How to Choose the Right Boat Ladder
Being a boat owner is one of the most rewarding experiences. There’s nothing else in the world like spending a day out on the water. But if you plan on going swimming, then you’re going to have to get your hands on a boat ladder.
When choosing the right boat ladder, you’ll have to take some important measurements. There are a lot of different types of ladders to choose from so it can be a tough choice. Let’s make that choice easier.
Choose the Right Size
Size is everything when it comes to a boat ladder. Remember that when you are swimming in the water, then your head and shoulders are the only things above the water. The rest of your body is submerged. I know this is obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t think of this when choosing a ladder for their boat.
Make sure that your boat ladder extends into the water by at least 2 rungs. If you don’t take this into consideration, then anyone using your ladder will have to pull themselves up onto it.
- Measure the distance between the surface of your boat to where the surface of the water will be.
- Add 3 feet to the measurement.
Make Sure the Ladder is Built Correctly
While aesthetics are going to be an important consideration, they are not as important as security and comfort. Stainless steel tubing can be exceptionally painful on bare feet so you want to choose a ladder with broad rungs comprised of nonskid treads.
Also make sure that the ladder is built in a way that it’s away from the hull of your boat. That leaves room for your toes so that you can have proper footing as you climb the ladder.
Stainless Steel or Aluminum?
Construction of your ladder is another important decision. This is going to depend mostly on your budget.
Aluminum – Is more affordable and lighter.
Stainless Steel – More expensive but is built much stronger. It’s also more aesthetically pleasing.
Removable or Fixed?
This choice depends on the type of boat you own but I highly recommend that you choose removable ladders.
Removable ladders are usually easy and quick to install or put away. They fit into a pair of brackets that are attached to the hull or deck of the boat.
Ladder Mounting Tips to Keep in Mind
Boat ladders are built in so many different shapes and sizes that there is no one-size-fits-all here. You will need to keep these tips in mind:
Your boat ladder will come with a set of detailed instructions. Make sure that you follow these instructions. You don’t want to risk the ladder malfunctioning when being used.
Always Plan Ahead
Before you make your final decision, you will need to plan ahead a bit. How will you be installing the ladder? How will you store it when it’s not being used?
Start by determining how much free space you have on your boat. Will you have plenty of room to store the ladder? Now examine the area of the boat where you will be using the ladder. Are there any obstacles that could potentially be impeding its use?
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the most expensive boat ladder will not necessarily be the best choice. The type of ladder will depend more on the unique needs of your boat. I’ve found that sometimes simple, more affordable designs are a much better option.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you have made your purchase, you will need to start using your ladder. You want your family to get used to the technique required for a new ladder. That way, you are prepared for the unexpected. This will also help you figure out how to store the ladder.