Hatch Cover Maintenance Procedures


In our previous article, we discussed various hatch cover tests and as promised, in this article we will take a look at the steps and procedures that needs to be followed for an efficient hatch cover maintenance.

Before we start with the procedures and steps for hatch cover maintenance, first let us have a look at the basic features which forms the backbone of hatch cover maintenance:


  1. Strength: It is normally lost because of corrosion.

  2. Operating Procedures: It is often neglected and becomes a major cause of concern at a later stage.

  3. Watertight System: It becomes a cause of concern when the leakage occurs.

  4. Safety Features: They are a cause of concern because they are normally neglected.

Now, as we have discussed what could lead to the damage of hatch covers or what can be a cause of concern, let us have a look at the procedures for efficient maintenance of hatch covers.


Procedures For Efficient Hatch Cover Maintenance


  • Study the manufacturer’s instructions and gain full understanding of the operating and maintenance procedures.

  • Ensure that all hatch drain holes are clean.

  • Clean coamings and cross joints very thoroughly before closing hatches.

  • Do not move hatch panels if spilled cargo is piled on them.

  • Always close hatch panels in correct sequence.

  • Always position the panels correctly before securing them.

  • Fasten cleats in the correct sequence.

  • Officer should always inspect secured hatches before proceeding to sea.

  • Hold stevedores responsible for hatch damage and have damage repaired.

  • Carefully supervise hatch opening and closing when crew members are inexperienced, tired or working in difficult conditions.

  • Avoid moving hatch covers when the ship is pitching or rolling.

  • Whenever possible, avoid opening hatch covers at sea.

  • Inspect hatches regularly for items which are worn, slack or corroded and renew, repair  or adjust them as necessary.

  • Grease hatch fittings regularly.

  • Ensure that all moving parts can be greased, fit nipples if needed.

  • Protect hydraulic pistons before painting hatch coamings.

  • Give high priority to scaling and painting of cross joint channels.

  • Carry sufficient spares to permit emergency renewal of any fitting.

  • Carry a good supply of spares for routine renewals.

  • Ensure that equipment required for emergency opening and closing of hatch covers is kept labelled and is readily available.

These are the procedures for maintaining hatch covers in efficient condition. The list is not exhaustive. Do you have more points to add? Feel free to leave a comment. We will be glad to hear your views. Hope this article will be helpful.


  1. It’s great that you’ve mentioned how one should first look at the operating and maintenance procedures set by the manufacturer for their watertight hatch. I believe that by doing so, one will be able to know how to correctly maintain and use the hatch based on how the manufacturer made the equipment. Thanks for this information and the emphasis on how it’s important to be mindful of the manufacturer’s instructions for any machine or equipment.


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