SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Transom mounted boarding ladder? Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-19-2012 07:24 PM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?


A transom ladder is what I want. If I have to have one built I will. It won't get used much but I want some deep, rigid steps available if needed. We board from the side of the boat and can still step in from the Avon. It is a bit of a stretch in calm water using the rigid stern seat of the Avon. Swells can help if your timing and coordination are good. Ha! Kneeling works!

11-19-2012 05:58 PM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

Originally Posted by downeast450 View Post
How do side mount ladders work? Storage? Deployment? I have never seen a permanently installed one.

They generally drop into a couple of on-deck hard points, and hang over the side with folding standoffs against the hull. The cheap ones are aluminum with plastic treads, more costly Stainless, good ones have a folding drop down section for extra depth. They are rather long and cumbersome to store, the aluminum ones are weak and can fail at the standoff point with too much side loading.

I've seen versions that clip into points on the hull side below the gunwales too..

I've also seen versions that fold up completely into a rather bulky section of stanchions, effectively making up part of the lifeline structure. Generally they won't go particularly deep.

Boats with high freeboard often use short versions of these to make it easier to step aboard from a low floating dock. On large yachts these can take the form of fold-out platforms c/w swim ladders attached.

For most practical use the mounting points should be port and starboard so if you're rafted or docked you could still have a place to use the ladder. But ultimately it's the stern ladder that will be almost always accessible and instantly deployable.

Here's a link to some side mounted types:

Cabela's: Search Results
11-19-2012 05:54 PM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

You wouldn't permanently mount a side ladder, just the sliding connectors so once it's on it is secure. Mine goes over the toe rail and hooks to the bulwark.
The stern ladder is permanent, the side is the one that gets most of the use once we drop the hook.
It folds for storage and gets hooked on when we need it/ want it. Permanent mounting would be a problem in the slip.
11-19-2012 05:40 PM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

How do side mount ladders work? Storage? Deployment? I have never seen a permanently installed one.

11-18-2012 08:51 AM
Alex W
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

I went through the same search when trying to find a replacement ladder for my Catalina 25. None of the easy available options seemed like they would work very well and I wasted a couple of hours searching catalogs and looking at options.

The good news is that Catalina Direct started offering the C-25 ladder design again, and it is a very easy one to retrofit to other boats with a near vertical transom.
Catalina Direct: Transom Swim LadderCP-18, CP-22, C-25, C-27

When folded up the bottom rung should be near the stern pulpit rail level. When folded down the bottom rung is in the water, with the other 3 going up the stern.

I recommend securing the ladder using a line tied with a slip knot that can be reached from the water. That way the ladder can be deployed from the water if something goes wrong.
11-17-2012 12:19 PM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

All good points. I drag my "custon" rope ladder when I am aboard alone. The first thing I do after reaching the boat at the mooring is toss it overboard. It lives in the cockpit secured to a pad eye. It was tied by a local, Ilsford, lobsterman, and is a work of art. I will keep it when it gets replaced. It does have three rungs in the water but not being rigid, using it is a little more challenging than a rigid ss platform will be. Custom work is easy to come by here, if pricy, and I agree it is a worthy safety expense. I know later I 28's do have ss ladders with standoffs that fold up high. I don't want a telescoping one. The one that tschmidty sent a listing for looks like it could have a couple of standoffs added. Having 3 rungs below the water's surface is certainly necessary.


11-17-2012 11:17 AM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

Ladders are not much use to a single hander if they cannot be lowered from the water.
11-17-2012 10:31 AM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

In emergency situations I'd think that a permanently mounted stern ladder would ultimately be more reliable/usable/quickly deployable than any use-then-store ladder arrangement... we've had both over the years.

The main problem with most off-the-shelf ladders is that the angles won't match the transom exactly, or the steps/rungs won't go deep enough. There are some nifty collapsing ladders that fold down and extend deep but they work best on the short vertical sterns of the more recent open transom designs (such as that stock on the Bene 36.7)

I can't over emphasize the convenience and safety of a DEEP ladder. If the ladder doesn't have at least 3 rungs underwater it can be very difficult for out-of-shape individuals to clamber out of the water - even in a calm anchorage and non emergency situations. There's also a lot of strain on too-shallow ladders as the climber strains to get out, most of the effort is lateral rather than vertical because their feet are so high relative to their body. We had an aluminum over-the-side ladder fail this way.

All of which leads to the idea that this sort of thing is best done by custom fabrication.. a bit costly perhaps but this can/should be viewed as a safety item.
11-17-2012 10:19 AM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

Hmm,my Westerly comes stock with a transom mounted swim ladder. Hard rail and the rear stay give hand holds. I know where you could get an entire Westerly Centaur for $250, I could set up shipping for ya. Then you can just unbolt it.
11-17-2012 10:00 AM
Re: Transom mounted boarding ladder?

I agree. It is a huge safety issue. More so as my scrambling capacity slowly declines. Swim suits are not a consideration for me. Stand offs would be necessary.


This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome