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Old 01-12-2016, 07:19 PM   #81
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Our platform is solid so the spacing, strength/loading wasn't critical. Center to center the ladder width is 14" with the deck backing plate (2) diameter is 2.75" by 3.0". How's your spacing?
I'd need to measure the next time we're at the boat. I'm guessing each strip is about 2 inches wide with a slightly narrower slot between them. If the four mounting bolts pictured in your photos would straddle a strip, two on each side, it would be easy enough to make a "sandwich" of teak boards or stainless straps that could be clamped to the swimstep in the same manner as the boards that hold our Weaver Snap Davits. If the pairs of bolts are too close together to straddle a strip I'd have to drill though the strip and I won't do that. Not on a 43-year-old swim step.

A project for when we have more time is to build a new, wider (fore and aft) teak swimstep for the boat with an improved design over what American Marine did in 1973. Then we could incorporate a way of attaching a ladder like yours into the design. But that project's a ways off yet.

I'll check out the catalogs to see what the attachment bolt spacing is on ladders like yours.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:26 PM   #82
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I know this thread is premised on having fallen overboard in terrible conditions... however... the most important need is to not fall off the boat. Therefore and because of that need, I am extremely pleased that our Tollycraft has safety railing that surrounds every exterior location. I know that Mark's Coot is also excellently set up similarly,


In addition to getting back aboard via ladder and pull rope etc... again I say; the most important need is to NOT fall off the boat.
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Old 01-12-2016, 11:30 PM   #83
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The times changing was in direct response to the statement about people learning to pee overboard when young and on boats with no head. I think all the boats on here do have heads.

I have no idea about zippers up or down or percentage of drownings due to peeing. Regardless, I know that to go to the original scenario which involved going on deck at night alone to pee overboard and subsequently falling overboard, it seems to me an unnecessary risk. I've still not heard any good reason for it. If I'm missing that, I apologize, but peeing over the side or off the swim step has just never crossed my mind except when discussed here.
So you don't go out on deck at night?.... in good weather I typically do a round the pilothouse behind the Portuguese bridge walls every 30 minutes or so.. it keeps me awake, allows me to see and smell/hear stuff I cannot from the bridge. Personally I don't like to wake my crew when they are off watch by using the head or turning on lights.. just to pee. I do have rules to follow as to where one goes to lessen the possibility of falling overboard so it is really quite safe.
It could also stem from the fact that at home.. on 5 acres I get to do the same thing without fear of offending the neighbors.
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Old 01-13-2016, 12:44 AM   #84
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So you don't go out on deck at night?....
HOLLYWOOD
I don't go out on deck at night to pee over the side.

Note also the OP was referring to anchored and getting up out of bed to go to the deck. If I see the need to get out of bed and go walk around the deck under those circumstances I'm going to wear a flotation device and/or get someone else as an observer.
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:37 AM   #85
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Art just brought up or repeated the most important point of all....DONT GO OVERBOARD!!!.......


Good conditions, bad conditions, checking the decks or peeing....


Just because you have flotation on or even have flotation AND tethered to the boat doesn't mean that if alone and no way back on board in those conditions you won't die of hypothermia strapped to your boat.


These threads tend to over simplify or over complicate reality. Most people with a bit of experience tend to risk manage OK.


Do they bat a 1000?


No, even the best don't... so taking risks but minimizing the hazards results in the same outcomes as taking no risks it seems.


Much like how you risk manage your whole life extends to the boat too.... just being aware of what can get you is as important as anything....but the moral of the story is...if you DO go out on deck and are alone...at any time or anyplace...you better have a dang good self recovery setup and be in good enough physical shape to use it in some extreme conditions.


Of just accept the fact that you might die out there.

Oh yeah....wearing a small PLB on you or your jacket might be a good idea too!
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:10 AM   #86
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I know this thread is premised on having fallen overboard in terrible conditions... however... the most important need is to not fall off the boat. Therefore and because of that need, I am extremely pleased that our Tollycraft has safety railing that surrounds every exterior location. I know that Mark's Coot is also excellently set up similarly,

In addition to getting back aboard via ladder and pull rope etc... again I say; the most important need is to NOT fall off the boat.
Actually Art, the premise of the thread is "can you get back on your boat by yourself" I threw in some adverse conditions for dissussion.

I really question whether or not somone is going to get up in the middle of the night get dressed put on a personal locating device, a personal flotation device, connect themselves to safety line just to look around the anchorage, if so you honestly are either super safe or paranoid, relax a bit and enjoy anchoring out.

Depending on my proximity to other boats and the temp. I may or may not put shorts or sweatpants on. I enjoy the deck late at night in a nice anchorage looking at the moon and the stars in the peace and serenity of nature. Perhaps I am weird, perhaps I can't afford a marina every night.


Like I said the real promise was simple, if you fell off your boat can you get back on without anybody else helping. I question my ability to do so and I'm looking into ways to solve that.

Big strong sturdy rails, safety lines, not going out on deck, not falling in in the first place, all these are great ideas however not what the thread was based on.

You know the old saying "a ship is always safe in the harbor but that's not what ships were built for".

I threw in the other conditions to add some urgency to getting out and the broken wrist was to question how easy it would it be to climb out.

I envy the setups many of you have, they are well thought out and would work even under the conditions I gave. A platform close to the water with an easy to use ladder seems to be key.

Thanks again for all of the input,you guys are great.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:43 AM   #87
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The boat has a swim platform with the original equipment ladder. The lower ladder segment (platform elevation down to 2-3' below waterline when extended) is hinged with a friction hinge that maintains the position it's left in. At anchor, the ladder is always extended for reboarding after an unintended swim.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:58 AM   #88
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Thanks again for all of the input,you guys are great.
Greatness lies with the OP to this safety-thought provoking thread - i.e. YOU - Scott...

The premise of multiple choice terrible conditions you mentioned as a selection, once haven fallen off boat, and the fear-factor of oh-shat... how would I ever get back aboard solo; sure got my asssss to pucker when I thought the entire scene through under selections you offered. It was the broken wrist choice that really made me wonder if I could survive. No matter how well railed any boat's exterior decks may be there is still chance of falling off.

Thanks for this very scary yet safety-thought inducing life saving exercise. I've already discussed with wife some small yet important get-back-aboard-solo improvements.

I too love to go outside on decks in dead of night and spend sometimes an hour or more to star gaze, check anchor, make sure anchor light is still blazing, view general surroundings... and yes, pee off side if I damn well feel like it! That said, I do not go out specifically for a pee... I do use the head when in boat at night.

Different strokes for different folks! May everyone remain safe aboard boat! Excellent thread, thanks!!
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Old 01-13-2016, 10:19 AM   #89
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I participated in the rescue of a fellow who fell between his inflatable and the boat. He never knew how it happened. What happened is this:

It was daytime (middle of the day) and I was sitting in my galley. I heard some bozo yelling "hello" a far piece away. Finally I got up and looked around. I spotted an extra white ball at the bow of the boat moored across the anchorage from me. Binocs confirmed it was our Bob.

First thing: I got on the VHF and said Maverick's Bob was in the water. I got immediate radio confirmation.

(We had a radio net and I cannot stress enough how TOTALLY GREAT that was. It gave me a sense of friends at hand and support one dinghy away.)

Next I got in Algae and headed for Bob with a spare life jacket. He was without and I knew I could not get him out but I thought the life preserver would buy him time until the fellows could come.

While about 1/4 of the way to Bob's boat a closer boat started up and headed his way. I knew Saphira was in a far better place to help so returned to Seaweed.

In the meantime In Anneoin was on the radio to Coast Guard JAX. She'd seen the Coasties launching a couple of gun boats for a Submarine escort so we had young help at hand. When the VHF to JAX wasn't productive she signaled the kids on shore what the problem was and where.

They pushed the throttles full tilt and had Bob hoisted out of the water in less than a minute.

Lessons Learned:
#1) Having a boarding ladder safely stowed in the cockpit locker "for when I go cruising" was stupid. That same afternoon it went over the side and was firmly attached to the stanchions.

Later Katja made him a great little bag so it stayed out of the water and was easily deployed.

#2) Bob didn't realize he could not reboard his deflatable. Physically it was not possible.

#3) It was cold, he was not wearing any floatation and that could have been far worse. Even if he made it to shore he'd have been cold and wet. Brrr.

#4) Of all the boats in the anchorage only two of us had boarding ladders accessible from the water. That was In Anneoin and Seaweed.

I suspect one of the fellows thought because he could climb over when younger he could do so fifty pounds heavier and twenty years older. Thankfully he never tested the theory because that could have been ugly.

Bob had one of those collapsing rope ladders with the red plastic steps shown on Defender, West, and other places. They slide very nicely under the boat and are a pain to climb even when all is well.

In my view they are a good idea in theory, better than nothing, barely.

Ladders that angle out make boarding much easier than my up and down ladder.

Scottie's question is one anyone aboard should consider. The "someone else is always aboard" doesn't wash. I've seen folks float items behind the boat to aid in reboarding. A towel for the cat to climb has been seen too.

As for going on deck in the middle of O'dark-thirty, but of course. That's what I do anyway. After all I have to check on my stars and like watching them march across the sky. The fresh air is wonderful and listening to the night sounds, well, it's spiritual. There is nothing between me and Thee and I do some of my best pondering out there.

When the Kidlets were younger we'd sit out back on the seawall (owned a house then) and "fish" ... mostly though we talked. There is an anonymity in the dark and I suspect they told me far more than they might have done in the bright lights. That's why sitting on the bow is good for me. It's like I can touch the memories....

I've rambled. I'll hush now.

Being able to reboard without assistance is critical and is one of the items that needs priority. Inexpensive solutions exist. Velcro is easy to open from the water (have a long string to pull) so you can keep your solution free from barnacles and accessible too.

Aboard Seaweed I'm pondering a second ladder solution. If Algae is on the swim platform my ladder is inaccessible. That is unacceptable so I do a lot of dinghy bottom scraping. Ugh. There's got to be a better way.

Am considering a 12" by 24" piece of wood tied at the four corners (think enlarged swing)

Lowered it would snug up against the flat side of the hull before it turns for the bottom/bottom. From there (about 8" below the waterline) I could get up I think. Or at least almost totally out of the water. A fender tied next to the swing would be the final step up to the side deck. It would not be ideal. It might work though.

Still pondering... while I look fora scrap of board.

P.S. - The only other person I know who has fallen in also was like Bob. It happened so fast he has no idea what went wrong. That is probably the biggest issue for the gent. He was in no danger however the speed with which he hit the water (and the language!!!) was rapid.

As for WHY he has no clue. It shook him up -- the standard questions "am I getting too old for this?" and "what if?" plague his psyche. He's a sailor so is working it out silently but I've seen him sitting on his balcony staring at his sailboat....
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:29 PM   #90
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The very fact we're then discussing them falling overboard and not making it back shows further how totally illogical it is. I guess they're the same ones who on land go outside and pee in the bushes.
Doesn't everyone?
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Old 01-13-2016, 01:42 PM   #91
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So you don't go out on deck at night?.... in good weather I typically do a round the pilothouse behind the Portuguese bridge walls every 30 minutes or so.. it keeps me awake, allows me to see and smell/hear stuff I cannot from the bridge. Personally I don't like to wake my crew when they are off watch by using the head or turning on lights.. just to pee. I do have rules to follow as to where one goes to lessen the possibility of falling overboard so it is really quite safe.
It could also stem from the fact that at home.. on 5 acres I get to do the same thing without fear of offending the neighbors.
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Yep.
I like being forced to leave my warm pilot house at night and see, feel the air and weather.

Having the Raritan system, I could never see the point of using fresh water, salt and electricity and two pumps, hoses, etc to process urine.

And one wonders why we have global warming.
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:43 PM   #92
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I have a simple hinged 'L' shaped ladder on my small swim platform which folds down, extending 3 rungs into the water. I have no problem climbing it, but others have struggled getting their centre of gravity over the ladder rungs. They can't get past the stage of feet on the bottom rug, hands on the top rung, and butt sticking out aft. A ladder which pivots under the boat when climbing would be even more difficult to use.

As Janice mentioned, angling the ladder slightly outward at the bottom would make a big difference. Grab handles at the top of the ladder would help as well.
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:10 PM   #93
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I really question whether or not somone is going to get up in the middle of the night get dressed put on a personal locating device, a personal flotation device, connect themselves to safety line just to look around the anchorage, if so you honestly are either super safe or paranoid, relax a bit and enjoy anchoring out.
You described unpleasant and unsafe conditions, including being alone. Conditions where somemone wouldn't usually go out just to enjoy, but might to check ground tackle.
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:00 PM   #94
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Consider the reduced sense of balance in people of "a certain age". Over 60s (or even younger) are warned not to climb ladders as balance becomes compromised. Compensatory vision positioning can help, remove that and balance remains imperiled.
Something to consider moving around a boat outside to avoid getting in the water in the first place,especially at night.
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:10 PM   #95
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You described unpleasant and unsafe conditions, including being alone. Conditions where somemone wouldn't usually go out just to enjoy, but might to check ground tackle.


I did? Unsafe? Unpleasant?


Where did I say that?

I said the "normal conditions you anchor in" then added in a few normal and common conditions for further discussion.


Many boat in cold water all year.

Current, just anchor near any inlet on the EICW or in the islands.

Waves could be a passing boat and chop is no reason to stay home.

I hope you don't consider the conditions I described as unsafe or even unpleasant, they were not meant to be.

Dark, well that is half of the day, everyday.

Many folks single-hand and often.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:16 PM   #96
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I said the "normal conditions you anchor in" then added in a few normal and common conditions for further discussion.

The conditions you described are the absolute norm for this region. Actually a 2.1 knot current is slow around here.

When we decided to add a Livingston dinghy to our swimstep as a more user-friendly shoreboat than the lovely little Montgomery sailing/rowing dinghy that came with the boat in a cradle on the aft cabin we initially thought we would simply row it.

We did for the better part of a year and then we were in a marine park in the San Juans and while rowing the dog to shore got into a current that was leaving the small bay we were in through a narrow cut. The situation was not dangerous at all and I managed to get free of the current by rowing as hard as I could for some five minutes. Even if we'd been swept through the short cut we could have rowed to shore on the other side.

But it was immediately obvious that if the situation had been different with an emergency involved, getting swept away from where one wanted to go could be a major problem. When we got home the next day we bought an outboard for the Livingston.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:52 PM   #97
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As can be discerned by Scott's initial post #1 and Marin's post #96... boating may be hazardous to your health - But, Ain't It Fun!!

IMO - If ya simply gotta go to the big house... by/during boating is the way I choose to take off from earth.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:28 PM   #98
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The conditions you described are the absolute norm for this region. Actually a 2.1 knot current is slow around here.

When we decided to add a Livingston dinghy to our swimstep as a more user-friendly shoreboat than the lovely little Montgomery sailing/rowing dinghy that came with the boat in a cradle on the aft cabin we initially thought we would simply row it.

We did for the better part of a year and then we were in a marine park in the San Juans and while rowing the dog to shore got into a current that was leaving the small bay we were in through a narrow cut. The situation was not dangerous at all and I managed to get free of the current by rowing as hard as I could for some five minutes. Even if we'd been swept through the short cut we could have rowed to shore on the other side.

But it was immediately obvious that if the situation had been different with an emergency involved, getting swept away from where one wanted to go could be a major problem. When we got home the next day we bought an outboard for the Livingston.



No different than plotting a coarse, dead reckoning , think , the water Is moving and while you are traveling along with it, you can control the end result if you understand that movement. Might not be where you want to go Butt , it could give a live result.

2 knot current. cold water

Marin I have said this before !!! work with the conditions present, even if that's not your intended destination or wants, do not fight a 2. knot current work with it.

Please Marin and others forgive my rambling , my words, but I love the example Marin provided, I hope you understand my use.

That story ends with a great work out for you Marin, along with providing a ton of knowledge .

Try as you might in 2 knots of current, ? at knight ? by yourself ? left with a gotta swim for my life, broken wrist deal and wa la. Marin just wanted to get him and the pup home.

You swim for 1 hour trying to get to the boat, that tender, that ladder off the swim grid !

**** me its just on the back of the boat, Its only 10 feet away, its only 5 feet away, its only 20 feet away, gotta get my boots off , shoulda gone for that boat behind us, its ****ing cold.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:48 PM   #99
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Marin I have said this before !!! work with the conditions present, even if that's not your intended destination or wants, do not fight a 2. knot current work with it.
It wasn't a 2 knot current. I'm guessing it was a five or six knot current as the water flowed through the bay from its mouth on Georgia Strait and poured out the narrow cut at the head of the bay back into open water.

We wanted to go to the beach at the head of the bay and didn't think the current going out the cut was a strong as it was. So we were being carried out the narrow cut. I didn't try to row against the current--- that was obviously futile. So I rowed across it as hard as I could hoping to get to the far side of the cut before we were carried out into open water.

It worked and as I say, even if we had been carried out of he cut into open water the current strength would have dissipated quickly once outside the cut and we could have rowed ashore or, worst case, rowed all the way around the little island that formed one side of the bay and gone back to the boat with the current going into the bay.

Both my wife and I know all about crabbing across currents from our long flying experience, albeit currents of air not water although in the floatplane we have to contend with the liquid form, too. So we knew exactly what was happening and why.

This was a no-danger situation. But in different circumstances where it might be very important to get the dinghy to shore where we needed to get it to shore, being swept in the wrong direction by a current could prove dangerous or even life-threatening. So we bought the motor.
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Old 01-13-2016, 09:13 PM   #100
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I apologize Marin, Missed my mark.
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