Please select your home edition
Edition
Gul 2019 CODEZERO EVO Leaderboard

Ten Tips for choosing the right boarding ladder

by Sail-World Cruising on 15 Aug 2012
Boarding Ladders - photo by West Marine SW
Every boat of a certain size needs a boarding ladder. But choosing the right boarding ladder for your boat could make a critical difference to your life on the water some time in the future.

Here are ten tips to help you make the right decisions:



1. Firstly it's only the very strong-armed who can pull themselves up the side of a boat of any size without some assistance, either from above, or from a boarding ladder. So when choosing a boarding ladder it's an excellent idea to work out a way of releasing it from in the water. While it may be useless in a stormy sea, it can nevertheless be useful in calm or enclosed waters, especially if you are on your own. One good method of doing this is to have the boarding ladder set into a swim board, but this involves stern mounting, which raises another issue.

2. Boat ladders must extend below the level of the water to be effective. Ladders with at least 2-3 rungs below the surface are the best, but this means they must either fold or be removed when underway.

3. Ladders should be mounted so that the steps extend far enough into the water to make climbing aboard as easy as possible and at a spot that's convenient for boarding. For example, stern ladders are quite common on sailboats, but this is frequently where the motion of the boat is the greatest. On sailboats with a fixed pushpit, a better place may be on the side, near the cockpit, where the lifeline gate is located.

4. Comfort and security is important, particularly for those less athletic. Broad, nonskid treads are better than 1' stainless tubing, which can be remarkably painful under bare feet for some people.

5. Finger and toe security is also important, so the best ladders are those that stand off away from the side of the hull, because that provides clearance for small digits.

6. Side rails that extend above deck level provide a handy place to grab.

7. Construction is another decision. You'll probably have to decide between stainless-steel, aluminum or plastic. Aluminum is lighter and less expensive, while stainless-steel looks better and is stronger. Plastic treads are fine and are quite comfortable.

8. Whether you decide on a removable or fixed ladder depends greatly on the type of sailing boat:
Swim step ladders hang down from swim steps and usually fold up on top of the step. Since the swim step is so much lower than the side of the boat, these ladders generally need only 1-3 steps.
Transom ladders hinge up and down and generally match the appearance of the pushpit.
Removable ladders fit in brackets bolted to the hull or deck. The brackets have keyhole slots that hold the ladder securely, yet allow it to be removed quickly for storage.
Many ladders fold in half so they can be left in place without dragging in the water. They can be used while folded when boarding from a dinghy and extended when swimming. They are also easier to stow.

9. Rope ladders are flexible, collapsible and lightweight, but they're not ideal as a primary ladder because their flexibility makes them difficult to climb. Try in calm water before you rely on them as your sole reboarding method.

10. Finally, how to choose the right sized ladder:
First measure the height of the freeboard to the water, you then should plan to have 2 rungs / steps beyond this distance. Depending on where it is placed, this could be a long ladder and so most are designed to fold or be easily storable.

There is another issue to consider - can you get back into your dinghy unaided? If you can't then maybe you need to consider a some kind of ladder for that too!

Nanni Diesel Australia 2020 - FOOTERJeanneau AUS 2019 OCT SO410 FOOTERNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Footer

Related Articles

52 Super Series Technical Partners
A thrilling six-event year of competition ahead For what promises to be a thrilling six-event year of competition that will take the circuit to South Africa for the first time, the 52 Super Series is again welcoming the support of key long time Technical Partners.
Posted today at 7:59 pm
Maserati and Giovanni Soldini are in Antigua
Multi 70 racing planned in the RORC Caribbean 600 Giovanni Soldini and Maserati Multi 70 arrived in Antigua, in the Caribbean, ready for the 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, that will start on February 24th at 11.30 local time (15.30 UTC, 16.30 Italian time), from Fort Charlotte.
Posted today at 7:13 pm
SailGP's plan to reach zero carbon by 2025
Bold target puts the global league at the forefront of the industry SailGP will focus on three core pillars - process, people and tech - going beyond best practices, inspiring communities, and driving disruptive innovations both within the sport and across the industry.
Posted today at 6:40 pm
Youth Match Cup Day 2: French crew unbeaten
Aurélien Pierroz (FRA) put on a perfect performance on Day 2 and leads overall Aurélien Pierroz put on a magnifique performance on day two of the 2020 Harken Youth International Match Racing Cup and remains the only unbeaten skipper out of the fourteen competing. Pierroz notched up five more wins to take his tally to 11.
Posted today at 12:38 pm
Annual Surf to City Yacht Race from Southport
There are two fleets for this race, an inshore and an offshore There are two fleets for this race, an inshore fleet going inside Stradbroke Island, and an offshore fleet sailing a 100.0nm course up the seaward side of Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island, around Cape Moreton and back into Moreton Bay.
Posted today at 11:35 am
J/122 Joss continues winning in Western Australia
There doesn't seem to be a week go by that JOSS isn't on the podium The Perth-based J/122 JOSS and owner/skipper Ian Clyne continued their winning ways in Western Australia and is proving to be one of the hottest boats on the Western Seaboard.
Posted today at 11:29 am
ILCA Laser Radial Women's Championship preview
Star-studded field with Olympic ambitions on show All three medallists from the Rio Olympics will take to the water off Sandringham Yacht Club to compete in the ILCA Laser Radial Women's Championship which starts on Sunday.
Posted today at 4:02 am
Teakle Classic Adelaide to Port Lincoln preview
A crack at redemption for Aikin Hames Sharley Adelaide-based race yacht Aikin Hames Sharley will have a crack at redemption today when it competes in the Teakle Classic Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Race - its first event since being ruled out of the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Posted today at 2:11 am
$6.8m decision made in favour of Laser designer
A long running Court battle has been decided by a Jury with a multi-million damages award. A District Court of Connecticut Jury has handed down a Verdict in favour of Bruce Kirby Inc, the designer of the ILCA Laser singlehander. A damages award in excess of $6.8million has been awarded.
Posted today at 1:23 am
72nd Bunbury and Return Ocean Race concludes
A great race for the smaller teams from Fremantle Race spectators and beachgoers enjoying Valentines Day in North Fremantle were treated to a display of offshore yachts racing close to the shore for the start of the 72nd Bunbury and Return Ocean Race.
Posted on 20 Feb