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Marine Cam Latches - What Are They?

Marine cam latches can be as crucial to a boat as its captain. These locking mechanisms secure access to entry points and panels, yet many marine boat owners may not be aware of what they are, or even what they should be looking for when trying to buy them.

Whether you’re in need of a ranger boat stainless steel T handle cam latch, or even a marine stainless steel adjustable draw latch from leading industrial manufacturers or suppliers, you’re in the right place.

Read on to learn more about marine cam latches and their uses for the average boat owner. After some research, comparisons, and learning what the best cam latches look like, you can then purchase the marine hardware you need with much more confidence.

In this article we will take a closer look at:

1. What is a Marine cam latch?
2. Marine & Boat Cam Latch Applications
3. How to Choose a Marine Cam Latch
     > Material & Finish
     > Body Style
     > Number of Latching Points

7. Summary

What Is a Marine Cam Latch?

Before purchasing a new marine cam latch for your pontoon boat, or any boat in all industries like fishing and sailing, you first have to understand what it is. Otherwise, you may end up flipping through a catalog, unaware of whether you should purchase a surface mount cam latch, a marine draw latch, or a flush mount cam latch.

Marine cam lock latches are marine-grade locking mechanisms that are also referred to in many industries as boat cam latches. They are designed for slam, compression, or lift and turn and are made to suit doors, gates, cupboards, and more.

Depending on your needs, they suit various configurations and applications and feature durable materials such as stainless steel, chrome, polyamide plastic, and zinc alloy. Whether you’re after the stainless-steel draw latches proline boats use or even a quick release surface cam latch for convenient use, you will undoubtedly find what you’re looking for.

Apart from horse trailers, this type of latch also works well with a motorhome, travel trailer, or camper. It’s also one of many must-have trailer accessories that can be attached to a tailgate or ramp door. So long as it’s installed properly, these horse trailer parts and RV locks can withstand rough travels.

Marine and Boat Cam Latch Applications

Now that you know what marine cam lock latches are and the types you can buy, such as a flush cam latch for boats and a 3-inch cam latch T handle, you can learn more about their applications. Surprisingly, the type of cabinet hardware,boat latches, or marine draw latches you buy can depend on what you intend on using it for.

Generally, most marine cam latches are used to keep trunk lids, bulkhead doors, lockers, and similar elements on boats closed. Their style might change depending on whether you’re using them on cabin doors, sliding and hinged locker doors, deck hatches, chain lockers, access panels, and more.

For example, you might use a stainless-steel slam latch to keep a door or drawer closed, while a twisting cam handle boat window latch would be useful for most boat windows. You might also need something brand-specific, like a Sea Dog plastic cam latch, Sea Fox slam latches, or a Perko compression latch to hold doors and panels shut to eliminate vibrations and noise.

If you need something to be firmly closed for safety, convenience, or functionality, there is a marine cam latch of various materials, finishes, body styles, and latching points to suit your preferred application.

How to Choose a Marine Cam Latch

Even when you know the specific type of boat latch cam you require, like a twisting cam handle boat hatch latch, brass marine compression latches, and boat draw latch hardware, that doesn’t mean you can always immediately pick up the right marine-grade cam latches and have them suit your unique needs.

There are many factors to consider in the purchasing process, such as material and finish, body style, and the number of latching points. We’ll cover these in some detail below.

Material and Finish

Whether you buy a locking or non-locking marine flush cam latch, a cam latch for boats designed to swivel, or a twisting cam handle boat latch for total convenience, don’t underestimate the importance of its material and finish.

The materials of any slam latch, hatch latch, and turn latch contribute to its durability and strength, which means some may last longer than others. Remember, when you’re in a marine environment with saltwater, material degradation and corrosion can happen much faster than on land. Saltwater corrodes metal at least five times faster than freshwater, and up to 10 times more with increased humidity.

For longevity, the most popular material types include stainless steel, polyamide plastic, and die-cast zinc. If you’re unsure whether you should opt for a stainless-steel boat latch cam, a bronze marine cam latch, or one made of polyamide plastic, contact our expert team for advice.

Body Style

Alongside the materials, the body style of boat latches might also be worth your consideration when you start shopping for a boat cam latch, door latch, compression latch, or something else. Decide whether you need a standard insert driver type for your flush mount slam latch 2-hole or if a cylinder lock or wing handle type is more suitable.

If you need assistance with your decision, Reid Supply can point you in the direction of the best surface mount cam latch for boats and a wide range of suitable accessories like back plates and barrel bolts.

Number of Latching Points

Before purchasing a new boat hatch or boat latch, consider how many latching points you have for your chosen cabinet, door, or similar. While many doors and floor panel latches have a single latching point, many have more than one.

Fortunately, you can buy fasteners and marine cam latches to suit applications with more than one latching point, such as a three-point cam latch for boats that latch at the lock point and the top and bottom of the cabinet.


For noise control, protection from vibration and safety, any boat owner may be on the hunt for a marine cam latch, door holders, catch latches, and more, that suits their boat and needs the best.

However, since there are many different options and new products being added all the time, it’s not always easy to do the shopping and checkout process on your own.

Reid Supply stocks a wide range of marine cam latches to suit almost every application, so contact us to find out how we can help.