Every summer, millions of boat owners return to the water for a season of fun, engaging activities, whether they prefer relaxing by themselves or bringing along the whole family. There’s a shocking number of activities to try, from simple and relaxing hobbies like fishing to more intense sports like wakeboarding.
But if you want to make the most of your time on the water, you need accessories that make your boat more versatile and conducive to a wide range of activities. A dock ladder could be exactly what you need. But what exactly is a dock ladder, and how do you choose the right one for your vessel?
What Is a Dock Ladder?
Dock ladders are essentially ladders that hang off the side of your boat. They can be made from a number of different materials, but typically rely on aluminum or stainless steel to avoid corrosion in the water. They come in a range of sizes, so they can fit almost any boat, and they make it easy for people to board and disembark.
The Benefits of Using a Dock Ladder
What are the benefits of attaching this type of ladder to your boat?
- Boarding and disembarking. The obvious benefit here is that dock ladders make it easy to board and disembark the vessel. Regardless of your physical coordination, getting on and off the boat becomes a simple matter with the right accessory. This can save you time and spare you some headaches, while simultaneously reducing the risk of physical injury.
- Safety. It’s important to take boating safety seriously. When you’re on the water, you’ll need to think about wearing lifejackets, staying within the vessel while it’s in motion, and being ready to signal for help if necessary. But people sometimes ignore the secondary dangers of boating that emerge when entering or leaving the vessel. Dock ladders make this activity much safer.
- Convenience. Some people like dock ladders because of how convenient they are. They’re very simple to install, they can typically be stored easily, and because they’re easy to grip and step on, they make boarding a cinch.
- Swimming. One of the classic favorite activities related to boating is swimming around the vessel, typically in the dock. Getting into the boat from the water becomes much more of a possibility with a ladder in place.
- Versatility. Dock ladders can be used in a variety of different docking configurations, such as fixed docks, floating docks, and seawalls. No matter what kind of boat you have or where you store it, you can use one of these accessories.
- Stability. Even if you’re used to the movements of the waves, instability can be problematic when entering or leaving the boat. Dock ladders provide you with a surprising amount of stability, making your climbs much more comfortable.
- Durability. As long as you purchase high-quality materials, your dock ladder can last for many years, or even decades. These are highly durable accessories that are made to be a long-term investment.
- Accessibility. You can find dock ladders in a wide variety of styles, with countless options, making them accessible for people with varying levels of physical ability.
Choosing the Right Dock Ladder for Your Boat
With so many options on the market, how do you choose the right dock ladder for your boat?
- Materials. Most dock ladders are made out of aluminum, stainless steel, or a similarly durable material. But it’s worth noting that some materials are higher quality than others.
- Size/length. Arguably the most important variable to consider is the size or length of the ladder; not all ladders will fit all boats.
- Weight capacity. Also look at weight capacity. Some ladders are designed to support more weight than others, and depending on your intended use for the ladder, you may need a higher weight capacity.
- Mounting options. How does the ladder mount on your boat? Is this a job you can tackle on your own?
- Steps vs. rungs. There’s a subtle, but important difference between rungs and steps on a ladder: rungs are about half as deep. Steps afford you more room and stability when stepping and climbing, but rungs are more compact.
- Rails. Some people prefer their dock ladders to have handrails for even greater stability.
- Storage options. When you’re not using the ladder, how are you going to store it? Many dock ladders conveniently fold up for convenient storage.
- Budget. Fortunately, dock ladders aren’t expensive. But if you’re willing to shop around, you can find an even better deal.
- Reviews. What do other people think of this dock ladder?
Once your boat is equipped with a dock ladder, you’ll have a much easier time boarding, disembarking, and participating in certain aquatic activities. The only catch is you have to make sure you buy a ladder with the right dimensions.