How to Make a Hatch Cover

Hatch - Code Flags

Harris Hickman was kind enough to share his experiences in making a hatch cover for his 1977 C-26 "Carpe Diem". While the writeup and photos demonstrate the process for a C-26, owners of the other Chrysler cruising boats (C-20 & C-22) can use this process as well to protect the entryway hatch and instruments.

Make a cover for the rear hatch for about $12.50.

Stop off at your local sail makers shop and purchase some "scrap" Sunbrella material (I got mine for $6). Obtain enough material to cover the rear hatch area with some overlap. You can sew several pieces together or purchase just one piece. About 50" x 40" should do. They will want to sell you a running yard but scraps should do. The actual hatch size is 36" x 29" with a "V" taper. I wanted to cover my teak handles on both sides of the hatch along with the compass and my fish finder/depth meter mount below.

Don't forget to pick up some thread with the UV protection. Don't buy a big spool, just get some free samples. You will need some type of side trimming and have some left over strapping. West Marine sells the stuff.

Next you need some snaps for the cover (as many as you want) and some screw-in-snap-bases for the area around the hatch (short screws). Be sure to get a "tool" for pressing the snap to the material. A tool usually comes with the snaps if you get them as a set.

About that sewing machine...I bought one for $10 at a Christian second-hand store. Had it tuned up for $40 so it would sew the thickest sumbrella material possible. It is a household machine but does a great job. I even touched up some of my sail with it. I use a leather needle, and yes, I do go through several.

Take a look at the four pictures below and you can see that it is very easy to make a cover to keep the sun and direct rain away. What about that price for a hatch cover! In the Florida sun we really need to cover any wood.

Happy Sewing!!!

Here are the photos:

What I wanted to cover.

My pattern to cut out.

Finished cover.

Looking good in the sun!!

Many thanks to Harris Hickman for taking the time to write this "how to" tutorial and take these photos! Harris sails "Carpe Diem" on the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida. If you would like to ask him any questions about this process, send an e-mail message to

This page last updated on Saturday, October 16, 1999.