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Old 03-07-2022, 15:16   #1
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Searching for rubber hatch seals.

Good afternoon. The big mission this summer on our Roughwater 33 is to seal the boat up so that the rain and sea-water stay out of the boat for this coming winter. When we bought the boat all the hatch seals were shot, all the deck hardware needed re-bedding, the wooden rub rail fastener holes leak into the inside of the hull, etc... Typical 35+ year old boat that hasn't had a major refit.

We have a teak foredeck hatch main companionway hatch and aft lazarette hatch that all have similar seal setups, there is an 1/8" rabbet routered or chiseled into the perimeter of these hatches and they had 1/8th solid rubber seals glued into them. All the rubber has now gone brittle and mostly cracked and I have had a hell of a time finding simple 1/8" rubber seals online and in the local chandleries. Almost nobody seems to carry solid rubber anymore, seems to be this neoprene foam hollow cored stuff that everybody is using. But even with that, none of the chandleries carried anything as narrow as 1/8", it is 1/4" and above.

My questions are, is there an online source where you can get plain old 1/8" solid rubber seal material? My instinct would be that the solid rubber would last longer than the soft neoprene foam seals, but correct me if i'm wrong.

Also our engine room access is a heavy duty aluminum manhole with three turning dogs, with the same 1/8" rubber material, now long gone, I've tried to seal it with a 1/4" neoprene seal on the underside of the manhole cover, not quite right as the original seal is yet again, inside an inset channel on the deck plate part, not the lid, so of course it doesn't seal quite right.

I was doing some reading on the neoprene seals and it seems like some of them are not supposed to be compressed too much, to seal properly, only 25-40 percent of their height or something like that. I think that design is at variance with the manhole cover as it is obvious that it was designed to be dogged down tightly over the rubber seal. So that might be why the neoprene on there isn't fully sealing.

This is definitely the non sexy side of what we need to do on our boats, but so necessary to prevent future issues and living in a damp environment. Can't wait to have a dry boat!


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Old 03-07-2022, 18:15   #2
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Re: Searching for rubber hatch seals.

We had similar problems finding rubber gaskets for the storm windows on our house. When we asked the glazier about where to find them, they laughed. They stopped using gaskets years ago. They put a bead of silicone sealant around the rim and press the glass into it. Done. We had the same response from Hatchmasters when we asked about replacing the gaskets for our hatches. They let the sealant solidify into a compressible bead before closing the hatch on it. You may know of a product that will work better in a marine environment, but that is the idea.
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Old 03-07-2022, 20:21   #3
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Re: Searching for rubber hatch seals.

Easy places to check are McMaster-Carr and Canal Rubber . In the case of Canal Rubber Supply a phone call or visit is better than the internet.
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Old 03-07-2022, 21:54   #4
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Re: Searching for rubber hatch seals.

I also recommend McMaster Carr where they have a large selection but unfortunately they dont ship to Canada, I have a US address where I pick up my orders.
One warning about using solid rubber is that it may not compress enough and depending on your hinges, could prevent the hatch/port two mating pieces from closing properly all around, and if you force, it could be damaged.
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Old 04-07-2022, 09:36   #5
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Re: Searching for rubber hatch seals.
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Old 15-07-2022, 09:06   #6
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Re: Searching for rubber hatch seals.

You may also look at oring material, it can be bought in cord length and glued together to make the correct size. A medium durometer ~70 shore A should be firm enough for the hatch to seal against. A parker industrial store would have the materials.
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Old 17-07-2022, 08:52   #7
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Re: Searching for rubber hatch seals.

The problem I had with McMaster is that the selection was so vast, I had no idea what to get. I tried two different things on speculation, and found them far too hard. It's a process of elimination that I haven't got to the end of yet.
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Old 17-07-2022, 11:43   #8
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Re: Searching for rubber hatch seals.

You do not mention the hatch supplier name. Try to find the name, should be possible, not many constructors. Contact the supplier, often they still support years old hatches. Other solution, find small rubber fabricators and visit them. Often they have a shop for non professional clients and you can buy all their products in quantities for ondividuals. No internet sales, just walk-in customers, professional and individual.
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Old 17-07-2022, 13:11   #9
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Re: Searching for rubber hatch seals.

1/8" is really small. Is it possible it was a T shape with a narrow 1/8" part but wider outside the channel?

Two places I have used for seals on my boat.

Sailboatowners has other seals for other brands as well if you can identify yours. The link above is for an 1/8" channel.

Or, call hatchmasters even though not listed on their website, hatch repair is their business.
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arc, hatch, seals

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