The Use of Ladders at B.S.C.

Ladders – Inspection and Safe Use

If used correctly, ladders are an excellent means for allowing access to an elevated position.
Basic terminology; rungs (the parts to stand on), stiles (the sides), head (the top) and foot (the bottom).


Most ladders at Burntisland are in the compound throughout the year, exposed to all weather. The material will degrade through time.

If ladders, wooden or alloy, have any broken or loose sections then they should be discarded as they are they are not safe to be used.

Most ladders can only be used one way up.

Ensure your rungs are clean and not slippery.

Safe Use

Make sure the ladder is long enough for the intended purpose, always ensure you can hold onto the ladder when mounting or dismounting. Ladders should not be used for long term operations, ideally for no more than 30 minutes at a time.

Ladders should be positioned ensuring that the mounting surface is adequate to support the ladder and users during operation, both towards the head and the foot.

The head of the ladder should be secured to prevent slippage.

Some boat owners prefer to cushion the head of the ladder to prevent the head from marking their boats. The foot of the ladder should be held until the head is secure.

Make sure the angle of the ladder is not too low or too high.

A good way to check is you should be able to stand vertically with your hands outstretched in front and hold the rungs. Too low an angle and you will not stand upright. Too high an angle and you feel like you will fall backwards. Recommend approximately 75 degrees to the ground.

Always face the ladder when ascending or descending. This is common sense but you’ll never believe the number of people that make the wrong choice.

When climbing a ladder, ensure that 3 points of contact is maintained. Take your time and practice.

Do not carry tools or other items when climbing ladders. Use a spare line to either lift or lower from your boat. Use a bag for loose bits and bobs; the supermarket bags for life have good handles and last reasonably well.

For the security of your boat, and others in the compound, always ensure your ladder is locked when stored.