A stable and quickly usable boarding ladder is an important contribution to safety on board. If a person has fallen into the water, the ladder can be the best and quickest way to get them back on board. For boats in southern waters like the Mediterranean, a sturdy swim ladder is an absolute must. If you want to go swimming, you need to be able to leave the boat safely and, above all, get back on board - especially if the boat is swaying in the sea. A boat with a high freeboard or a bathing platform cannot do this without a sturdy ladder that reaches below the waterline.
In particular, the folding bathing platforms in modern yacht designs are often higher than the water level and the length of the bathing ladder should be designed accordingly. The first step should be deep enough under water that you can push off with your legs and do not have to pull yourself up with your arms. Telescopic bathing ladders and folding ladders have proven their worth on mirrors and bathing platforms of yachts. A folding ladder often has a storage compartment integrated into the rear construction. A telescopic system has the advantage that the ladder can be folded even flatter and can be mounted on or under the bathing platform. Whether folding ladder or telescopic ladder, the mechanism and material must be able to withstand the load of heavier persons.
High-quality stainless steel is the material of choice. It is seawater resistant and requires very little maintenance. The mounting of ladders, whether on deck, at the stern or on the bathing platform, must be equally robust and resilient. When the bathing ladder is loaded, not only compressive forces but also high tensile and shear forces occur during assembly. A carefully screwed and sealed bracket with a base plate prevents the laminate or teak deck from tearing out.
Mobile ladders for smaller and shallower boats are usually made of seawater-resistant anodised aluminium. They are very light and are usually simply hung over the deck. Adjustable spacers towards the hull ensure the vertical position. Variable bathing ladders that can also be used as bow ladders in harbour are practical. A low bridge is hardly accessible from the bow without a bow ladder or a bathing ladder on the side. When dogs are on a cruise, there is usually only a classic gangway as a shore connection. Gangways are available in various designs, made of stainless steel, aluminium and GRP. Accessories such as a handrail make the walk ashore even more comfortable and safe. Many brand-name manufacturers of bathing ladders and gangways also offer davits for inflatable boats on larger yachts and corresponding accessories.
The steps of a swim ladder are the most common cause of injury. Finding your footing on a slippery stainless steel tube with wet feet is a balancing act that can spoil a swim. Safe steps are made of non-slip plastic or teak, profiled and wide enough for the foot.
Rubber boats are generally not suitable for permanent attachment of bathing ladders. If you want to swim, it is much easier to get back into the boat with a traditional rope ladder. But small collapsible rope ladders with wooden steps are also an excellent purchase for quick use in emergencies on any boat.