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Old 31-05-2016, 16:11   #1
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Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

Howdy Folks,

My wife and I are working through the process of having a local shop build our new arch (nearing completion). As part of the process we're also having them add a swim platform for us. When chartering in the BVI's, we really liked the open transom on the charter boat and used it regularly for our "showers" - jump in, sit down and scrub up, and then jump in for a rinse. Followed by a quick fresh water rinse. While we have the ability to shower inside with hot water, we found most days this was a more enjoyable option for us. Plus we like the ease of access in a calm anchorage for swimming/snorkeling/ SUP'ing and kayaking.

So anyway, that's our rationalization for adding a platform to our more traditional closed transom. My question is, if you where going this route would you want the platform to be completely removable? I've talked with a few folks who had theirs built this way and it seems like the safe bet. That being said, none of them have ever actually removed it. I get mixed advise (imagine that) when talking to folks about the impact of a swim platform when offshore. If you assume the decking (likely some form of fake teak) will be slated and could even be through bolted for easy removal of the decking. Would you still see a need to remove the frame of the actual platform?

I should also mention that the most common option seems to be a hinged platform that just folds up flat against the transom. Since we'll also be adding a wind vane, that's not practical in our case.

I feel like the safest bet is to just make it removable, so we always have the option and I'm sure we'll go this route. So I guess what I'm really asking here is, should it be removed for longer offshore passages?

We've only done about 2500 miles offshore with this boat and have never seen anything where I believe it would have been a problem. I'm sure there are scenarios, where given a large enough following sea, it would be smart to have the decking removed, but am having trouble seeing problems with the actual stainless frame being in place.

What am I missing?
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Old 31-05-2016, 17:25   #2
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

Thing would be what 12' X 3' ? Where would you put it once removed, assuming it didn't weigh too much to hoist up.

It's on my list too, but I'll go the fold up route. Although to be truthful, assuming it's Hell for strong, what bad thing happens if have one in place? I've always had one on my powerboats and never, ever had an issue, but then again if wx were real bad, I always, always kept the bow into the waves, actually on a Sport fish, I think the swim platform actually helps as you have a door in the transom that has to be a weak spot.

Ladder on my boat is OK for getting in and out of the dinghy, but is about three rungs too short to be useful as a swim ladder, so that has to go, but a ladder mounted to a swim platform would be great. I had a Dive-N-Dog ladder on last boat that was great, collapsed into itself like an old fashioned car antenna and folded on top of the swim platform, had at least three rings in the water, was real easy to climb aboard in Scuba gear.


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Old 31-05-2016, 19:47   #3
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

We're thinking we'll probably just do 2' deep, but yeah the weight is part of what I'm concerned about. If we remove the decking it would probably be fairly manageable and we could always store it on deck under the dinghy or even tie it to a couple of stanchions and use it to tie a few spare jerry cans.

I'm just not sure it's even required, particularly if the decking can be removed. I talked with the delivery we used to help us bring the boat around from Maryland and he said as long as the decking had the typical open slats in it, he wouldn't have any concerns with it.

Chances are I'm over thinking it...like most other things but hey. What else can I do when away from the boat for the week?
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Old 31-05-2016, 20:12   #4
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

I don't think any of these are removable.

Swim Platforms 101 swim platform added
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Old 31-05-2016, 20:38   #5
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

No. They are called re-boarding devices for a reason.
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Old 01-06-2016, 05:54   #6
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

a swim platform might be out of the water under sail and so not cause drag, even in the water(a little) the drag would be trivial. a case of suck it and see.
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:06   #7
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

Can't see any issue with leaving it in place
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:22   #8
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

Sounds like it would be a real pain to remove and store.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:57   #9
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

The short answer is "It depends". There are a lot of variables here and even with slatted decking if your boat is pitching badly in a nasty sea there will be quite a lot of load placed on the platform. These loads will be transferred somewhere. I guess worse case scenario is the thing is ripped off your transom. There are other concerns as well such as the fact that most boats tend to squat on their waterline when pushed to or beyond hull speed. How will the platform be affected in that scenario? Theres also the aesthetic implications of adding something like this to consider.


A platform certainly offers a lot of benefits and think you just need to consider the design carefully. If it were me I would opt for one that stows securely in place vs having to remove and stow on deck. I would also want to make it fairly short. Lastly it would need to be bullet proof. Good luck.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:13   #10
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

A powerboats is up high enough so that it is never submerged even when the bow is in the air and the stern down, you don't have to have one at water line, 6" or so above the water is just as good.
If there is an issue I would think it would be from a following sea, the kind that would "poop" you, although I have yet to meet an IP owner that has been pooped, I believe there is enough reserve buoyancy that just doesn't happen, but with a swim platform holding the stern down with a breaking wave, who knows?
Transom structure would I guess be the ultimate concern, we don't hang multiple huge outboard motors on our transoms, so making sure there is enough strength so that no matter what the water load, the transom won't be broken.

I believe that often a surface like what you describe with slats will cause more drag that a solid surface will, so don't think the slats will unload it, they may do the opposite.


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Old 01-06-2016, 08:20   #11
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

I guess if you have a dinghy in davits, you need a folding swim platform?
Or do people just lower it onto the platform and push it off. or push it out as it's lowered?
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:42   #12
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

Perhaps the platform shouldn't be solid decking. Maybe consider spacing you decking to allow for waves to "crash through" the platform. Similar to steps at a snow ski resort that allow the snow to fall through the step.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:24   #13
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

I had one boat with a stern swim step, and loved it. Never had any issue with water weighing the stern down, but then I'm a fair weather sailor. Mine was fiberglass, on a SS frame, through bolted to the transom, lots of supporting struts. If anything were to hit it, either no damage, or rip the stern off. I can tell you that a dock lost a battle with the swim step when I was backing into a slip and got caught in the wind....

And I've been on two boats, not my own, that have been pooped, while I was in the cockpit on watch. Scary because it's so sudden and wet. But no harm, other than my pride for not seeing it coming.

One other note, your marina will happily add the length of the swim step to your slippage fees.
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Old 01-06-2016, 17:59   #14
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

Removable is unnecessary, inconvenient and a storage issue. Put it on a hinge and fold it up. If fixed and you get into heavy waves there is a real risk of tearing the platform loose. That is not theoretical it happened to me some years ago. Takes a minute or two to raise or lower it now.
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Old 15-06-2016, 20:32   #15
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Re: Should swim platform be removed for longer offshore passages?

Consider a fold up type swim platform, they don't have to be to big to be efficient.


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