September 17, 2018

DOCK LADDER

Down toward the Jelly Fish Cove end of Spinnaker Bay, the neighbors have been bearing the hot summer by swimming in our canals. It has been a fun activity to meet neighbors and simply float around for an hour or so to combat the heat. With a beer in hand and any number of flotation devices from donuts to mattresses to noodles, the waters of Spinnaker Bay have proven to be both clean and fun. 

Problem

The biggest problem we have is finding a way to get back out of the water. Sometimes we can find a boat with a ladder in the water. But normally, there is no real safe way of getting back up onto the docks. Last week, a neighbor thought she would dive in to cool off, when she realized that there was no way out. She swam around looking for boat ladders. She was in the water for two hours when someone came by in a Duffy and helped her out. 

Just before we moved in 6 years ago, a young woman jumped in the water at night, swam around and could not find a way to exit. She got tired, and drowned near the Long Point finger. Neighbors reported that she had been drinking and partying when this occurred. Hmm… well good thing that none of us are guilty of that, eh?

Solution

Roger Civalleri (Long Point) spoke with Glen Palmer who shared a solution. Roger created it, and voila, it seems to work. So many of our neighbors have asked that this be shared with the rest of our neighbors, so here it is.

I made this from a piece of wood, then covered it with several layers of grey marine paint. it wedges nicely around our dock cleats. The little caps you see are the end caps for the ladder itself. See next image.

This is how the ladder fits into it. You can see that the rubber caps wedge under the edge of the wood.

This is what is looks like from the water side. Notice that the ladder had 2 supporting legs that lean into the dock float below the cleat. NOTE: NOT ALL CLEATS ARE ABOVE A DOCK FLOAT. With the dock float, the ladder will shift under the dock when used making it nearly impossible to climb up. Make sure you are on a cleat over a dock float.

I purchased the ladder itself from West Marine.

Here are the specs I used to create my ladder/cleat board.

Please bear in mind that I am neither a woodworker nor an engineer. I am simply a neighbor solving a problem and sharing the solution. But this has worked for us on Long Point, and perhaps this can work for you too. Good luck.