The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Safer Transom Ladder

Our new-to-us J/109 has a robust transom swim ladder that could definitely enable someone who fell overboard get back into the boat, at least in smooth water.

But check out the photo above: There’s no way for someone in the water, particularly wearing a lifejacket, to deploy the ladder unassisted. The angle is just wrong for that.

So I made the modification in the photo below. Works a treat.

I will be writing more over the next year about changes we are making to the boat to reduce crew overboard risk, in our Online Book on the subject.

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Conor Smith

Looks good!

James Evans

Nice setup, John. And by the way, if you’re tempted to buy a Plastimo emergency ladder (a neat little thing that stows in a tube, you can bury in the transom) DON’T. The thing swings around in the water and the rungs are so narrow that even with shoes on they are damned uncomfortable, and with bare feet you really would have to be in fear of your life to get aboard.