best dock ladder for salt water

Best Dock Ladder For Salt Water: A Complete Guide

Find the perfect dock ladder is not an easy task. And if you want to one for salt water, it gets even tricker. This guide will help you find the best dock ladder for salt water and things you should remember before buying one.

Dock ladders give you sturdy support when descending from or ascending to the pier, dock or deck. They prevent slips and other accidents during the climbing process and are a more durable option for getting in and out of the water.

However, the safety of a dock ladder is highly dependent on whether you choose the right one or not.

Best Dock Ladder For Salt Water

ImageNameWeight CapacityCheck Price
Hoffen Stainless Steel Docking Ladder600 pounds
Great Northern 4 Step Swing-up Dock Ladder550 pounds
Dock Edge Stand-Off Dock Ladder400 pounds
Marinebaby Dock And Pontoon Ladder600 pounds
JIF Marine Products 5 DJX5-W750 pounds
Dock Edge Wide Step Dock Ladder665 pounds

You must consider a lot of factors, like the physical capacity of the people using it, the kind of water it will be in contact with, the maximum weight that it must support, the material it is made of and so on.

For example, if the dock ladder is meant to be used in saltwater more, like the sea or a salt river, it has to have some extra features than a dock meant to be used in freshwater.

If you plan to use your dock ladder in both kinds of water, getting the one for saltwater is the right decision.

This is because salt water is more corrosive than freshwater. In fact, it is a very bad idea to compromise and get a dock ladder meant to be used in freshwater only, for use in saltwater.

It will not only jeopardize your safety but also reduce the durability and strength of the ladder substantially. Always use a dock ladder for saltwater if your pier is in salty water or you take your boat out in a salty water body.

salt water dock ladder

Types Of Dock Ladders For Salt Water

Dock ladders for saltwater have pretty much the same types as a normal dock ladder. Any optimization done on a dock ladder for saltwater does not affect the type or structure of the ladder.

Thus, the type of ladder you get depends entirely on your choice.

Of course, you have to take into consideration the kind of pier or deck you will install it on, the kind of people who will use it, the frequency of usage and the number of hours it will be submerged in the water. Accordingly, the choices you have are as follows:

Straight/Stationary

This is the simplest type of dock ladder for saltwater that you can get. It is attached permanently to the dock by the rails of the ladder. It is topped by rounded handrails and the platform should reach into the water. As the name itself suggests, this dock ladder for saltwater is immovable. This means that you will not be able to move the ladder away from the water and it will remain submerged at all times. This makes it one of the options in the list most vulnerable to corrosion.

Finger Pier

The finger pier dock ladder for saltwater is not very different from a stationary dock ladder.

The only distinction lies in the fact that finger pier ladders have the handrails extending straight up instead of curving back to provide attachment to the dock. This is necessary to save space since finger piers are very narrow.

Lift: Standard and Finger Pier

Lift dock ladders for saltwater have a movable hinge joint at the point of attachment to the dock. This allows the body of the ladder to be lifted, out of the way of the saltwater.

Thus, it is more resistant to corrosion. However, lift dock ladders for saltwater can be inconvenient when not in use. The ladder body will be standing straight up when stored, so it will hinder movement and may even cause accidents.

Unless there is no movement in the dock at other times or the ladder is short enough to jut out only slightly over the dock surface, this may not be a good idea for personal use.

Retractable

Retractable dock ladders for saltwater are the best option in boats. They can be folded up and stored flatly in a recess on the dock platform. Thus, not only does it stay away from the saltwater, but it is also safe and convenient to store away, taking very little space.

Telescopic

Telescopic dock ladders for saltwater have all the advantages of a retractable one, but the method of folding is different.

Retractable ladders fold by hinges along the rails of the ladder, while telescopic ladders fold up telescopically on itself. Either way, it is protected from the saltwater and stored easily.

Floatstep

The best has been saved for the last. Floatstep dock ladders for saltwater are movable by sliding up and down. The lowest step or platform is made of a material less dense than saltwater.

So, as the level of saltwater rises or falls, the ladder is pushed up or down. Thus, it stays out of the water all the time, and most importantly, without any effort from the people.

6 Best Dock Ladder For Saltwater

Choosing a dock ladder for saltwater is an important decision that depends on quite a few factors.

It might get overwhelming after a point, trying to coordinate between the different points and get the most suitable one for you.

While your discretion is the ultimate decision-maker in the choice, we have made your choosing process a little easier by listing the best dock ladders for saltwater available in the market.

Hoffen Stainless Steel Folding Docking Ladder

The Hoffen docking ladder for saltwater is one of the best in the market. It is made of CNC-manufactured 316 stainless steel, which is known to be highly resistant to corrosion, especially against the minerals in saltwater.

Hoffen Stainless Steel Folding Docking Ladder
Hoffen Stainless Steel Folding Docking Ladder

Its all-welded body ensures that there is no chance of loose screws than have the potential to cause accidents. The heavy-duty rating allows people of all sizes to use the ladder without worry.

The quick-release mounting brackets make it easy to install and remove the ladder when necessary. The ladder is characterized by smooth movements so that you do not have to fight to open or close it.

The slip-resistant rubber is meant to provide even greater security and securing bungee cord helps in storage.

Features

Ease of Storage

The ladder is not only telescopic but also lifts and can then be secured with a strap. This guarantees that when the ladder is not in use, it will, under no circumstance, be in contact with the saltwater. This greatly reduces the rate of corrosion and makes it durable.

Self-supporting Design

The ladder has a self-supporting design. This means that it does not need any extra support or stand-off for the rails. Thus, it can be installed on all kinds of docks. This not only gives it great versatility but is also proof of its strength.

Comfortable Steps

The steps of the ladder are specially built to provide comfort and support during usage. They have an optimum width so that you do not lose balance while standing on them, not do they hurt your shin.

Specifications

Tube diameter: 1.5 inch

Step Width: 2 inch

Handle height: 19 inch

Ladder Length (extended): 43 inch

Ladder Length (collapsed): 17.5 inch

Internal Diameter: 12.2 inch

External Diameter: 15.3 inch

Distance to the first step: 10.5 inch

Distance Between Steps: 10 inch

Number of steps: 4

Material: Stainless Steel

Weight Capacity: 600 lb

Click here to learn more about this dock ladder (link to Amazon).

 

Great Northern 4 Step Swing-up Dock Ladder

The Great Northern dock ladder for saltwater has several features that make it perfect for usage in saltwater.

Great Northern 4 Step Swing-up Dock Ladder
Great Northern 4 Step Swing-up Dock Ladder

Its slant allows people to use the ladder with greater security than a vertical ladder would allow. Not only that, but the ladder can also be flipped up and stored either vertically or horizontally, flat on the deck, depending on your convenience.

This prevents corrosion and marine growth on the ladder. The marine-grade aluminum used in the manufacture of the ladder makes it perfect for usage in saltwater.

The corrosion resistance gives this ladder a long lifetime. The fully welded body gives extra stability to the ladder. Treaded steps ensure that you find a secure footing when using the ladder.

Features

Slanted angle

The biggest pro of this ladder is its slant. The 20° of slant angle on the ladder provides great support when climbing up or down the ladder.

It also prevents you from grazing your shin against the steps and consequent injuries are avoided.

Locking Pins

It has quick-release locking pins, that secure it safely and strongly to the deck and are easy to install and remove. The attachment is made especially keeping in mind a wooden deck.

Ease of Installation

This ladder comes with most of the assembling done. All that is left for you to do is adjust the parts and install the ladder onto the deck and you are good to go.

Specifications

Step Depth: 3.5 inch

Step Width: 16 inch

Slant: 20°

Handle height: 17 inch

Ladder Length: 44 inch

Width on Dock: 24.5 inch

Depth on Dock: 8.5 inch

Distance Between Steps: 12 inch

Number of steps: 4

Weight: 35 lb

Material: Marine Grade Aluminium

Liked the dock ladder? check-it on Amazon.

 

Dock Edge Stand-Off Dock Ladder

The Dock Edge ladder possesses everything that a good dock ladder for saltwater must possess. It is slanted, which gives people the necessary inclination to support their body against.

Dock Edge Stand-Off Dock Ladder
Dock Edge Stand-Off Dock Ladder

Its steps are fully optimized to prevent any kind of slips, which are all the more common in saltwater due to salty deposits or algal growths on the steps.

The stand-off support makes the ladder secure against the dock and prevents any wobbliness.

The marine-grade aluminum is especially used to prevent mineral corrosion from the saltwater. Its hand-rails are specially shaped to give people a strong grip that will not slip under any condition.

The best part about the ladder is that during assembly, you can actually choose to attach fewer steps if the dock platform is usually closer to the water.

Features

Easy Removal

The ladder is supported by four quick release brackets. These allow the ladder to be installed easily when needed and removed just as easy to make space or store away when not in use.

Double Rail Support

The steps are supported by double rails in the ladder. These give a lot of support to the steps and provide unparalleled hardiness to the body.

Another advantage of this is that it is easier to hold the side rails as they provide greater gripping than single rails.

Anti-skid Steps

The steps of the ladder are treaded to prevent any kind of accidents from slipping. Not only that, but the steps are also fitted with rubber strips to secure your step even further.

This is especially useful when there is a current in the water or if there is marine growth on the steps.

Specifications

Step Width: 14.5 inch

Step Depth: 4 inch

Dimensions: 5 x 16 x 45 inches

Handle height: 19.75 inch

Distance to the first step from top: 29 inch

Distance Between Steps: 12 inch

Number of steps: 4

Weight: 15.19 lb

Material: Marine Grade Aluminium

Weight Capacity: 400 lb

Check-it out on Amazon here.

 

Marinebaby Dock And Pontoon Ladder

The Marinebaby ladder is for serious users that often go into the water and uses the dock ladder all the time. It is meant for heavy usage, due to which it has a high duty rating.

Marinebaby Dock And Pontoon Ladder
Marinebaby Dock And Pontoon Ladder

The welded stainless steel body gives the ladder its strength and durability. It is also responsible for its corrosion resistance.

The ladder is not only telescopic but is also a lift type. So after collapsing the steps, you can flip it up again.

This means that even during high tide or high water level for any reason, the ladder will not be exposed to the corrosive saltwater. Its long hand-rails provide support at each level on the ladder.

The steps of the ladder are fitted with anti-slip rubber that prevents slips. It also comes with a reusable bungee cord strap to hold the steps in place when not in use.

Features

Stainless Steel Body

Stainless steel holds best against saltwater. It shows the least amount of corrosion even after years of usage, and if you can maintain it well, you will have a ladder that will outlast your dock.

Extra Long

The ladder, when extended, can reach a great depth. This has two advantages. Firstly, even if your dock is usually high above the water, this dock ladder will have no problem reaching right up to the water. Secondly, if a person does not feel confident, you can always extend the ladder further into the water for safe ascent and descent.

Heavy Duty Rating

This ladder can support up to 600 lb of weight easily. Thus it can carry people of any weight. You can even use it to lower or raise heavy objects into and out of the water if needed.

Specifications

Tube diameter: 1.5 inch

Step Width: 2 inch

Handle height: 17 inch

Ladder Length (extended): 41.375 inch

Ladder Length (from hand-rails): 60.5 inch

Overall Ladder Width: 16.25 inch

Distance to the first step: 10.5 inch

Distance Between Steps: 10 inch

Number of steps: 4

Material: 316 Stainless Steel

Weight Capacity: 600 lb

Click here to learn more about it (link to Amazon).

 

JIF Marine Products 5 DJX5-W

JIF Marine ladders are known for their great durability, exemplary sturdiness, and excellent performance. The hardy aluminum body gives strength to the ladder.

JIF Marine Products 5 DJX5-W
JIF Marine Products 5 DJX5-W

It is marine grade, so there is no chance of corrosion to the ladder for a long time. Guide cables connect to the base and hold the ladder in place. The lip at the bottom of the steps helps lock into the base.

The welded steps provide secure stepping so that you do not lose balance when moving up or down the ladder. The ladder is also adjustable in height.

This allows you to raise the ladder if the saltwater rises too high and submerges the steps of the ladder. The only con of the ladder is its steepness, so you will have to take a bit of extra precaution when using it.

Features

Sturdy Build

The ladder is made of 1.5-inch tubing aluminum that provides exceptional sturdiness to the ladder. The welded body makes sure there are no loose fittings or wobbliness in the ladder body.

Even with heavy or rough usage, there is hardly any effect on the ladder.

Different Height Options

You have the option to raise or lower the ladder by adjusting the rails. This allows you to change the height of the ladder, or its depth into the water.

This, if the water level rises, you can take it out of the water and fix it at a greater height to protect it from the saltwater.

Great Support

The ladder has the perfect structure to provide full support to anybody who uses it. The welded steps do not move or tremble when stepping on them.

Once fully installed, it stays put and allows you to ascend or descend the ladder without any worry.

Specifications

Dimension: 50.5 x 23.2 x 8 inches

Tube diameter: 1.5 inch

Ladder Length: 60 inch

Distance Between Steps: 10 inch

Number of steps: 5

Weight: 29.2 lb

Material: Marine Grade Aluminium

Find more information about this dock ladder here.

 

Dock Edge Welded Fixed Wide Step Dock Ladder

The Dock Edge dock ladder for saltwater is created with safety and utility in mind. It has an extremely strong body and a heavy-duty rating that can tolerate even the roughest of usage.

Dock Edge Welded Fixed Wide Step Dock Ladder
Dock Edge Welded Fixed Wide Step Dock Ladder

The top-grade aluminum parts are welded together for full security. This also eliminates the need for stand-offs.

The steps are all treaded to provide full slip resistance when climbing. The steps are also 4 inches wide for a safe and comfortable landing.

There are no exposed sharp edges, so the ladder is safe for use even by children who are usually less careful. The five steps ensure the ladder reaches well into the water and helps you climb in and out of the water safely at all times.

Features

Well-spaced Steps

There is a large space between each step. You may think this will make it difficult to climb the ladder, but that is hardly an issue in the water.

In reality, widely spaced steps prevent grazing your shin against the steps and provide enough space for movement.

Marine-grade Aluminium

The marine-grade aluminum body is especially suited to saltwater. The aluminum is specially treated to be resistant to corrosion from the salts in the water. This helps it last a long time without damage.

No Sharp Edges

The steps and rails of the ladder are rounded to ensure that there are no sharp edges in the ladder. The rail ends are also capped.

When using a dock ladder in the water, people often tend to lose balance. Having sharp edges can greatly increase the chances of gashes and accidents. This ladder is made to prevent any such incident.

Specifications

Tube diameter: 1.25 inch

Step Width: 4 inch

Dimension: 6 x 21 x 54.5 inches

Handle height: 19 inch

Ladder Length: 60 inch

Distance Between Steps: 12 inch

Number of steps: 5

Weight: 8.44 lb

Material: Marine Grade Aluminium

Check-it out on Amazon here.

 

What Sets Dock Ladders For Saltwater Apart From Plain Dock Ladders

As we said before, dock ladders for saltwater must have some extra features to make it tolerant of the corrosive minerals in the water as well as resist marine growth that makes the steps and rails slippery.

Dock ladders are specially reinforced over and above the features of a plain dock ladder in the following manner:

Marine-Grade Material – While plain dock ladders are simply made from a water-resistant material, dock ladders for saltwater must be made from marine-grade material that helps it keep corrosion at bay.

Extra Slip-Resistant Steps – Marine growth like algae are common in dock ladders for saltwater. That is why the steps must be treaded with deep grooves to prevent slips and skids at all costs.

Extra Height To Accommodate Tides

Dock ladders for saltwater are often used in seas, which undergo a change in the height of the water due to tides. The ladder must be long enough that even at low tide, the lowest step is below the water level.

Extra Durability To Tolerate Water Current

A ladder with a weak, wobble body will not be able to tolerate the current in the water. It will not only move under the weight of the person but also break or bend easily in strong currents.

Compact Design

A complicated design on a dock ladder for saltwater will only make it difficult to use and hinder movement. Restricted movement may cause one to not be able to support their body well and lose support.

 

Strong Junction Connections Like Screws And Welding

The screws and welds in the dock ladders for saltwater must be highly strong and durable. If they are loose or corroded, they may break off mid-climb, which can cause serious accidents.

What To Look Out For When Buying Dock Ladders For Saltwater

When you go to buy a dock ladder for saltwater, you must look out especially for certain features and characteristics. These will ensure that the dock ladder is really meant to be used in salt water and can survive the extra stress that comes with it. These are as follows:

Material

You must only go for a dock ladder that is made from marine-grade aluminum, special stainless steel or any other material that is certified as fit for usage in saltwater.

Duty Rating

A dock ladder for saltwater must have a higher duty rating than a normal dock ladder. This is because seas will always have a current that will result in people exerting greater force on the ladder during use.

Number Of Steps

The ladder should have a sufficient number of steps so that at least one of the steps is below the water level at all times. This ensures safe climbing of the ladder.

Step Treading

Rubber treads are the safest when it comes to dock ladders for saltwater. But if the treading is in the metal itself, the grooves should be deep enough to provide satisfactory traction.

Foldability

When you buy a dock ladder for saltwater, you should make sure that in the folded position of the ladder, it is well above the water level. If not, the saltwater will touch the ladder body at all times and corrode it faster.

Step Width and Depth

The steps of the ladder should be both wide and deep. A good width allows free movement on the ladder while deep steps allow you to step securely and confidently while going up or down.

Corrosion/Salt Resistance

Every part of the ladder, from the steps to the rails and the connections to the treads must be made from corrosion-resistant materials. Damage in any part can cause the ladder to become weak and break down when someone is on it.

Warranty – A longer warranty period is an indication that the lifetime of the ladder will be longer. You can think of it as a guarantee on the part of the seller of the durability f the ladder.

What To Keep In Mind When Using Dock Ladders For Saltwater

Even if your dock ladder for saltwater is the best in the market and guaranteed to protect you from all kinds of danger, you are never truly safe unless you exercise caution yourself.

Just as you put your faith in the ladder, you must follow some precautions too.

Check For Rusting

Rusting is the number one problem in dock ladders for saltwater. The salt concentration makes it much easier for rust and corrosion to affect the ladder.

Always check the ladder thoroughly before using it to ensure there is no corrosion damage or weakening in it.

Check For Loose Screws Or Weakened Parts

Loose screws or corroded welds mean that there is a huge chance for the parts of the ladder to come apart. Every time you use the ladder, you should check for this so that the ladder does not break while you are halfway on it.

Check Steps For Slimy Growth

Saltwater encourages algae and other types of slimy organisms to grow. If these deposit on the steps, they will become slippery and you will tend to slip on them.

Make sure there is no such growth on the steps. Clean them if there is.

Step Carefully

The last step or steps of the ladder are in the water. So they will not be as clearly visible as the upper steps. Always be extra careful when stepping on them.

If there is something on those steps, you may fall into the water and have an accident.

Use Hand Support/3 Points Of Contact

Just as with any ladder, you must maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times for full support. Always have three of your four limbs on the ladder, whether you are ascending or descending.

Brace Against Current

A strong current can sweep you off your feet, even when you are fully careful about everything else. Hold onto the ladder strongly at all times so that you do not lose balance in the water current.

 

FAQs

Why should you buy a dock ladder for saltwater over a conventional dock ladder?

A dock ladder for saltwater is manufactured with special features keeping in mind that it will be used in the more corrosive saltwater and not freshwater.

A normal dock ladder will neither be able to keep you safe in saltwater nor will it last as long as a dock ladder should.

What length should the dock ladder for saltwater be?

The exact length is not a factor. What matters is that the ladder should be long enough to have at least two steps below the water level when climbing it. Otherwise, people will have to jump into the water, which is not only dangerous but also negates the use of the ladder.

What is the ideal weight rating for a dock ladder for saltwater?

The weight rating of any ladder depends on the people who will be using the ladder, the kind of weight you will be carrying up and down the ladder and the level of usage.

But for dock ladders for saltwater, it is best to get a higher rating than you expect to need, as, at the end of the day, the saltwater usage will result in rougher handling.

What kind of handrail is best for a dock ladder for saltwater?

You can either have rounded handles or straight ones. In either case, you have to make sure that it gives a good grip in the saltwater.

Should the steps be wider in a dock ladder for saltwater?

It is always good to have a ladder with wide steps, and more so in dock ladders for saltwater. This is because of the wider the step, greater the traction and greater the stability in the water current, salt deposits, and slimy growth.

How far should the last step in a dock ladder for saltwater go?

The last step should be at least over a foot in the water when you are using the dock ladder for saltwater. This is because that way when you let go of the ladder or climb on from the water, you are well supported by the water and do not have to jump or clamber on.

Conclusion

That was it: the complete guide to choose the best dock ladder for salt water.

A good dock ladder for saltwater is often a hard find. Most ladders will miss one criterion or the other. But under no circumstance should you make a compromise.

Always ensure the ladder ticks every box that it should and only then buy the ladder. If you feel confused in the shop, you can always refer to the list we made.

But of course, you are free to go ahead and make your own choice based on the detailed guidelines provided here too.

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