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Old 08-06-2017, 10:31 AM   #1
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Ease of Boarding...or getting off?

Since the Tide Ride Stairs thread drifted I thought that we could look at a few designs that appear to be rather difficult to get on or off.

My candidate is this one because a friend owned one and had to regularly fish guests and his wife out of the drink when they missed the swim platform....which was the only way to get on or off.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:56 AM   #2
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Before we bought our boat we looked at allot of boat designs. Some were suited to our lifestye and some were not.

I remember going aboard a large aft cabin model. Getting on and off the boat was using a ladder, and I remember thinking "this would be interesting carrying groceries"

At the top of the ladder was a HUGE covered semi outdoor area. Canvas to roll up on the upper sdes, and what looked like plastic attached to the OEM railing, making the bottom half solid.

In this area was a wicker couch, a couple of chairs, deep freeze, and a outdoor kitchen. All this without feeling crowded. This was my kind of living.

Inside the spaces were equally immense. There was a queen or king full walk around bed, a huge galley, and an assortment of other rooms it seemed.

The engine room was equally huge, seeming to stretch for miles. It had a work bench, and room that today I dream of.

We didn't buy that boat. We didn't buy a boat anything like that.

Not because we did not love the roominess. No we settled, (compromised) on a boat that although the same approximate length has features that in the end we found more important.

We boat with our dogs, so ladders to get onboard are not an option. We love to fish so having a huge fishing deck 8 feet above the water line would not work.

Although we think that we made a good choice in boat designs, every time I walk down the dock and see an aft cabin I think about that huge covered patio and just how nice it would be to sit up there sipping a cocktail on a warm summers evening.

If things were different. If I did not have dogs. If I did not love to fish. I'll guarantee that I'd have a aft cabin boat.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:36 AM   #3
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Another one that has always perplexed me in this area is the Great Harbor 37 and likely the 47.

I do have an aft cabin boat but my swim platform is huge and there are nice molded stairs up to the aft deck. Now if I was not very ambulatory, then I would likely have a sedan(or pilothouse) where almost everything is one level. Dogs have no issue with my stairs to sundeck/swim platform.

I do know where you are coming from reference that aft sundeck space. While mine is technically a sundeck, it is quite small. A close friend has an Albin 43 Sundeck. His Sundeck is HUGE. He has a table in the middle with chairs around it along with chairs all along the border of the deck. It comfortably seats about 10-12 people. We have had probably 25-30 people up there before with the overload going up onto the flybridge which is huge. Albin did an excellent job with a "cab forward" design making the aft deck and aft stateroom huge without making the boat look weird. The compromise is in the forward guest stateroom....and who cares about that....
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:19 PM   #4
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Getting on off the boat was one of my wifes concerns. What was easy and safe is becoming not as we are getting older, pushing 70, and Everett marina is eliminate our dock. So depending on our new slip, we are looking at changes. Being a live aboard using one and many times no hands is very important. So we might have to modify for stern side gates.

When looking at boats many boats she will not attempt to go on as boarding is difficult and or has to many or steep stairs.
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Old 08-06-2017, 01:55 PM   #5
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I forgot to add fixed docks and 3-4 foot tides to the discussion. Imagine how a swim platform only boarding would go.
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
edit
I do have an aft cabin boat but my swim platform is huge and there are nice molded stairs up to the aft deck. Now if I was not very ambulatory, then I would likely have a sedan(or pilothouse) where almost everything is one level. Dogs have no issue with my stairs to sundeck/swim platform.

edit
This is a good compromise. An aft cabin with a (fishing) cockpit and moulded stairs would work well also. But it seems to be that when the design mindset is maximum interior volume then 5 or 6 ft at the stern for a cockpit is not going to happen. From a styling point of view adding the cockpit can be a challenge as well.

Boat reviews, and buyers, tend to favour designs that pack a lot of amenity in: wow, all this in just 3x or 4x ft! Fine. But when safety is one of the compromises, and ease of boarding falls into that category, then 'poor design' enters the thinking of an objective reviewer or buyer. IMO.

A lot of newer designs rely on stern boarding, typically via a large and solid swim deck. The only negative with that is often a requirement for stern-in berthing, which isn't always desirable or preferred.

Fixed height docks are getting quite rare, at least in this part of the world. Back when my boat was built (1981) there was allowance for this as well with a section of teak railing on the boat deck being hinged. Likely you still needed to carry a ladder/folding stairs if there was much tidal range though!
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:44 PM   #7
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A lot of newer designs rely on stern boarding, typically via a large and solid swim deck. The only negative with that is often a requirement for stern-in berthing, which isn't always desirable or preferred.

My boat has a nice solid swim step that I think is easy to get on off. My wife is a little intimidated by it since it curves in very slightly, making it visually a longer step than she is comfortable with. My 83 Mother, who is 5" shorter, doesn't seem to have a problem with it however.

The boat also has a nice side entry from the cockpit on the starboard side. My wife really likes it. There are times when we need to dock at a place where the stern overhangs too much so she can't step off the boat from the stern. I then get off the boat at the Pilothouse using a Fender Step. Very easy. Of course, even though I have two bad knees, and am about 30 pounds overweight being 6'2" makes that a bit easier.
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:51 PM   #8
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It doesn't get easier than this...
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:05 PM   #9
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Getting on and off a boat should be major concerns especially to the greying crowd. I also include walking around on the deck and side decks where there should be ample hand grips. Another issue I give importance to is adequate cleats in front rear and sides of boat easily reached for tending and setting dock lines. Visibility from the helm and possible alternative helm controls are another safety issue. I know many people love the fly bridge unfortunately on many boats the upper bridge creates a safety liability for older boaters and tends to isolate the skipper from the docking action not good on a mom and pop boat. I see too many boat designs giving preference to interior room and house boat like accommodations while neglecting common sense safety and boating issues. The fact that many cottage boats are sold to couples new to boating who see their adventure on the water as a cottage on the water may explain this market trend. I would think old sea hands would look to the boat first and the cottage some where down the list. How often does a boat sales person or broker point out the safety factors on a boat? Me thinks they are too busy pointing out the home like qualities and how much beer the large fridge can hold and trying to impress the wife how much like home the waterborne cottage is.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:09 PM   #10
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We should all just buy Delfin 48s I guess. :-)
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
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. . . An aft cabin with a (fishing) cockpit and moulded stairs would work well also. But it seems to be that when the design mindset is maximum interior volume then 5 or 6 ft at the stern for a cockpit is not going to happen. From a styling point of view adding the cockpit can be a challenge as well.
You may be right in general, but I think Art Defever was up to the challenge.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:37 PM   #12
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You may be right in general, but I think Art Defever was up to the challenge.
Yep, you're driving the best solution to the room plus easy boarding issue right there. Love those De Fever 44s. We had a nice one for sale on our marina not long ago. My hand itched, but the wife's didn't. C'est la vie...I got over it.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:20 PM   #13
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Oh man....that DeFever 49 is at the very top of my list!!!! What a great boat!!!!
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:22 PM   #14
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I forgot to add fixed docks and 3-4 foot tides to the discussion. Imagine how a swim platform only boarding would go.
Then you (dis)embark off of the side of the boat. There are many levels that you can work from. Like someone said....in our neck of the woods....we deal with floating docks most of the time so tide swings are eliminated!
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:04 AM   #15
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Nordhaven 40

At the trawlerfest, I counted five different height levels where you could board the Nord 40, including a few via steps built into the hull side. I think the best I saw ony other boat was three levels.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:23 AM   #16
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My candidate is this one because a friend owned one and had to regularly fish guests and his wife out of the drink when they missed the swim platform....which was the only way to get on or off.

One of our owners club members has that model. When necessary, he attaches a Marquipt staircase to the side doors from his party deck. Seems to work fine.

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