How to Build a Motorized Automated Boat Hatch

Today, actuators are used to great effect in almost every area imaginable. They’re present in cars, mobile phones, and all other sorts of machinery that make our lives easier. This time, we would like to talk about one particular actuator use case – motorizing the boat.

How Actuators Can Be Used on a Boat

If you make a windshield or a door on a boat collapsible, you’ll be able to greatly increase its versatility. This applies to both interior and exterior elements, with the former adding more comfort and the latter enhancing overall usability.
As always, actuators can perform a variety of tasks, from smoothly opening heavy doors to just giving the boat a high-tech look with various remote control functions.

4 Reasons to Add Actuator Automation to Your Boat

As with any other areas where they’re used, actuators can enhance existing mechanisms in many ways, as well as add some new functions. Let’s take a look at these advantages in more detail:


Unsurprisingly, by making some of your boat parts automated, you’ll make your sailing time a much more enjoyable experience. Think about never needing to open that heavy hatch again, or doors that can open and close by themselves. With such upgrades, your boat trip will feel like a vacation rather than switching one kind of a job for another.


Imagine what your boat will look like with automated ladders, doors and even TV sliding out of the wall, all of this managed by a single remote control device. With modern actuators this isn’t just possible, it’s also affordable.


In case of emergency, automated parts of your boat can save your life. Sturdy, waterproof and fail-safe, actuators will add a lot of reliability to different parts of the boat.


Some parts of the boat like the hatch can be really, really heavy, sometimes requiring the combined strengths of several men to be opened quickly. Actuator usage eliminates this issue, as you can smoothly open that heavy hatch with a single click on your remote control.

What Kind of Actuator Should I Install?

All of today’s actuator types can be used to automate your boat.

  • These actuators can convert rotary motion into linear motion by using gears, rails, and other similar parts. They’re the toughest actuator type, so if reliability is what you’re looking for above all else, mechanical actuators are probably what you need.
  • They’re best used if you need to apply a great deal of force. They’re also one of the most precise actuator types, so use them if you need a greater degree of control. However, hydraulic actuators are running on oil, so keep this in mind (you might need to do some additional work to prevent leaks).
  • These are pretty similar to the hydraulic actuators, except they provide less motion force and don’t use oil or liquid – instead, they rely on gas. Their advantage is the high start/stop speed.
  • The most innovative actuator type, electrical actuators do not use any kind of fuel or gas at all, instead utilizing electricity. This also makes them the most environment-friendly actuators to the date.

Upgrading the Hatch

Once you’ve chosen what kind of actuator you want to have, adding it to the boat hatch is done in just a few steps:

  • Step 1. Come up with an idea. First of all, you need to decide how the automation will work and what kind of actuator you’re going to use.
  • Step 2. Get the necessary tools. You’ll need a good wench, as well as measurement tools to make the installation precise. Additional instruments may be required for some of the more complex projects, but we’re assuming you have a relatively simple one in mind.
  • Step 3. Prepare the hatch. Measure the size of the actuator and mark the points where it’s going to be located.
  • Step 4. Install the actuator. Be sure to double-check the angle and measurement before doing so!
  • Step 5. Run the test. Better be safe than sorry, right? With most actuators, you can run a test with a simple 9-volt battery.
  • Step 6. Connect the actuator to the boat’s power source. Now, you’ll need to solder the wiring of the actuator to the power source of your boat. Most actuators are using 12-volt batteries, but you’d always better check the specifics of the one you’re using.
  • Step 7. Enjoy your new boat automation!

What Actuator to Use?

There is a huge range of reliable actuators to choose from available on our website.

Here are a few examples:

PA-14 Mini Linear Actuator

This mechanism might be tiny, but this makes it perfectly suitable for interior automation like sliding windows. In the case of motorizing a boat hatch, PA-14 Mini has an advantage of small size with no loss to durability and reliability.

PA-04 Linear Actuator

The “big brother” of the PA-14 Mini, this actuator is bigger and considered more multipurpose. With higher strength, it’s a true godsend for those bigger and clumsy hatches.
Both of those actuators are available with different customization options and come with brackets required to install them.


While choosing and installing the right actuator for your boat require some research and handwork, it’s rewarding in the end. After all, that’s what actuators are made for – to make our lives easier.

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