You can convert your standard bilge plate to a new & improved "Quick Access Folding Bilge Plate" in about 30 minutes with only a modicum of power tool experience. For my friends who have asked about this mod, here is the play-by-play...
Images taken in the off season - its usually not that dirty down there.
Tools: Table Saw, Hand drill and bit, and screwdriver
Materials: 2 small brass hinges or piano hinge, or similar.
On the table saw, cut the board in half just aft of the middle mounting screws.Measure the width of your blade (kerf) and the width of the barrel of the hinge. Take as many passes with the blade as needed to make the kerf match the barrel of the hinge.
Take your board(s) and Hinges and screwdriver and drill aboard the boat and install the bilge plate halves as they were intended to go. (4 stainless Steel screws).
Place the hinges in place with the barrels down in the cut you just made.
Mark the holes and drill one hole, and set one screw for each half of each hinge (4 screws). Remove the lone screw holding down the aft end of the bilge plate.
Do a test open-close. If you are satisfied that everything will fit fine and is lined up well, set the remaining screws in the hinges. Throw away the screw for the aft end of the plate.
Now you might be wondering why anyone would do something so revolutionary to their boat. There are a couple reasons. The biggest being that this allows you to check the bilge for water in a fraction of the time it would take to remove 4 screws and lift a plate to look.
Secondly, the bilge is perhaps the most temperature-stable location on the boat. If you wanted to store anything in a cool spot with constant temperature this is likely the best spot for it. I leave it to you to imagine what would be stored there that needs those conditions.