Tired of climbing a ladder to board your vessel? For most boat owners, a staircase system is a welcome upgrade. With wide, gently ascending steps, the loading and unloading of people and cargo becomes much more pleasant. Here are some guidelines for purchasing a new set of stairs for your boat or yacht.
Begin with a Purpose in Mind
When it comes to selecting the right boat stairs, function is paramount. Children and elderly passengers will board easier with stairs that feature a short height between each step. Handrails should be low and narrow, enabling those who need assistance to hold the rails on both sides at once. On the other hand, able-bodied adults will prefer steps that match their larger strides more naturally. Likewise, those carrying heavy items may find handrails to be more of a hindrance than a help. Before deciding upon a stair design, carefully consider the needs of passengers and crew.
Choose the Appropriate Style
Today’s marine supply marketplace offers an incredible variety of boat stairs. Boat owners most concerned with getting passengers and gear onboard in all types of weather conditions will appreciate a classic, rugged design and simple mounting system. Those with a more discerning eye can find beautifully crafted stairs that match the elegance of any luxury vessel. When extra space onboard is at a premium, consider a quality set of folding boat steps that will stow away nicely once the voyage is underway.
Select the Right Materials and Options
Polished stainless steel is gorgeous in the sunlight. Matched with fine teak step plates, it offers a classic look that is sure to complement even the most extravagant sailing or motoring vessel. Aluminum loading systems are also popular. They can be found in both heavy-duty and lightweight styles. And for those with a sufficient budget, finished carbon fiber is well worth the price. An assortment of mounting hardware, swivel platforms, oversized treads, wheels, and other options help ensure your new boat stairs will look and feel exactly as you wish.
Remember, Safety First
No matter how ornate, boat steps are designed to provide passenger safety above all else. With this in mind, spend a little extra time learning about the safety features of any product before you buy. Weight is always a factor at sea. Even so, a solidly constructed set of stairs offers the peace mind that comes with knowing large passengers and heavy cargo will board without incident. To avoid slips, choose a tread made from marine-grade materials such as molded rubber, vinyl, faux or genuine teak, or a similar non-skid surface.
Plan for Shipping and Installation
Shopping locally for a new boarding system is often difficult for boat owners living outside the southern Florida area. Before committing to a purchase, be sure to inquire as to whether the dealer can ship the stairs to your location, how much it will cost, and how long it will take. With respect to installation, understand that the quality of any set of boat steps is only as good as the hardware and methods used to attach them to your vessel. A reputable dealer will offer bonded installation services in the local vicinity, and will be able to recommend installers in other locations.
Like the rest of your boat or yacht, a luxury boarding system should blend form and function into an attractive piece of equipment that will provide years of service. Researching the characteristics of a boat staircase beforehand will make the shopping and purchasing experience more enjoyable.