Filed Under (Boating Safety) by Debbie on 22-01-2008

Recently a club member fell overboard in the marina and ended up in the cold Columbia River.  He struggled against the current and tried to climb up to his boat but couldn’t.  Thankfully, a club member heard him splashing about and with the help of another member they managed to pull him from the cold water.  No swim ladder off his boat and more importantly he didn’t have on a vest.

A similar thing happened to another person I know, she fell overboard in her marina but no one was around to hear.  She did have a swim ladder but wasn’t able to reach it, thus it took her quite a bit of effort to get to safety.  Her story prompted a modification to our swim ladder.

Safety latch on swim ladder 

 We installed an easy to open latch and I macramed a pull cord that hangs down close to the water.  If one of us were to fall overboard it would be fairly easy to jerk this line and lower the ladder.  If you don’t know how to macrame you should be able to find a book at your local library.  It’s easy to learn.  My line is simply a series of square knots over a long cord.

 Ladder pull cord

Being able to get yourself out of the water without help could be one of the most important things you can do.  This is a simple fix for any mounted swim ladder and something even a small child could deploy.  Remember, being self-sufficient is a big part of the boating experience.  Set this safety line in place on your swim ladder today.

5 Comments posted on "A safer boat swim ladder"
Newport 30 Sailboat Review on May 15th, 2008 at 8:57 am #

[…] make getting back aboard much more convenient.  If you’ve not read yet about how to have a safer swim ladder than maybe you […]

Taver on February 13th, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

Now that is a good idea. It will be on my Newport 30 soon.

Debbie on February 15th, 2011 at 11:22 am #

Thanks Taver,

It’s pretty easy to fix up and could just save a life! I figure if someone falls in around our boat the could use our ladder to get out of the water.

Sarah on September 19th, 2012 at 7:52 am #

We discussed this at our club and Mickey who lives aboard a boat says that you can get on to the dock of where any boat is moored by pulling down the lines and climbing up them. Seems like good sense.

Debbie on September 19th, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

Hi Sarah,

Haven’t a clue what lines he’s talking about but most marinas have emergency ladders etc. If however you’re out and about and fall overboard and no one is around to help, it’s a good idea to be able to deploy your ladder and get back aboard.

Plus if you’re older you may not be able to make it againsa current to the emergency measures the marina may have.

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