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Old 09-02-2016, 04:05 PM   #201
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Been awhile since I read this thread. I really like RealMounties idea of the rock climbing aid. I've got an old Petzl etrier I can repurpose to that.

Of course in the harbour, we Have both pull down and permanent ladders. The nice thing about the pull downs is that they aren't covered in barnacles and mussels.
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:56 PM   #202
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Originally Posted by Warwgn View Post
To be honest no I have not, but I swim like a fish and climb like a goat and I doubt I would fall in to begin with I do understand what you mean, I used the word could referring to the fact the boat I have now is only a 18.5' ski boat and is more apples to oranges. My swim platforms are next to the outdrive so even without the ladder down I can get in very easy, I am 6'4" with long orangutan arms and big hands with long fingers so I can reach up to the top of the transom from the water. So in my old SeaRay I know I can, when I get a bigger boat I would imagine I would have no issues either knowing my physical abilities and mental drive so say I could.
So why not try? Go for a good swim and give it a shot. When you fall in accidentally, who knows what condition you and the seas it is in will be?
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:07 PM   #203
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Assume and plan for the worst....

That can be a little different for different people and situations.....

While anyone can be incapacitated in a second...some people are stil, 10X more capable than the next....just plan for your worst case scenario..
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:44 AM   #204
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Curious about this subject for a long time, I conducted some testing two weeks ago. I intentionally "fell" onto the water adjacent to a client's boat, first wearing a bathing suit, and then fully clothed, and each time climbed up onto the swim platform, and then did so again using the boarding ladder, and filmed it all. The vessel was a 55 foot trawler. I also had a scale set up on the swim platform to record my weight before and after falling in when clothed, which I also photographed. The wet clothes added 17 pounds. The water was bathtub warm, so no cold water shock issue to contend with. I'm pretty fit and was able, with some difficulty, to climb out of the water without the ladder, when fully clothed. This might be worth testing on your own boat.

Ultimately, however, every vessel should have a means of relatively easy re-boarding for those who fall overboard.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:58 AM   #205
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I have the 4 rung ladder under hung on the swim platform. Piece of cake to deploy from in the water. Unhook the rubber strap and just pull out . Found the 4 rung much easier for a big guy than the 3 rung model to climb up on.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:13 PM   #206
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We had an unplanned test of our man overboard *plan the other day and failed (sorta).

A few friends were visiting us while we were in a transient slip in Annapolis. As one of them was disembarking, a gust of wind kicked up at the exact wrong moment and SPLASH! down he went between the boat and the dock.

We were lucky that
1) he was not seriously injured (i.e. head injury, dislocated shoulder, broken bone, etc)
2) he was not impaired by alcohol
3) it wasn't quite dark yet
4) the water wasn't cold
5) the weather was calm.
6) there was not stray current in the water (if you don't know what that is go look it up right now. I'll wait.)
7) the rest of us were not impaired with alcohol so that we were able to work the problem.

We immediately dropped him a life ring followed by a square float with arm straps. I had just read that the life rings and older cheap life jackets can lose their ability to float over time depending on age, condition and manufacture. I think the floats with straps are easier on the person in the water as well. Luckily our ring floats and both were handy in the aft cockpit.

We placed the boarding ladder (also handy on the aft cockpit) on the stern brackets and lowered the swim platform as he dog paddled around to the stern. We also tied a dock line to a cleat and gave him the loop end so he could hang on and take some of his weight. He's a very big man. He stepped one foot on the ladder and the bottom half broke away and just fell straight to the bottom. No way he's getting onto the swim platform now.

By this time he's getting pretty fatigued and starting to panic. And it's starting to get dark.

There was not a dock ladder within reach. Normally, we would not dream of boarding a strangers boat, but we felt the situation warranted it. We guided him to a sailboat in the slip next to us with a lower swim platform and a sturdy looking ladder that hinged into the water. And we were able to get him out. We did let the dock hands know the next day that we used that boat.

I know many of you are going to suggest a lot of things we could have done differently. And you're right. But, we felt speed was important. We'll be making several changes along with a sturdy new ladder. And we've gone over a variety of things we could have done if the sailboat had not been there. We'll also be practicing using the dinghy crane, but frankly I'm not sure that would have been as helpful as we think.

It turned out relatively okay for our friend (it could have been very bad). He had a gash and huge bump on his leg and a really nasty bruise on his arm. And an ear infection from the water.

This thread was very helpful to us during this ordeal as I had just read it not long ago. I would not normally have put as much importance on fatigue had I not read it.

*we clearly did not have an adequate plan. In our defense, we've only owned the boat for about 6 weeks.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:46 PM   #207
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We had an unplanned test of our man overboard *plan the other day and failed (sorta).
.
Thanks so much for sharing. You pointed out all the things that can happen and many that fortunately did not happen in your case. Many pitfalls and just how difficult it can be. I'm sure you'll do better next time, but your understanding of the seriousness led you to quick and good thinking this time. The ones who concern me more are those who think they and their boat could never have a problem. We all could have a problem and it's the small differences in situations that are the difference in life and death. These things don't always involve the best swimmer or the smallest person, nor warm water, nor are they always injury free. There are so many things that can go wrong. You pointed out so well one of the most important things for us all to remember and that is, "just because it all works out ok, doesn't mean we had the best plan possible."

Again, glad it all worked out and you sharing it is valuable for all of us and the forum as a whole.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:40 AM   #208
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What has this pic got to do with the theme of the thread..? Simply this. We have a telescopic, slide out boarding ladder thus....

However, a repair to the starboard bracket supporting the end of the swim step, under which you can see the ladder is attached, had developed a crack, and when it was repaired last haul out , the head of a bolt used for the reinforcing bracket, without my noticing it, ended up impeding the easy sliding out of the ladder. This has bugged me ever since for the same reasons this thread was started, so we have waited with mild concern until this haul out to take an angle grinder to that offending bolt, to allow it to easily be pulled out by someone in the water, which then makes climbing out very easy. Ok, so out she comes for the bottom clean, antifoul, and to fix that damn bracket so the ladder slides out easily. I was impressed with how the PropSpeed had done it's job, I must say.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:11 AM   #209
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Of course in the harbour, we Have both pull down and permanent ladders. The nice thing about the pull downs is that they aren't covered in barnacles and mussels.
Boarding ladders on the docks disappear in many cases as you leave the US, Canada and Australia. This makes the boat's own boarding ladder ever more important.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:02 AM   #210
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It is one thing to fall in and not be injured in some way to be able to get back into the boat.
But what if by falling in you have hurt yourself, sprained something, broke something, whacked your head, now it is that much harder to get back in.
That easy to get back in since you are physically very fit may now be very hard if your hurt.

I wonder if you see a shark would that give you an energy boost to get back in?
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:47 AM   #211
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River Rat, your post made me check our 6 step swim ladder and I found out it's rated for 300 lbs. That weight limit seemed sufficent when we bought it but may not be based on your expierence. Also our dingy davit also is rated a 300 lbs and I always thought in a MOB situation I could sling someone aboard with the davit. I for one will be looking at alternative life saving methods.
One thing comes to mind from my Navy background. Cargo nets, easy to stow and quick to deploy IF the person in the water has the strength to climb it. Might need to use a sling and net in some cases.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:58 AM   #212
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It is one thing to fall in and not be injured in some way to be able to get back into the boat.
But what if by falling in you have hurt yourself, sprained something, broke something, whacked your head, now it is that much harder to get back in.
That easy to get back in since you are physically very fit may now be very hard if your hurt.

I wonder if you see a shark would that give you an energy boost to get back in?
And the biggest threat of all may be water temperature. Most people don't realize how little time they can survive in very cold water. Even mild hypothermia leads to mental confusion. Plus a large percentage of those falling into cold water have consumed large quantities of alcohol which worsens the hypothermia significantly.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:35 PM   #213
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HiDHo, try to climb your ladder next time you get a chance. Our ladder may have been fine brand new. But, it has some years on it. The bottom half and the top half were connected with a wooden dowel the size of a broom stick (and maybe rivets). It clearly had rotten or shrunk over time. I'm not sure our friend was quite 300 lbs but he's a good 250.

After the fact, I thought about the options of hand crocheting a rough cargo net of some kind with dock lines. Really just a length of chain stitches to act like a slim ladder. It wouldn't be pretty, but might have been enough to help. And it has a lot of downside. Time. Loose knots. Snagging a foot and then falling back is a sure recipe for drowning.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:29 PM   #214
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River Rat, No wood, welded stainless steel.
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:40 PM   #215
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My swim platform is only about 6-8" above the water, and I have a ladder built into the platform but I've never tried to deploy it while in the water.
The ladder is covered by a hatch with a ring latch you pull on to raise it. That hatch might be difficult to raise from the water.

I need to try it from the water obviously...

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Old 09-05-2016, 08:59 PM   #216
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HiDHo, that ladder is much nicer and sturdier than ours was. And I looked at it again today and realized it wasn't attached with the dowel. The dowel was inside the ladder tubing for support. The ladder tubing just broke. I'll take a picture in the morning to show the break. One look at the ladder and everyone will agree it should have been replaced.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:13 PM   #217
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One look at the ladder and everyone will agree it should have been replaced.
After the fact, we'll all agree to that, but then how many of us would have replaced it before. I'm sure there are a lot of never used ladders on boats, that are also never inspected.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:35 AM   #218
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If your boarding ladder looks like this, you might want to test or replace it. The ladder broke where the next rung was screwed into the rails. The metal rails and the wooden interior support broke right off. The legs holding it away from the boat provided some good leverage for breaking.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:36 AM   #219
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And here's a closer look at the break.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:26 AM   #220
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While at it, if you have ladders elsewhere, to the flybridge, to the engine room, check them too. We were at a marina not long ago where a man was seriously injured due to a step that broke.
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