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Old 11-03-2015, 20:13   #1
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When is a boarding ladder to long?

I have a CT 41 which has a little over 3ft of freeboard at the boarding ladder mounting location (about midship on the stbd side). My Ct didn't come with a boarding ladder and I'm planning to do some cruising where I'll need to get on and off the dink when at anchor. I recently bought a used teak ladder which is just over six feet long (eight rungs) at a local marine consignment store. According to my calculations the new ladder will hang under the water for approx. 3 ft (four rungs under the water). My question is...will this length be problematic especially when using it as a swim ladder? Thanks in advance for your feedback.
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Old 11-03-2015, 20:16   #2
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pirate Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

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I have a CT 41 which has a little over 3ft of freeboard at the boarding ladder mounting location (about midship on the stbd side). My Ct didn't come with a boarding ladder and I'm planning to do some cruising where I'll need to get on and off the dink when at anchor. I recently bought a used teak ladder which is just over six feet long (eight rungs) at a local marine consignment store. According to my calculations the new ladder will hang under the water for approx. 3 ft (four rungs under the water). My question is...will this length be problematic especially when using it as a swim ladder? Thanks in advance for your feedback.
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Old 11-03-2015, 20:39   #3
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

This is just a personal opinion but a swim ladder should extend below the waterline and a boarding ladder should not be in the water for long periods of time. That's usually why there are folding types. Stowage is also easier with a folding type.

If you use the ladder for just boarding then you may want to shorten or try to rig hinges to fold it once you've cut it. I would imagine you'll use it for both but to keep it in the water for extended lengths of time is not good for it.

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Old 11-03-2015, 21:00   #4
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

I'd say that three feet underwater is about a minimum for a swim ladder. Make sure there is plenty of standoff from the hull for your toes, and for your hands too.
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Old 11-03-2015, 21:47   #5
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

I guess it's possible for a ladder to be too long, but it certainly wouldn't be any less than 6' deep. Ideally you don't have to fold in half to get your first foot on the step. Of course this is a little longer than most people use, but it isn't uncommon on a dive boat.
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Old 11-03-2015, 23:18   #6
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

I didn't mention that the ladder I bought is the folding type, 3' 6" length when folded up and about 6' when unfolded.
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:14   #7
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

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Ideally you don't have to fold in half to get your first foot on the step.
Exactly. And once you get to "a certain age" (an age that I passed some years back) you can't fold in half, even if you want to! A ladder that extends 3'-4' into the water is definitely NOT too long.
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:26   #8
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

Four rungs in the water sounds about perfect, especially if you will ever dive.
My boarding ladder hangs one rung in the water, and it is a real bear for an old man to climb out of the water on it, forget with a tank on my back wouldn't be possible.
Four rungs in the water, you can just climb the steps, think swimming pool ladder.
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:32   #9
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

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I didn't mention that the ladder I bought is the folding type, 3' 6" length when folded up and about 6' when unfolded.
The ladder can't be too long unless it hits the ground.

Make absolutely sure that you can deploy the ladder while swimming in the water. You never know when you will unexpectedly be in the water and need to get back on the boat. I say this because it happened to me.

Before you think about shortening it, try boarding from the water. You probably need three or four steps in the water.
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:46   #10
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

This isn't rocket science. Try it, if it is too long cut some off.
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:41   #11
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Re: When is a boarding ladder to long?

The absolute minimum is 2ft in the water, i.e. app. 2-3 steps. Best - at least 3-4f in the water, i.e. 4-5 steps. So at 6ft with 3ft freeboard your ladder is just about the right size. Also don't forget to install metal or plastic protectors where the ladder's offsetting t's touch your hull. It'll be slammed by wave action and without that protection will eventually crack the gelcoat. The rubber crutch leg protectors which are used on these t's, while helpfull, by themselves don't really do the job in the long run.
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