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CChelle 02-23-2012 03:36 PM

Great, I have a boat, but how do I get on it?
I'm not a short woman. I'm a very average 5'4". But I guess the boat is either made for men, or very tall women as I have the hardest time getting on it!

When I stand on the floor of the dinghy the back platform is over my head and it doesn't help much to stand on the seat as that only brings the platform to eye level. I have a swinging transom ladder with 4 steps and with one bad knee (thanks to a drunk driver) that results in one foot on the dinghy, trying to hold it still while the other foot reaches out to the swinging ladder and once I've got my footing the other foot is on the ladder and I climb the four or five steps up and then onto my knees on the platform and finally am on the boat. What should take all of about 10 seconds to accomplish takes me a full minute (maybe more if the water is rough).

Since we needed storage space we bought a lock box for the dinghy which is tall enough that when we pull up to the side of the boat, I can, albeit on my tip-toes, hike one leg up over the side of the boat and then pull myself up. It's a win-win! Right?

No. The box is too tall and a bit too wide for the dinghy and so is probably going back to the store.

But I'm not quite ready to give up this really easy way for me to get on the boat, and my knees (especially the one that is currently messed up) just can't handle going up the transom ladder (which forces me onto my knees because the solar panel is also back there) and really it's just too much trouble going up the back platform.

I've looked at some ladders and it seems most that go over the side are not built for sailboats, or aren't tall enough.

I can't be the only person dealing with this issue, can I?
So I come to you, and ask ... What's a girl to do? :confused:

Faster 02-23-2012 03:52 PM

Let us know what boat you're on... sounds like relatively high freeboard, which is always a challenge, esp on an older boat without a stern platform of some sort.

So model and year would let us get a mental picture of what you're describing...

Barquito 02-23-2012 04:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)
No better than a ladder, but, they look cool.

WanderingStar 02-23-2012 04:16 PM

A couple of suggestions. First, try tying the dinghy to the boat by it's middle seat. The line should be just long enough so the boat will neither roll down nor swing away. Second, a rope ladder with wide wooden rungs that will lie against the hull should be pretty stable. The lowest rung should be at the height of the dinghy.

bljones 02-23-2012 04:21 PM

I need to see a picture to get some sort of frame of reference, but this sounds pretty bizarre. If the ladder is so short that one can't comfortably climb the ladder from a dinghy, how the heck are you suppose to get back on the boat from in the water?

bljones 02-23-2012 04:22 PM

BTW, this month's issue of good old boat has a good article on making your own rope boarding ladder.

deniseO30 02-23-2012 04:34 PM

Most swim ladders have 1" round rungs, hard with shoes, painful if barefoot! You may notice your companion way ladder is more like stairs? Treads! (Why stairs are easier) Also making it difficult, from your description, the ladder is just too short. It should be in the water or lower. A fold down swim platform next to the ladder could be helpful so your not going from one moving object to another. A fabricator and or welder could extend your ladder, weld supports for treads, and also extend the little feet that rest against the transom, because the reverse angle ladders hang at also makes them hard to climb.

Another thing making it difficult is the dingy itself, most people will never ever trust a dingy from "tipping" Because you are somewhat disabled; At the very least a safety line and or harness should be used and you should not be trying to climb up alone.

SVAuspicious 02-23-2012 05:23 PM


Originally Posted by Barquito (Post 835884)
No better than a ladder, but, they look cool.

The FenderStep is a winner. We have one and it made all the difference for Janet getting on and off the boat. If necessary you could get two and hang them one above the other.

Darn good fenders also.

SlowButSteady 02-23-2012 06:18 PM


Originally Posted by CChelle (Post 835865)
I can't be the only person dealing with this issue, can I?
So I come to you, and ask ... What's a girl to do? :confused:

Three words: Big, Strong, Boyfriend (or Girlfriend, we don't judge around here)

Don0190 02-23-2012 06:55 PM

sometime you just have to make your own ladder, like I had to for the side of my boat for shorter people to even get onto the boat for the launch due to the high freeboard

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