Thursday, December 19, 2013

How to Make Hatch Screens

In the Caribbean it will be very hot so we'll want to have our hatches open to have a breeze, but there will also be lots of bugs. What's the solution for this? Hatch screens!

Just a warning, if you do not have a decent sewing machine (like me) this will not be fun. I have a tiny travel sized sewing machine that only seems to do large and loose stitches, so I then had to reinforce them and hand sew the whole thing, which took a very very long time. Also, if your boyfriend isn't as picky, I suggest going the easy route of just have a square piece of screen as big as your hatch and attaching it on one side of it and then the other side of the Velcro on the inside of the boat with velcro, this is what I'm finding most people do. But John did not want to have Velcro glued to the ceiling of the boat so I made these to go overtop the outside of the hatch while it's open. 

I bought some noseeum (tiny bugs) mesh (from amazon) and some chain (you need galvanized or stainless steel so it won't rust) to weigh it down. Our hatch measures 22" x 22 ", so this model is to fit that size of a hatch, but you can adjust the measurements if yours is a bit bigger or smaller.

I cut two pieces of the mesh. 1 that is for three sides which measured 75" wide in total (25" for each side) and 28" long. The second piece measured 25" wide and 36" long and is for the fourth side (the side closest to the bow of the boat) and goes to the top of the open hatch.

After cutting your two pieces out you sew the top of piece number 2 to the top middle of piece number 1 (the bigger piece). Then you sew one side of piece number 2 to one side of piece number 1, and then the other side of piece number 2 to the other side of piece number 1-it sounds complicated because I'm not very good at explaining it. Also, you want to sew the seems on the inside so they don't show on the outside.
Me and my crappy sewing machine
A mini model I tried out first

Then you want to sew a 1-2" sized casing to thread your chain through all around, leaving an opening. Mine was 2" high because I had big chain, but you don't need to use chain as big as I did in order to weigh it down enough.

After you've threaded your chain all through the casing, I tied the chain together with a zip tie and then hand-sewed the opening shut.

Some people seem to use double sided tape to tape the pieces together and then sew it, but I tried this and since the fabric is mesh it would stick to me through the fabric, and also my sewing machine needle got stuck in it, so I took it off.

Then you open your hatch, and put it overtop, and voila-a breeze without the bugs!
Finished product


  1. good job on the hatch screens!

  2. Will come handy as you head south. Another 10cm of snow today in -10c in Montreal. Hatches shut thank you!

    1. Only -10? That's nothing-you must be boiling! Just be thankful you're not in Winterpeg!