Opening Access to a Boat with a Deck Plate

The deck of a boat is more than just a covering for the hull of a ship, providing a level place on which people can stand. It also creates an enclosed structure above the hull, in which a boat’s mechanics, fuel tanks, and other storage may reside. However, to enjoy the benefit of this extra storage, it is necessary have a reliable and secure deck plate to enable easy access, and simultaneously prevent flooding and leakages.

Deckplate Design

A deckplate is most often a circular frame with detachable or removable centers, though some are rectangular for larger points of access. They create an access hole through the deck or hull of the boat, enabling operators or mechanics to get at hatches hidden within the hull or reach or view electronics run under the deck. Hatches are useful storage places for tackle, fish, food and drinks, or dry storage. A deck plate can allow for easy access to this storage. Many will have airtight seals for pressurized tanks or hatches and to prevent water from leaking in. They are easy to open and close, usually requiring no tools to open or close.

Deck Plate Variations

There are several kinds of deck plates used for different purposes. Often, a deck plate is circular and can have a screw top, pry out top, or even see-through port. When a watertight seal is necessary, a screw top deck plate is best, as it can provide the most solid connections and the easiest quick access. Pry out tops require a tool to reach under a notch and pop open the top; they should not be used in highly pressurized situations as they may unexpectedly open. See-through ports can be great for viewing electronic gauges without exposing them to the elements unnecessarily. A rectangular deckplate is best for a large or dry storage hatch, as they provide the largest mouths through which goods can pass.

Deckplate Installation

A deck plate should be carefully and meticulously mounted as improper installation can cause water to leak into a hull or a watertight storage hatch. Replacing work out deckplates can be easy as long as the exact size is chosen and the structural ring is completely and securely screwed in to place with no gaps. O-rings are available to help ensure watertight seals for any doubtful installation. Any deck plate that requires cutting into the deck or hull should always involve expert consultation.

Safety First
Since they are often water tight, pressure can sometimes build up in a hatch or in the hull. That is why it is important for deck plates to include certain safety features to avoid blow back or explosive release. First, deck plates should secure tightly and securely; there should be few to no circumstances under which they will open unexpectedly or without an operator. They should also be water tight; hatches may contain sensitive materials which water could detrimentally affect. This means having a design that prevents screw top plates from being cross threaded, or lodged incorrectly. Always be sure to keep screw threads clean to ensure water tightness.

Deck plates provide necessary access to the inner workings and storage capacity below the deck of a ship. With proper installation and attention paid to safety, your deckplate can be an essential and usable part of the boat’s structure.