• Help With Hatches

    Shop the Skipper's hatch sale! Get 10% off hatches, doors, and portlights through April 30. 

    You're ready for boat season! Your fiberglass is shiny, your decals are brilliant, your chrome is so bright that it shines like the sun itself. How about those hatches? Is the Plexiglas® hatch lens cracked or clouded? Are the frames discolored? Maybe it's time to swap them out for something new.

    Hatches take a beating. Their job is to keep out the elements, so that's what they're exposed to: sun, wind, weather, and waves. Plus, being set into the deck as they are, people sometimes walk on them - and in the case of plexi ventilation or escape hatches, that's not great for their longevity.

    Once you've found the right hatch, installation is easy. As with any project, having the right materials and tools helps a lot.

    You'll need:

    • your new hatch
    • sealant/caulk
    • screwdriver (manual or power)
    • putty knife or flathead screwdriver
    • tape
    • plastic sheet or garbage bag

    1. Working from inside the cabin, tape some plastic over the hatch opening to keep crud from falling into the cabin.

    2. Use your screwdriver to unscrew the hatch from the deck, then lift it out. Use a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to pry the hatch loose, if necessary.

    3. Scrape away old sealant with the putty knife. Work carefully to avoid gouging the deck.

    4. Tidy up the hatch opening: brush away dust and wipe with a damp, soft cloth. Wipe dry or allow to dry naturally.

    5. Install the new hatch. Dry fit the hatch first, to be sure it's going to fit correctly. Then follow the manufacturer's directions, if you have them. If you are replacing the old hatch with the exact same model, you can simply apply your sealant, fit the hatch into the cutout, put the screws in (don't over-tighten), wipe up any squished-out sealant, and let the caulk dry.

    If you are installing a hatch with a different mounting hole pattern, fill the old screw holes with epoxy and let it cure before installing the new hatch.

  • Trust, But Verify, Part 3: Speedometers

    When boaters talk speedos, they don't mean the cheeky swimwear (well, not usually). The speedometer enjoys pride of place on a boat's dashboard, and when it goes bad, it's pretty obvious. Finding and fixing the problem can take a little detective work, but it's not difficult.

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  • Trust, But Verify, Part 2: Basic Gauge Troubleshooting

    Nobody enjoys bad news, especially not from one of the boat's gauges. If you're getting a reading that doesn't seem right (or no reading at all), it's not difficult to figure out the problem.

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  • Trust, But Verify, Part 1: Fuel Gauges

    With certain parts exposed to the elements, your boat's gauges and their sensors can take a beating. If you suspect that your gauge is not giving you an accurate reading, we have some hints for how to figure out the problem and how to fix it.

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  • Five Easy Fixes for DIYers

    What's more satisfying than a good day spent on the boat? Maybe knowing that you've worked on it yourself! DIY work doesn't have to mean slapdash or chintzy. With quality parts, the right tools, and some spare time, you can make improvements you can be proud of. Here are five DIY projects to make your boat better.

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  • Prop Problems

    Save 10% on all boat propellers through July 22, 2018!

    Before every outing, inspect your propeller(s). You can file out small nicks and burrs yourself, and bent edges can be fixed by carefully straightening them with a pair of crescent wrenches. Serious mangling needs professional attention from your local prop shop.

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  • Bimini Bonanza!

    We've all been surprised by a summer shower when we're out on the boat. Having a bimini top to pop up can make all the difference when the rain moves in. A good bimini also shields sensitive skin from the sun's strong rays, and provides cool shade in which to relax.

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  • 8 Ways to Not Ruin Your Boat

    What a beautiful October! The sun has been shining warm and bright here on the shore of Lake Michigan, but we know colder days lie not far ahead. Our thoughts turn to protecting our beautiful, beloved boats, tucking them in for their winter nap after another fun-filled summer. Behind all the warm-and-fuzzy metaphors, however, is some hard work: winterization.

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  • Scrub and Stitch: Boat Cover Cleaning and Repair

    Boat covers and car roofs have a few things in common. They come in a range of colors; they offer protection from the elements; and they seem to be target numero uno for bird poop.

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  • Like Your Life Depends On It: PFD Maintenance

    Like anything people wear, life jackets can get dirty and even wear out. While personal flotation devices (PFDs) are easy to clean and maintain, there might be a few details you haven't thought about before. Read on for how to clean, dry, and store this important boat equipment, and what to do when mildew strikes.

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