It is vital that every home has adequate fire escapes. On a Houseboat this means at least one at each end.
Many Cruising boats have a forward hatch, but it might need to be made wider. Another aspect of hatches is that many old wooden hatches leak.
So here is what I did when I had to replace two original wooden Hatches on my steel decked vessel Kiwi III. They were leaking. not easily locked and not very easy to open from inside.
First I removed the hatches and the wood frames.
Then measured the aperture cut in the steel deck.
Then I looked at the new hatches available for modern yachts. See examples here .
Choose the best fit that complies with these standard requirements :- Escape routes and exits to be not more than 5 m distance. Not passing over cookers and if separated by a solid partition not leading past a
cooker or engine space. Minimum clear opening of 450 mm diameter or 380 mm smallest dimension if
Taken from BS EN ISO 9094 Small Craft – Fire Protection.
cut your deck hole larger if needed (wood, GRP or steel) drill the holes, apply mastic and bolt the hatch in place.
Now you have an elegant strong waterproof hatch that provides extra daylight through the toughened glass and has effective modern locks, much more practical for summertime ventilation – all you have to do now is fix a stable ladder if none exists.
Shoud last a lifetime and look great !