Click for Mag Bay Click for Cross Click for Ocean Alexander Click for Seacoast Click for Fendertex

Ladder vs stairs. safety of ladder to bridge?

Discussion in 'General Sportfish Discussion' started by Alzira II, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Alzira II

    Alzira II Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2019
    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    I have been shopping sportfish lately. A friend of mine viewing a couple boats with me is a longtime boater and indicated to me that he is not a fan of ladders to get up to the bridge. He mentioned his father in law and brother in law both fell on their old family hatteras ladder-no alcohol involved.
    I would probably prefer stairs like a sedan bridge but even stairs have danger. I never really thought much of it but we are still young and mobility is no issue. We have children but both the ladder and stairs have issues we will accommodate with as the children get bigger. I can block off the ladder easier than I can block off a set of stairs. Is there a real systematic issues of people falling off sportfish ladders?
  2. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Messages:
    487
    Location:
    South River, Chesapeake Bay
    We've had a ladder, and now we have stairs. I could fall off of either.

    OTOH, I can't carry a tray of Happy Hour up a ladder, but I can do that with stairs. And the stairs are easier on my knees. I'd never go back to a ladder.

    Some of the FB boats with stairs also have a "door" (hatch) blocking the bridge; partly to add a bit of safety, partly to improve the way a bridge AC can work.

    A few of the boats with stairs are convertibles, so they're not only available in sedan bridge models.

    It may be possible to replace a ladder with a (circular?) staircase; that would probably lose some cockpit space in an existing sportfish.

    -Chris
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,471
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Unless you or your frequent guests are out of shape or have mobility issues, ladders are pretty safe but you must have a good grab rail at the top to hang in while finding the first rung coming down

    stairs are nice but unless they are standard steps and risers they only offer a sense of false security.
  4. d_meister

    d_meister Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    341
    Location:
    San Diego, CA.
    The big issue is traction. I've run and delivered many different yachts and sportfishers, and always feel more secure on wood rungs or risers. I've definitely had my share of barked shins and a**-landings. Wet plastic, whether molded FRP risers or Starboard rungs, always make me more cautious. The perilous part of using either is when the foot tilts and is only in contact with the edge, which has no non-skid in that area. As far as Happy Hour deliveries go; Where there is a will....
  5. Alzira II

    Alzira II Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2019
    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    good point on the traction. I will keep that in mind.
  6. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,144
    Location:
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    The only downside of the ladder that I have experienced so far is that it can be intimidating for non -nautical quests and can provide a separation while underway between you and your guests. We solved the transfer of fluids and food to the bridge by having a little canvas basket and chord to raise and lower those items -we even used it to get our little dog up and down. Stairs are a little more friendly than a bridge ladder for any use in my experience. Nautical stairs generally have a higher riser than the standard 7" household stairs - but so is the spacing of the ladder steps.
  7. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2018
    Messages:
    875
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    IMO , I can do a solid ladder in any weather with unfinished teak rungs for traction . You've got your arms hands on the ladder at the same time to hold and incase your feet slip your holding on which give you time to re plant your feet if needed . Also the boat can be pitching about , and on a ladder you've got your hands and feet planted , it's hard to fall . Of course always coming down the ladder facing the ladder is key.
    I'll take a ladder over stairs any day. Over all they are safer.
    What Beau said a transfer basket or Kareem Abdul Jabbar sized deck hand would be the other option to hand things up !
  8. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Messages:
    487
    Location:
    South River, Chesapeake Bay
    I don't see much of a safety difference; we have those same handholds on our stairs, and we can come down "backwards" and using those handholds if necessary. (Maybe some boats with stairs don't have decent handholds?)

    Couldn't lift our Great Pyrenees or the big Golden Receiver to our previous ladder-bridge using a basket and string. Maybe a crane could have worked...

    -Chris
  9. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,144
    Location:
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    You just need a bigger string? - or stairs like you have
  10. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,992
    Location:
    Dana Point, Ca
    I have fallen down a wet frp staircase before, never had an issue with a bridge ladder. In my own experience, the bridge ladder has proven more reliable and less hazardous to my health.
  11. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Messages:
    487
    Location:
    South River, Chesapeake Bay
    Umm... yes, legit point about slipping on FRP stairs. Although I've slipped (slightly) on both stairs and ladders, a slip on stairs when used in "normal" mode and when not securely backed up with decent handholds at the time could be a bad thing.

    -Chris
  12. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,992
    Location:
    Dana Point, Ca
    Enough to knock the wind out of me and thought I had nearly broken my back!

    The ladder, by its’ design, is safer as it requires two hands to use , especially when going down and facing in the proper direction.
  13. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,144
    Location:
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    Anecdotally, guests prefer stairs. My dockmate has stairs. I have a ladder. Both SF. Guests will travel to his bridge without comment, mine, not so much. Plus stairs are dog friendly.

    I don't understand why a ladder would be inherently safer than properly made stairs with handrails and no wax on the fiberglass trends? Many times I have had to travel either up or down with one hand for the rail, the other holding something.

    But we are really getting down in the "weeds" on this issue.
  14. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,471
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Because with ladders you have to go down facing the ladder holding with both hands. Stairs provide a glass of security

    and fiberglass is the worst material. If you re going to have stairs they d better have teak steps. Raw, onviously.

    neighbor of mine had a power cat with some fairly well designed stairs. Friend of his, inhebriated by booze she brought with her, fell and hurt her back pretty badly. She actually was an ambulance chaser and sued him....
  15. T.T.

    T.T. Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    S.F.
    some teak ladder rungs and teak set in FRP staircase already have it, if not, one can use a router to cut a few parallel groves in the teak. I then use deck caulking in the grooves and this helps footing and presents nicely.
  16. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,144
    Location:
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    I've gone up and down a ladder many times with one hand holding "stuff".

    Was it the stairs or the booze that caused the fall.
  17. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,992
    Location:
    Dana Point, Ca
    Here’s an example of a proper designed ladder with handholds that allow you to hook your elbows while carrying a drink in your hand up to the Flybridge:

    upload_2020-1-20_12-4-59.jpeg
  18. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,471
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Nice one. The critical element of ladder safety are the grab rails extending way above the floor as mentioned earlier