Engine hatches are inherently heavy and awkward to handle while the boat is on the trailer let alone on rough water. So any knowledgeable boater will tell you that if you don’t have one, installing a hatch actuator will be the smartest, easiest, and one of best bank-for-your-buck upgrades you can make to your boat.

There are two factors involved when picking out an actuator. What size do you need to accommodate the weight of your engine hatch? And what type of actuator is best suited for your needs.

Hardin Marine is where we found several high quality actuators which can be found here. With various options you need to first determine what kind of actuator you need. There are electric, mechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic actuators, all with their different advantages and disadvantages.

Electric actuators use an electric motor that can be either internally or externally connected to the unit. These are the most popular because they are easy to install and don’t require oil or gas, making them cleaner than other options. However, they tend to be less powerful than the other options so take that into account before choosing.

Mechanical actuators operate similar to electric actuators except that they use gears, screws, and chains, etc, resulting in more power and higher torque.

Pneumatic actuators operate using pressurized gas or oil. While this design allows for extremely quick raising, lowering, and stopping power, keep in mind that they are less efficient, require more space, and tend to be noisier and have more leaks. But if you’re looking for high speed applications then this would be your first choice.

Lastly, you have the option for an hydraulic actuator. This type provides high force and high output with a higher degree of precision. However they are generally known to be more prone to slower operation speeds, leaks, and the need for ancillary equipment.

After you’ve chosen what type of actuator you need, next comes the sizing. Both the weight of your hatch and the extent to which it needs to open determine what size actuator that you need. By weighing the hatch and also measuring the length to which it will open, the manufacturer or distributor such as Hardin Marine can select the right actuator for your application and get you on your way!

So if you’re in the market, take the time to assess your needs and choose the right actuator for you! And let the great team and Hardin Marine help you through the process today!

Click here to see all available actuators and corresponding parts.