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  #1  
Old 05-07-2012
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getting back on the boat.

Say you fall off the boat or you go for a swim without lowering your ladder first. How do you get back on the boat assuming no one else on board. I have seen a boat with a web step ladder in a pouch on the life line. Can't find on line anywhere though. Any ideas?
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Old 05-07-2012
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getting back on the boat.

Check out the Plastmo ladder. Landfall Nav sells it (and others):

http://www.landfallnavigation.com/sp29009.html
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Old 05-07-2012
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Re: getting back on the boat.

There is no substitute for a good "fixed" ladder (except maybe an open transom type boat). I've not found the rope ladders easy to climb. Whatever you use, make sure to "try it" at least once. When the water is cold, and boat is bouncing in waves (which is likely) when you "need" it, it'll be hard if not impossible to use. I mean ANYTHING is better than nothing, but your life (or your crews life) could depend on how "easy" it is to get back aboard in an emergency.

I believe I posted elsewhere, but it's the reason I don't run my stern lifeline through my ladder like SOME do... I use a VERY light bungee (to keep the ladder from dragging in the water). The thinking is (and I've tested this) if I am in the water, I can grab the ladder from the water, and yank it down, pulling the bungee off. I actually have a confirmed rescue while under way (with no motor) of an older couple who were trapped (in warm calm water) because they did not have the upper body strength to get out of the water using a rope ladder. They quickly both climbed out of the water on MY ladder, then we sailed around to their boat, and got them back.

I've used the rope ladders of all kinds and they seem to push so far under the boat that they're almost unusable without lots of upper body strength.
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Old 05-07-2012
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Re: getting back on the boat.

Quote:
I've used the rope ladders of all kinds and they seem to push so far under the boat that they're almost unusable without lots of upper body strength.
... and add waves and motion to that and you're really in a pickle.

Figuring out some way to 'deploy' a ladder from the water makes a lot of sense. I suspect few boats are set up that way.
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Old 05-07-2012
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Re: getting back on the boat.

I have a line on my stern ladder that can be reached from the water so the ladder can be deployed form the water.
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Old 05-07-2012
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Re: getting back on the boat.

I have a somewhat loose slipknot that ties my ladder up. The bitter end of the line is within reach if you're in the water. A simple tug and the ladder comes down.

I check this knot every time I go out, usually by pulling it and re-tying it.
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: getting back on the boat.

I agree with what's been said about rigid and rope ladders. Last summer I bought a nice (expensive) Yates rock climbing/rescue rope ladder and mounted it permanently so that it could be deployed from the water.

My wife is a triathalete and I'm a rock climber and it was surprisingly hard to use! It tended to try and go under the boat and took an immense amount of strength and skill to use.

Not good enough I decided and thanks to the kindness of another sailnetter who mailed me his old boarding ladder I now have a shiny new stainless ladder that I'll be mounting soon.

For a decent compromise and a good "emergency ladder" I also have used this one before: It's rungs are rigid and it has PVC to keep them separated. It's still much harder to use than a true rigid ladder but it's not a bad compromise especially for $35. It also folds up into it's own small, rail-mounted bag that has a velcro bottom. You attach a line to the bottom, pull from the water and it deploys.

Gander Mountain® > Sea Dog Emergency Boarding Ladder 5-Step - Boating > Mooring & Dock > Dock Ladders :



I keep this one on my rail as a backup to my rigid ladder since you can NOT get back aboard my boat if the primary fails. Paranoid you say??? Well 2 summers ago 2 of the 3 rungs of my plastic rigid ladder (the kinds with the hoops that you place over the gunwale) broke while trying to board because the sun had weakened the plastic. One more rung and it would have broken in half. We were lucky to get aboard using it and I was very happy to have the spare on the rail that day!
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Last edited by MedSailor; 05-08-2012 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: getting back on the boat.

I have done this and lived to tell about it, because it wasn't all that dangerous in my situation. Think I've posted it here before. Dove off the boat to swim over to see friends on the next mooring to see what they were doing for dinner. Quickly realized, I didn't put the ladder down and the engine was still running to charge batts. Dummy.

Wife was off snorkeling with the inflatable and came back to find me drinking beer on our friend's boat with our engine running. I hear her tell the story about twice a year.

I like the ladder with the slip knot idea. I've often thought that those climbing ropes we had in grade school would work in life or death. The two inch rope with a big knot every couple of feet. Still, it would have to be deployable
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: getting back on the boat.

This may apply exclusively to boats with a walk-through transom, but it's important for those who have it. Note the line I attached to the latch mechanism which loops down to the water line. If I fall into the water I can pull on the line to release the latch. Once on the boat, it is used to pull the ladder up out of the water. I test this a few dozen times every winter while on the hard, since it's the easiest way to get the ladder down from ground level:


Curiously, most boats that I see with walk-though transoms do not have something like this rigged.
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Re: getting back on the boat.

Day Sailor when I was a kid who spent summers on the Bohemia River at Hacks Point on the Chesapeake Bay. We didn't have money for gas so we sailed.
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