Screen for Companionway

Screen for Hatch When I first bought my boat, I was sailing during the Fall in Georgia. My opening ports on the sides of the cabin had screens, but the companionway hatch did not. At this time of year, in Georgia, it did not matter.

I then moved to Miami and kept my boat in Key Largo for three years. Needless to say, I quickly devised a screen to fit my companionway hatch, otherwise, I would either be carried away at night by the mosquitoes or suffocate in the closed up cabin. (Move cursor over the screen on the picture to the right to remove the screen.)

I had seen some custom screens on a Morgan 33' OutIslander which I felt I could adapt the same principle to the "Widget". I wanted it to be inexpensive (cheap), easy to make, easy to store and functional. To make it easier to store, I made a folding screen. The hardest part was to have the proper shape to fit the rails for the hatch boards.

I started with 1" x 2" fir strips. I cut four strips the width of the top of the top hatch board and two strips about 5" longer than the rails which held the hatch boards.

I then laid down the hatch boards and laid the side pieces along the left and right edge of the hatch boards. I then laid a strip on the top, one on the bottom and two next to each other half way between the top and bottom. I then marked on each strip where two strips came together. This way I had the right angles to cut the ends.

After cutting the ends, I cut the side strips in half. I then used a table saw to cut (at angles) lap joints at each end. I then glued the lap joints together. I used a small router (laminate trimmer) to cut a groove around the opening to hold the screening spline. Then you just have to lay regular screen over the frame and use a spline tool to force the screening spline into the groove and trim the excess screen.

I also added a fill board at the top and connected the two screen halves and the top fill board together with four brass hinges. With the screen in place and the hatch closed, I would swing the top fill board up to cover the gap between the screen and the hatch. To open the hatch, I would swing it down.