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Old 14-05-2021, 07:25   #1
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Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

I'm wondering what most people do with their hatches at night? Do you close and lock them to prevent unauthorized entry (such as burglars) and prevent air flow through the boat or do you leave them open?

If you leave them open, have you installed some form of grating or bars to prevent entry? My concern with this would be in case of an emergency where you need to escape, such as a fire, this would prevent escape (or at the very least make it more difficult).

Am I being paranoid and this is just a non-issue? Thanks in advance for the feedback.
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Old 14-05-2021, 07:30   #2
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

Location is going to have a lot of bearing on the answers. This is too broad of a question.

We are in New England, we leave hatches open (weather dependent).
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Old 14-05-2021, 07:33   #3
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

Sorry, I should have clarified that a bit. I'm asking mainly for the Caribbean.
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Old 14-05-2021, 07:34   #4
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

Open with security bars
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Old 14-05-2021, 07:35   #5
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

You are not paranoid. The problem is that there is not a single answer. You could be in a place where the intruder risks are so high that you would want to bar entry, but in my mind I would be leaving that place or standing a night watch. I have no intention of going to that place. On the other hand, my forward hatch has a fan in it and is directly above my head when asleep, and reaching the top hatch would mean a climb above the wheel house.
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Old 14-05-2021, 07:52   #6
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

Are you sleeping on the boat at night, or are you away?

I wouldn't leave the hatches open while I'm away. Not only is it a risk for burglars or whatever, but I'm also not going to be confident enough in a weather forecast to leave them open...

If I'm sleeping on the boat, I would certainly leave the hatches open in good weather. If someone is coming onto the boat, I find it hard to imagine I wouldn't wake up. Plus, how many thieves are really going to enter a boat that's obviously occupied?

Maybe I'm just naive, and to be fair I certainly have only taken my boat to places with safe reputations. But I've also never heard first or second-hand of a boat being robbed while the crew was on board - we call that piracy, don't we?
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:10   #7
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

You mean like the companionway hatch? Or ventilation hatches?

Unless you use a kid or a well-trained monkey, you aren’t fitting through my ventilation hatches.
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:14   #8
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

Several years ago while chartering in the BVI my boat was robbed while at the dock in Tortola. We got to the charter base too late to leave the first day, so had to spend the night on the dock. Then next morning lots of stuff was missing, phones, ipads etc...we were boarded at night while sleeping...
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:17   #9
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

Hatches and companion way wide open for as much ventilation as possible when I was in Grenada. It seems most people at anchor at least leave hatches open, otherwise you'd hear a lot of generators running at night for AC. It's simply too hot to have them closed. When you have to close them for rain, it's pretty hot and miserable. I try to open them right back up.
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:20   #10
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

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Originally Posted by Rackman View Post
Several years ago while chartering in the BVI my boat was robbed while at the dock in Tortola. We got to the charter base too late to leave the first day, so had to spend the night on the dock. Then next morning lots of stuff was missing, phones, ipads etc...we were boarded at night while sleeping...
Wow, I'm amazed and sorry that happened to you. I suppose I've been picturing a boat at anchor for this question. Would be easier to manage something like that at a dock, and I would have been sleeping soundly at the charter base...

I was robbed once at anchor on a charter in the Bay of Phuket, but we were ashore having dinner. Someone was able to overcome the locks on the large emergency egress hatches and steal a few items. They chose poorly what to take though - got off with a box of toiletries, a backpack full of dirty clothes, and some snorkel gear. Honestly not sure what the heck they were thinking, but we counted ourselves lucky!
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:22   #11
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

We've always kept our hatches open (and the huge bow hatch faces forward). This included a circumnavigation and visits to 35 countries. We were boarded during the night in Shilshole Marina in Seattle and Sydney Superyacht Center in Australia. (both times when I appeared naked and yelling the intruders literally leaped off the boat in fright).

We thought about bars, never got around to adding them. Occasionally we secured the hatches partially open (without enough room for a person to enter) and hoped the noise of an attempt would alert us, but we never had a problem.

Lucky, I guess.
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:33   #12
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

I did put a bar across the front bathroom hatch, and left it open at anchor when it wasn't raining. The companionway hatch was open at night when we were aboard, but I did use a motion detector in the hatch. It went off twice in 15 years, and I heard splashes as the perps bailed out. The only thing we had stolen was a toothbrush in the Solomon Islands.
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:50   #13
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdhanlon View Post
I'm wondering what most people do with their hatches at night? Do you close and lock them to prevent unauthorized entry (such as burglars) and prevent air flow through the boat or do you leave them open?

If you leave them open, have you installed some form of grating or bars to prevent entry? My concern with this would be in case of an emergency where you need to escape, such as a fire, this would prevent escape (or at the very least make it more difficult).

Am I being paranoid and this is just a non-issue? Thanks in advance for the feedback.
Yes it could be an issue.
Depends on where you are cruising, safety wise. But I built a companionway slider of SS bars (1/2" tubing) once. It just replaced the drop boards. It was great on nights when you want the air flow but security.
Would be nice to have some sort of opening scheme for the forward hatch that prevents entry. You can set some hatches partially open in a manner that would be noisy for an intruder to open fully. You can even take a small line and a clam cleat that prevents opening the hatch fully or the companionway boards or bars.
I had a 9 volt screamer with a monofilament trip line I put across the cockpit each night. That thing was loud and only $15
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Old 14-05-2021, 08:56   #14
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

It seems like it might be easy to put together a simple bar. Just cutting the size of an escape hatch in half would keep most people out.
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Old 14-05-2021, 09:52   #15
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Re: Hatches at Night, Open or Closed

Pacific Mexico we had to hunt up our locks after 14 months of open, we went back to states for a month.
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