutout dimension is 550mm square while the closest Moonlight hatch requires a 500mm cutout. That means glasswork and a haulout that I hoped to avoid.

Before I go much further, I would appreciate some input on the European and USA requirements for escape hatches. Our cat is rated as European Categorie 1 and I would like to maintain the rating if possible. Does anyone know If there is a USA requirement by the Coast Guard for escape hatches?

I'm leaning toward modifying my existing hatches as I indicated in my first post. Briefly, that involves replacing lexan with 1/4" (6mm) aluminum plate and putting a s/s bolt thru four corners of the plate with backing plates on the inside. This mod would circumvent the current weakness of rivetted hinges and stops for lock handles. I would also mount a dedicated box wrench on each hatch for opening in an emergency. I recognize this is may not be the easiest hatch to escape from, but when I weigh the costs of hatches, $1,000. + and a haulout $2,000. +, I think I might like to spend the money (I don't have) on a new gas stove for the "Admiral." Do you think this type of hatch fastening would invalidate the European Cat 1 rating? If there is a USA requirement, would I violate that also?
Whatever you place in your escape hatches make sure they are \CE certified catagory 1 as escape hatches , this means that minimum lexan or polycarbonate needs to be 12 mm or 1/2 inch
The minimal opening size is .20 squire meter or in lenghts 500 x 400 mm so somebody can crawl out ( or in )
How about placing a stainless steel squire area around the opennig in order to make it smaller , it will save you the haul out and 5 mm thick will do the trick, have it welded and polished and bolt in into place with Bostik sealant and not a drop will ever enter .

Greetings
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Old 26-03-2008, 17:15   #18
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I know of some folks that got so irritated, and concerned, that they actually fiber-glassed the openings closed
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Old 27-03-2008, 08:21   #19
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Once when pounding into some waves in the Bahamas. My brother took the cover off of the hatch, and we could see the bottom clearly. The hatch is foreward on the slon floor. My brother thinks I need one of the hatches in the head, so when you are sitting down you can be entertained too....
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Old 11-05-2008, 15:45   #20
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Escape Hatch Mod Completed

I just completed the first of two escape hatch modifications and I'm pleased with the result. I replaced the lexan with 1/4" aluminum plate cut to the same size and used 4 s/s bolts to secure the hatch (one in each corner). On the inside, I used 1.5" aluminum angle iron as the backing plate. The hatch seals well and I won't lose any more sleep about the hatch failing at a bad time; i.e., "a dark and stormy night". I attached pics here showing stages of construction. The green hatch was a temporary hatch made of plywood to fill the hole while working on the real one.
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Old 11-05-2008, 16:11   #21
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There is no U.S. requirement for 'escape' hatches in catamarans. I just received USCG approval for a catamaran designed to carry 149 passengers, and the subject never came up. In Chris White's book, there is a discussion by a racer whose multi capsized. He was of the opinion that escape hatches would be too low to be of much use when capsized, and he urged people cutting their way into upside down multis to make their cuts at the top of the (upside down) hulls, to keep waves from entering. In my design, that would have you cutting into tanks, though.

I think one should have the air vents for the water tanks fitted with devices like snorkels for amatuers have- a ping pong ball or similar that blocks the vent if water comes from the tank side with the boat upside down, unless your water tanks are above the cabin sole, in which case it would suffice to have the air vent with a high loop that rises and then returns to take in air from below the tank (when the boat is right side up.)
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:56   #22
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Check out this insurance adjuster's comments

About 1/3 down you will find, among other losses associated with catamarans, one that was caused by an escape hatch opening while under sail. Another mention is of people who escaped an upside down cat through an escape hatch. Apparently, lots of clueless lubbers are renting charter cats.

Flashlight Edition 60 - January 2007 MaritimeCompliance.com
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Old 12-05-2008, 13:14   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svcattales View Post
I just completed the first of two escape hatch modifications and I'm pleased with the result. ... The hatch seals well and I won't lose any more sleep about the hatch failing at a bad time; i.e., "a dark and stormy night".
Looks like a nice job, Greg. Pleasant dreams!

Dave
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Old 15-05-2008, 20:13   #24
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2Hulls: Dave, right now I'm only sleeping well half the night because I haven't finished the other hatch yet. Thanks for the compliment.
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Old 17-05-2008, 08:09   #25
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Anybody know where to buy parts for the Moonlight hatches (handles and locks gaskets) I've tried google with no results?


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