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Marine access solutions

Marine access solutions
Southco has enhanced its range of bow-to-stern access solutions to meet the increased demands and growth of the boat building industry.

According to Lucintel research, the global boat market is expected to grow to $27.8 billion by 2015 with a CAGR of 8.9%. This research also reports that much of this growth will come from the Europe and Asia Pacific regions, as sales will be bolstered by continued economic growth in these regions. In terms of specific boat building industry trends, the research states there is an ongoing shift in product mix toward larger and expensive boats.

Leading global integrator and designer of marine access solutions, Southco, is ideally placed to respond to increased demand within the market for bow-to-stern latching and positioning solutions having enhanced its range of innovative interior hardware products designed to add style, performance and security to any cabin interior.

Stewart Beck of Southco Marine says: "We are acutely aware that boat designers, particularly those at the luxury end of the market, are looking for more than technically innovative solutions. This is why we work closely with customers during the design cycle to understand their unique set of requirements. As a result, we provide consultation and solutions - through a combination of industry experience, engineering excellence and customer service - which culminate in a style that goes beyond performance by catching the eye and detail that complements the interior design and creates differentiation."

In essence, Southco has leveraged the hidden or concealed latching solutions successfully developed for the global off-highway and automotive industries and harnessed its expertise to revolutionise marine access. 

Deck latching and cabin access
By taking the traditional stainless steel standard style latch to open a deck hatch and marinising it with the proven technology of its stainless steel R4 push-to-close rotary latch which provides vandal resistance, long term durability and reliability for applications within the off-highway and automotive industries, Southco has developed a range of stainless steel and corrosion resistant latches which offer different aesthetics, styling and functionality. Allowing direct, remote or multi-point actuation, these latches have been designed and manufactured to stand up to even the most demanding challenges of the marine environment. 

Stewart Beck explains: "With the R4 marine range, we can now provide boat builders with a totally different and more effective deck latching solution whilst giving them back control of the styling of their boats. Because our hardware is completely hidden away underneath the panel, the days of having to do awkward cut-outs or inlaying of teak - or even being saddled with the cost and effort of having to break up the edges of the trim in order to fit a latch around a variety of different panel fixes and brackets - are now gone. 

The Southco latch mechanism has been designed to be hidden underneath the panel, enabling flush and stylish lines - whether straight or curved. The mechanism incorporates a range of actuators, cables and configurations to enable boat owners to trigger the latch remotely from wherever they choose. For emergency opening, they can be triggered manually from within the compartment where required."

Typical application zones include engine access covers, under deck compartments, secure storage hatches and water tight panels.
Southco has further enhanced its range of storage access solutions with the launch of the E4 Catcher push-to-close, push-to-open latch. Opened or closed with just a touch of a finger on the front of the panel, the Catcher - which is available in plastic or stainless steel - is ideal for non-deck high strength exterior marine applications where corrosion resistance and durability is required.

Having provided boat builders with state-of-the-art entry mechanical latching solutions on the outside and deck area of boats which can be hidden away, the next step for Southco Marine is the development of electronically operated versions of these same mechanical latches. A range of electronic options, which are also hidden away, are now under development and are being offered with a choice of input signal options such as push button, key fob and membrane keypads. Operational benefits include the capability for users to build in such things as time delays. 

Interior access solutions
According to Stewart Beck, boat builders and owners are voicing a preference to incorporate the flush looking and hidden away theme of Southco's cabin and cockpit entry latching solutions to the inside of their boats.

"This is aptly demonstrated in our recently launched MP Polar push-to-close latch", says Stewart. "This slim-profile magnetically actuated latch provides smooth, secure deadbolt operation that prevents accidental opening of sliding drawers, cabinets or cupboard doors due to high seas in marine applications. At Southco, we have also developed an electronic addition to this latch incorporating the push-button mechanism with a mini electronic keeper. As the drawer or cupboard door closes, the magnet pulls the striker out and the electronic keeper locks the two parts together. When the boat is released and unlocked electronically, the electronic keeper is fired and unlocked from the back allowing the Polar latch to function normally. 

"By offering the capability for boat owners to lock compartments such as drawers and cupboards when they lock their boats, they have the additional security of being able to lock away their personal possessions as and when required." With its flush installation and choice of attractive aesthetic finishes, the Polar latch complements upscale interior cabin installations.
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