Many boats come with gas struts to support hinged hatches in the open position while you stow or access items within. This frees up both hands and keeps the hatch lid from slamming shut on your fingers or toes. Yet some older-model boats failed to include these. You can add gas struts (aka gas springs or shocks), but doing so requires a bit of engineering for the strut to perform as intended.
For guidance, we turned to Chris Yarsevich, quality engineer for Taylor Made Products — marine market leader in gas struts — who suggests turning to a professional for heavy hatches such as engine boxes. For this project, we install a single strut on a relatively light 6-by-24-inch hatch hinged on the long side.
Quick Tip: Taylor Made offers struts constructed from 316 stainless steel, as well as models with black-oxidized tubes and nitride-coated steel shafts. Stainless versions can cost 150 percent more but offer superior durability in salt water. Match stainless struts with stainless mounting brackets and fasteners.
Skill Level: 4.5/5
Time to Complete: 2.5 Hours per hatch
Tools and Supplies
*Taylor Made Products gas strut (starting at $72.99 for stainless steel, $28.99 for nonstainless; westmarine.com)
*Taylor Made Products gas strut mounting brackets (starting at $9.99 for stainless steel; defender.com)
*Drill motor and bits
*Box/open-end wrench set