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Choosing The Right Boat Hinges and Latches For Your Boat

If you're like most new boat owners, you're looking forward to spending many happy hours on the water, and naturally, you plan on taking the best possible care of your vessel — and this means meticulous attention to functionality as well as looks. Well-cared-for vessels don't just show it on the surface. Even small components without high visibility, such as marine hardware like hinges and latches, are chosen with both appearance and performance in mind. If it's time to replace your boat hinges and latches, you may be wondering how to make the best possible selection. Here's what you need to know about choosing marine hinges and latches:

Why Quality Marine Hardware is Important

Hinges are used in a variety of ways on the average boat. For instance, they're used on storage hatches, doors, galley cupboards, bait wells, and anything else that opens and closes on the vessel. Top-quality hinges are essential on boats because doors and lids that suddenly slam shut unexpectedly create inconveniences and pose potential safety hazards, especially when the vessel is in motion on the water. Latches are used to secure doors, gates, and cupboards and create risks when not working properly.

Hinges, latches, and other hardware used in a marine environment should be durable, sturdy, and hold up well to environments with lots of moisture. Plus, if you'll be using your boat in the ocean or a saltwater lake, the best boat hinges and latches should also be resistant to corrosion. Corrosion occurs during interactions with salt and certain metals. It can weaken boat hardware to the extent that it can actually break off if the vessel isn't retrofitted in time – not to mention it can present an unsightly appearance as rust takes over. Fortunately, not all marine hardware is the same, and some materials don’t succumb to the ravages of rust as easily as the others.

Why Stainless Steel Hinges Are the Best

The best type of hinges for your boat are made from stainless steel. Even if you live in a part of the country that doesn't have a great deal of atmospheric humidity, your boat hardware is still at risk of developing corrosion and other types of damage simply because it's exposed to water on a regular basis. Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant because it has a thin layer of chromium oxide on its surface that acts as a natural barrier to rust development. As an added benefit, stainless-steel fixtures and components are easy to clean and provide an appealing aesthetic element. Keep in mind that even if you live near the coast but only plan on using your vessel in nearby freshwater lakes and rivers, you will still be dealing with the effects of large amounts of salt in the air. Latches made of stainless steel provide the same benefits as hinges made with this material.

The Benefits of Friction Hinges

Friction hinges help ensure that hatches, doors, and lids won't suddenly snap shut. Also known as torque hinges, friction hinges keep doors, covers, and lids open at the desired angle through friction. This lets you keep your bait box, for instance, halfway open so that you can easily access bait when you need it without having to risk injury to your hands and fingers as the result of the lid suddenly closing.

Electropolished Stainless-Steel Hinges

At Gemlux, our stainless-steel hinges come with an extra layer of protection against the elements thanks to a process known as electropolishing. An ultra-smooth surface is produced with a mirror-like finish that provides even more corrosion resistance. We have more than 5,000 types of hinges to meet any vessel's needs, including a wide array of friction hinges. Other options include top-mount hinges, marine flush hinges, 108-degree hinges, swaged mount hinges, and several types of miscellaneous hinges manufactured with electropolishing technology.

Custom Made Latches

We also offer custom boat latches specially made to fit the cutout holes rather than the faces of the latches themselves, which offers a much more precise fit. Our latches are also manufactured from stainless steel, engineered to outperform other latches, and provide optimal durability, functionality, and appearance. We offer compression, slam, and lift-and-turn latches in various sizes, shapes, and configurations, as well as locking hatches to provide you with a little extra security on your charters.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about how we can help your charter business succeed. With over 60 years of experience providing commercial and private vessels with the best available marine hardware, we bring a strong commitment to our customers and stand behind every product we sell.