what's best type ladder for getting back aboard? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-02-2008 Thread Starter
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what's best type ladder for getting back aboard?

I have a Lacer 25 and need advice about how to get back onboard if I go over while sailing or at the dock. I'm 67 years old and quite heavy. There's no chance that I can haul myself up in either case. If I buy a folding swim step, how far should it be below the bottom. Any other info from experience would be appreciated. Don't suggest to lose weight. Not gonnna happen.

I hadn't even thought about this previously but a neighbor fell in at the dock, couldn't get out and almost drowned. If it hadn't been for a boat that was docking, It would have been over for him.

S/V Phoenix
1976 Catalina 27
15hp Honda 4 stroke
Columbia River
Port of Kalama Marina
Kalama, Wa
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-02-2008
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At least TWO steps in the water if you are heavy and rig a lanyard that lets you pull the ladder down from the water!

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post #3 of 14 Old 11-02-2008
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By far if i had the money this is the ladder i would buy.(Tops in quality link below)
I know somone who had one built and it is top of the line. Actually not that expensive either.



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Last edited by mangomadness; 11-02-2008 at 09:04 PM. Reason: ladder
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-02-2008
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my boat has the simple west marine ladder, it winds up 2 steps under water the third at the water line. when folded up it about 6 inches out of the water, with in easy reach. if you cant pull your self up a ladder they you should just get a sling that when you pull a line will allow you to climb in to and hang there all day if needed. a basic life sling tied off to hang at the water line might be all you need or can use. another option is you use an inflateable pfd with a built in harness and a line with a caribener hanging there, then you just clip on and wait for help.
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-03-2008
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Also, recommend that the ladder be amidships rather than at the stern. The center of the boat doesn't move as much and getting aboard will probably be easier there... but as CAM said... you need to have at least two steps below the surface of the water... assuming the third step is about even with the water's surface... otherwise boarding will be very difficult.

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post #6 of 14 Old 11-03-2008
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You should also be sure the ladder stands vertically in the water when your weight is on it. If it leans in under the boat or away from you as you climb, it will still be VERY difficult to re-board the boat.


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post #7 of 14 Old 11-03-2008
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Good point rrh. I would think the stern would be a better place for a boarding ladder rather than amidships on a 27' boat. With a heavy man, like the OP states that he is, the vessel is going to heel quite a bit once he raises his weight out of the water making for an awkward angle to climb back onboard. The addition of a Lifesling may be a good supplement if there was an available person to assist you in climbing back on too.

I would further suggest that you seek out some local boat owners that might be willing to let you try their ladders and see what works best for you before you invest in something. Perhaps an even better investment regarding your concern of getting back on the boat if you should go over while sailing, would be to buy a harness/tether system and use it. If one prevents falling overboard, then there is no need to reboard. I see you list WA in your homeport. I am spoiled with the local water temps but I would imagine the shock of the water temperature where you live would sap one's strength quickly. Stay on the boat!!!!!

At the marina I would install a permanent dock ladder . Your neighbors may even want to pool funds as one ladder could be used for a group of slips. Of course, any marina alteration should be approved by your dockmaster. In fact, if a few of you bring up the potential liability, maybe the marina will install some ladders.

You want no one to suggest you lose weight, OK. How about you just learn to walk on water then? :>)
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post #8 of 14 Old 11-03-2008
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I guess it depends on how much the boat tends to pitch... if the boat doesn't tend to hobby horse or pitch much, a stern ladder might be okay... but a lot of smaller boats tend to pitch quite a bit in any kind of seas...and that would make getting back aboard in anything but near calm conditions very difficult.

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post #9 of 14 Old 11-03-2008
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At the marina I would install a permanent dock ladder .
FarCry beat me to that one. There should be permanent ladders at the marina. It's more common to fall off a pier or dock than a boat.

You also need something on the boat you can deploy from the water when you find yourself there unexpectedly. Or, like some, after diving in and THEN realizing the ladder is up. A folding step on the rudder and two on the transom can save your life. The prior owner had done that on my Pearson 27 and it was handier than the ladder.

Think about bagging a rollable ladder and keeping it stowed in a bag between stantions with a pull line to deploy it from the water.

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post #10 of 14 Old 11-03-2008
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The problem with rollable ladders is often, they'll swing in towards the hull, making them harder to use... If you do use a rollable ladder, make sure the rungs have stand off feet so that they don't end up right up against the hull.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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