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#201105 - 04/28/10 05:05 AM Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft.
aztecb Offline
Stranger

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 9
Loc: Texas, USA
I just bought a 1975 15 Ft. Skeeter. This is my first boat. My family is concerned I may fall overboard. Probably because I am 70 years of age and disabled.

But I don't want to just fade away at home. My health has been poorly since I retired. But now I feel better and it's go now or never. I promised my family to wear a PFD and buy a boarding ladder for the boat to use in an emergency.

I will try to have someone go fishing with me. But it will not always be possible. Truth is, I will be alone most of the time. I am not fool hardy however. I am just a guy that wants to go fishing on Lake Fork Texas. It's only five mile from home (Quitman) and it should be great fun.

I said all of that to ask you this: What ladder can I buy that will enable me to self rescue in the event I do fall over board? I have looked online and there are so many ladders saying "buy me" I am confused and don't know enough to exercise good judgement in my selection.
I would be grateful for your input.
Thank you ,
aztecb

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#201107 - 04/28/10 09:10 AM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: aztecb]
ljh Offline
Stranger

Registered: 07/31/03
Posts: 7
Loc: Florida
A boarding ladder that is permatantly mounted on the stern of the boat, this may also may depend on the length of your vessel. It folds up until needed, but is always there. You may want to pratice boarding the boat from the water, it is somewhat difficult ( do this with someone else onboard )
I would also look into an inflatible PFD. They inflate when the PFD gets wet automatically. Taking a boating course,approved by the Coast Guard or the state game commission also helps to make your fishing trip enjoyable.
Good luck.

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#201108 - 04/28/10 09:31 AM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: ljh]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
Using a "dead man" button (a spiral cord tied to you and the engine kill switch) greatly improves your chances. At the same time, moving about in the boat is somewhat limited when you're tied to the steering position with a 6' cord. In my opinion, most of the stuff you want to do in a 15' boat is done close to the steering position anyway. The exception is tying and untying the bow line, but then you're close to land anyway.


As with most things, using the kill switch line is a trade-off between convenience and safety. The most fail safe is to have the kill switch line permanently tied to your PDF. Whenever you stop the engine you remove the kill switch from the engine and bring it with you. That could be too cumbersome when you're alone and has to go all the way to the front to deal with the bow line. But there are ways around that, depending on how your particular marina is laid out. You could release the bow line, start your engine and then do the aft line.


The second best thing is to force yourself into the habit of using it whenever the engine is running and you're further than 50' from land. Making such routines stick takes dedication. Chances are you'll skip it the day you really need it.

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#201110 - 04/28/10 10:47 AM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: aztecb]
Byrd_Huntr Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 1174
Loc: MN, Land O' Lakes & Rivers ...
Originally Posted By: aztecb
I just bought a 1975 15 Ft. Skeeter. This is my first boat. My family is concerned I may fall overboard. Probably because I am 70 years of age and disabled.

But I don't want to just fade away at home. My health has been poorly since I retired. But now I feel better and it's go now or never. I promised my family to wear a PFD and buy a boarding ladder for the boat to use in an emergency.

I will try to have someone go fishing with me. But it will not always be possible. Truth is, I will be alone most of the time. I am not fool hardy however. I am just a guy that wants to go fishing on Lake Fork Texas. It's only five mile from home (Quitman) and it should be great fun.

I said all of that to ask you this: What ladder can I buy that will enable me to self rescue in the event I do fall over board? I have looked online and there are so many ladders saying "buy me" I am confused and don't know enough to exercise good judgement in my selection.
I would be grateful for your input.
Thank you ,
aztecb


I have spent a lot of time on the water and even though I am no expert, I have a little advice. Be sure you have been trained in boat and water safety by your state DNR, and that you know how to operate every system on the boat to include loading and unloading at the ramp. You should have a few basic tools with you, and bring a cell phone in a waterproof pouch in case your motor dies on the other side of the lake. If you fall in, it is very difficult to drag yourself up on a ladder even in shallow water, and you could end up just hanging on it, that is assuming you can even get to it. Without fail, use a tether and kill switch as mentioned above by MostlyHarmless, and spend some money on a high quality life vest which you NEVER take off. This could save your life if you fall in. You should have someone with you, but it's sometimes difficult to do. Is there a rod and gun club you could join? You will have to be extraordinarily cautious of you choose to go out alone. And a reminder that you will fry on the water in minutes if you don't cover your head, arms, and legs.
_________________________
The man got the powr but the byrd got the wyng

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#201111 - 04/28/10 11:11 AM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: Byrd_Huntr]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: southern Cal
A competent companion is your best safety device. And, of course, i have soloed plenty myself, including in a kayak. Equip your PFD with signal mirror, flares, and smoke if case you get away from the boat.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#201274 - 05/02/10 02:36 AM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: hikermor]
GarlyDog Offline
τΏτ
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
A paddle or two is handy if the motor dies in an inconvenient location, which is just about anywhere away from the dock.
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Gary








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#201288 - 05/02/10 09:00 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: GarlyDog]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Killswitch hooked to your PID in use at all times the big motor runs is critical.

Water entry into bass boats is usually possible by "climbing" the dead big motor. If your engine has hydraulic tilt witha an activator button or switch near the big motor you can use this to get you up once you have gotten your feet on the motor skeg.

An after market fin on the skeg is highly recommended for stability, hole shot and turning stability, etcetera, and makes a great foot rest to aid getting bubba back in the boat.

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#201572 - 05/10/10 03:44 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15 [Re: aztecb]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2471
A rope with a stirrup or two may help as well... see c level here

Some serious, practical research here lots on boat rescue ladders

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#201579 - 05/10/10 05:59 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: aztecb]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Hi, aztecb,

I'm from Denison and went to college in Commerce.

I have a couple of suggestions other than a ladder. Please buy a top notch life preserver, and get a strobe light attached to it. Get a strobe that is water-activated. If you fall in, your life vest will keep you afloat, and your strobe will be set off automatically.

Also get a waterproof airhorn. AquaBlast makes one, and I'll guess there are others. Attach that to your life vest, too.

Getting in and out of a boat in the water is a tough haul no matter what your age, especially when no one's at the helm. With a good PFD, strobe, and airhorn, if you find yourself in the water you can signal for help and be seen more easily. A good life preserver with SOLAS reflectors and colors will keep you high and visible (relativelyl) during the day and night, and three blasts on the airhorn in series will tell people someone needs help.

I'm not suggesting giving up on a ladder, but be prepared with alternatives so you don't have to haul yourself out if you can get someone over to give you a hand.

Good luck with those bass, my friend. I used to fish for crappie in the pond on our farm and fry 'em up on the spot. Spoiled me for fish in a restaurant which were way older.

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#201600 - 05/10/10 10:26 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: philip]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
I thought both Philip and M.H. made good points, especially about having a MOB kill switch.

After looking on the map I see that this lake is pretty narrow so even if you went overboard you stand a good chance of swimming to shore, especially in your life vest.

I am not sure how large your boat really is. Some 15 footers are heavy enough that you could climb in over the gunwale without tipping, but if it is a light boat you might be dragging the gunwale down to the water and almost swimming into the boat.

I would consider a rope or slat ladder on a light boat.
I would also consider making sure it could be reached from the water at all times, possibly lashed with light line over the gunwale or stern.

Another idea might be a small step on the stern to pull yourself up on.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#203518 - 06/16/10 02:01 AM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: scafool]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
Gosh, I'm 62 years old, and have been boating since before I could walk, and I have never accidentally fallen out of a boat. Ever. I even used to stand up in my Grumman lightweight canoe and flyfish. If there seems to be a danger of falling out of your boat, I'd get a safer boat.

Have a great time! Don't forget the cooler and snacks!

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#203524 - 06/16/10 12:19 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: sotto]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: sotto
Gosh, I'm 62 years old, and have been boating since before I could walk, and I have never accidentally fallen out of a boat. Ever.


Good for you.

I have never been in a traffic accident where wearing a seat belt made any difference what so ever to the outcome. Ever. I still wear seat belts when I'm driving.

I probably can't match your level of boating experience, but personally, I've never fell out of a boat. Ever. I still urge people to use PFD's and kill-switches, in particular when alone. An entry ladder seems like a good idea, too.

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#203557 - 06/17/10 02:05 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: MostlyHarmless]
Compugeek Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 392
Loc: San Diego, CA
Okay, I'm obviously ignorant, why is climbing a ladder to get back into a boat from water harder than climbing a ladder on dry land?

Is it the extra weight of the water in your clothing once you fall in?

Or is it because a boarding ladder usually only has one or two rungs below the surface, so you start out basically crouched on the bottom of the ladder?

Or is it the water temperature, since most "natural" water is rather cool, even cold?

Or all of the above?


I've climbed ladders out of swimming pools many times with no noticeable difficulty, but I recognize that:

A. I was not wearing full clothing,
B. The ladder extended well below the surface, and
C. The water was heated.


Edited by Compugeek (06/17/10 02:05 PM)
_________________________
Okey-dokey. What's plan B?

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#203565 - 06/17/10 05:13 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: Compugeek]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
There are many factors, and we have unknown unknowns. For example, the original post says:

> Probably because I am 70 years of age and disabled.

So what are your conclusions and recommendations based on that comment, please?

Boarding ladders vary. I tried to climb into a boat from a boarding ladder, and when I stepped on the bottom rung, the ladder jammed my fingers into the side of the boat firmly enough I couldn't pull them out while on the ladder. I had to step off so that the ladder floated free again. Putting my hands in different positions solved the problem, but there's a limit to how many times someone can make an effort and that limit varies with the constraints suffered by the someone who's making the effort. I'll note that the ladder was on the side of a moving boat; the ladder was hanging over the railing and not otherwise fixed to the boat; it did not hang far below the surface and required me to have my legs bent up at such an angle that I couldn't easily stand up on the ladder - I had to haul myself up with my upper body more than I could use my stronger legs and hips; the lower ladder went out away from me when I put weight on it, making it harder to stand and putting more of my weight on my torso; and etc.

The original poster is 70 and disabled in some way. So yes, the weight of wet clothes may be an issue but we don't know his upper body strength or what his disability is. Either he may be unable to pull himself up or he may not have the flexibility to get his feet on the bottom rung of the ladder. So having only a couple of rungs below the water may be a problem. We don't know.

The big issue is whether our original poster is conscious when he falls overboard. People faint for any number of reasons: heat, dehydration, meds, lack of meds, dizziness. He's not going to climb back in if he's lost consciousness.

> I've climbed ladders out of swimming pools many times with no
> noticeable difficulty

I'm very happy for you. As you say, the ladder extended well below the surface. Additionally, the ladder was bolted to the side of the pool and didn't move; it was extended away from the wall of the pool so you could stand on the treads and get a grip on the rails; the ladder was vertical and didn't slant away from you at the bottom. Etc.

This means a boarding ladder may not be the best answer if he falls in, although we can't know from the information at hand. So compromises are in order. Get a boarding ladder is my suggestion (since that seems to make his family happy), but don't rely on that device alone. People made suggestions of alternatives so that he didn't sink and drown if he couldn't haul himself out of the water.

Generally (not specifically this thread) there are two things about requests for help. The first is to read the original post and see what issues the poster raises so that answers address his/her stated issues, but also suggest other problems the poster may not see. Second, we all assume the other person is just like us and that whatever we think is right for us will be right for the original poster. This second part is almost never the case. I've climbed out of swimming pools on ladders innumerable times; the question is whether that applies to the situation at hand. You've asked, and this post is my answer.

I've never fallen off a boat. Thousands of people do, however. When I learned to sail, every course I took included how to get back to and pick up a man overboard, including conscious and unconscious 'victims.' Given the statement that the original poster is 70 and to some extent disabled, it seems prudent to offer suggestions on surviving falling overboard and not being able to get back in.

Sorry this is so long.

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#203566 - 06/17/10 05:18 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: Compugeek]
chickenlittle Offline
Member

Registered: 06/06/10
Posts: 102
Loc: Canada
Most of the reason boarding ladders are physically harder to climb is the angle is wrong.
Boarding ladders are vertical at best, Usually they are at a negative angle. Also you often find they lack toe relief so it is harder to get your foot on the rung.

If they are rope it is even worse.
They will tend to pull out at the top while letting your feet go toward them and pushing with your legs just shoves your feet farther away from you while you end up hanging from your arms, almost like you were lying on your back and trying to pull yourself vertical.
This also shoves the ladder against the side of the boat at your foot level and makes it hard to get your feet into it.

Some people who work on rope ladders tend to put the rope between their legs so they can put their feet on the rungs from both sides, they find them easier to climb like that.

Another problem is that most boarding ladders do not have any projection above the gunwale. On land you usually set a ladder with at least 3 feet of ladder sticking up above what you are climbing.
This makes it much easier to step on and off the ladder.

Edit:
Philip got his answer posted up between the time I started to answer and got mine posted.
It is a good answer and obviously I agree with him.

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#203605 - 06/18/10 01:39 PM Re: Self Rescue boarding ladd 1975 Skeeter boat 15Ft. [Re: chickenlittle]
Compugeek Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 392
Loc: San Diego, CA
Thanks for the answers, that was the kind of info I was looking for. I noted where the OP said he was disabled, but the tone of responses indicated boarding ladders were difficult to climb in general, and I was curious.

If I came off at all "Well, I don't see why it's so hard," I apologize. That was not my intent.
_________________________
Okey-dokey. What's plan B?

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