fourknots, we seem to be between a ladder that puts between 24" and 28" in the water.
However, we are leaning toward 24" in the water. This makes a nice 3-segment ladder that folds to about 1" above the lifeline. Our current transom ladder (blocked by davits when the dingy is up) puts 21" in the water and we have successfully swum from it, though not with dive gear.
The next size up, putting 28" in the water, puts 4" above the lifelines when folded and seems a bit too much to us.
What do you think?