Embarkation Ladders: Uses, Rigging, and Construction

An embarkation ladder, often also referred to as a pilot ladder, is a special type of rope ladder used most commonly on cargo vessels. Cargo vessels require embarkation ladders so that expert ship handlers, known as pilots, can move between their small, high-speed pilot ship and the cargo vessel. Pilots are responsible for manoeuvring large cargo ships through congested waterways, such as harbors, because they have detailed knowledge of the area.


Pilotag is compulsory at many ports around the world, as waterways can simply get too congested for cargo ships to safely berth and unberth without being manoeuvred by a pilot. As such, it is important for cargo ships to have high-quality, functioning embarkation ladders ready to allow pilots on board. Aside from transport by a helicopter, embarkation ladders are the only other method by which a pilot can board a cargo vessel at sea.


The state and quality of an embarkation ladder is often the first impression of a vessel and its crew that a maritime pilot is met with. It should be kept in good condition and be properly rigged, as unsafe personnel transfer at sea can easily lead to an emergency situation. Pilot ladders need to be well-secured, and most preferably at the strongest point midway along the ship. They must cover the entire length from the ship's deck down to the water level, but special care needs to be made to ensure that the ladder is kept clear of all ship discharges.


The quality and safety of an embarkation ladder depends not only on how it is rigged, but also on how it is constructed. No matter how well-rigged a ladder may be, it could still pose a safety risk if not made of quality materials and with quality craftsmanship. Embarkation ladders need to be made in accordance with industry standards of materials, rung spacing, and rope thickness. Non-slip surfaces and polysteel or manila ropes can make all the difference between safe embarkation and a major mishap.


Because of the importance of embarkation ladders in maritime personnel transport, you need to ensure that all of your embarkation ladders are made of high quality materials and by the hands of commercial rope experts who know what they are doing. You can find just that level of quality and commitment to craftsmanship at Redden Net & Rope Ltd. High breaking strength certifications can be supplied.


At Redden Net & Rope Ltd. we have 50 years of experience providing supplies and ropes to the maritime industry. We have since expanded to provide rope ladders and embarkation ladders for the Canadian Coast Guard and for a variety of other commercial and industrial applications. Our embarkation ladders are made with an eye for safety and long lasting craftsmanship.


If you're in need of high-quality embarkation ladders for your vessel, or if you have any further questions about our products, then don't hesitate to get in touch with Redden Net & Rope Ltd. We pride ourselves on coming up with the best solutions for all of our clients' needs.

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