On the ground, getting on and off a boat may not seem a daunting task for an average individual. However, things change when you are in the water and need to get on the boat again.
On the other hand, kids, the elderly, and people who are not in the best of health can struggle to get on and off-board in any conditions.
Therefore, it is a necessity to have a boat ladder with you. It is also important from a safety point of view and most states have made it mandatory to have a boat ladder.
However, when you go about looking for a boat ladder, things can get confusing. A lot of features start to become apparent including the number of steps you need, the material, the construction, safety profile, and whether you want a fixed or a removable ladder.
This can make matters confusing. To help you with this, we have picked some of the best boat ladders you can get online.
Apart from having a good safety profile, we gave due consideration to the material and affordability. However, we have included both fixed and removable boat ladders. This is because both of them carry their own pros and cons and it is up to the specific individuals how they weigh these up.
Calling the Shots: Comparing 10 Best Pontoon Boat Ladders 2021
If we narrow it down, there are two attributes that are eventually going to determine the durability and convenience of a boat ladder.
One is the material it is made up of and the second is how you can store or mount it.
You need a material that can withstand the corrosion by water. We have included ladders that use stainless steel or aluminum which are resistant materials and can withstand the abuse of water.
Secondly, if you have a smaller boat having a ladder that takes up much space is not a good idea. Therefore, having a telescoping or foldable ladder is a good option to have.
Our table below lists both of these attributes for each of our picks. On the other side of the table, we will be discussing each of our picks in further detail to help you make an informed decision.
Pontoon Boat Ladder
316 Stainless Steel
316 Stainless Steel
316 Stainless Steel
304 Stainless Steel
1. Amarine Made 4 Steps Pontoon Boat Ladder – Best Retractable Dock Ladder
The first thing to look at a ladder is its build quality and material used in its construction. You need to make sure the boat is strong enough to withstand your weight. It needs to be reliable because a faulty ladder has the potential to cause nasty injuries.
However, when it comes to this ladder, this is one thing that you can tick off from your list. The company has used 316 stainless steel which is a great material for the ladder because of its tensile strength.
This material contains about 3% of molybdenum which increases its resistance against corrosion and pitting. Therefore, even if you leave it unfolded, the seawater would not be able to damage it.
The weight capacity of the ladder is about 400lb which means even the heaviest of people can board it without breaking it.
The thing I like the most about this ladder is its wide steps that offer extra support to the feet while climbing up. These wide steps reduce the chance of slippage by providing more area to feet even when it is wet.
While boarding, the handrails provide maximum grip and do not let the hand slip. Therefore, in the end, you board the boat safely and comfortably.
This is a folding boat ladder that not only takes a lesser space when folded but also avoids its contact with water when not in use. The latter one probably holds more importance as the seawater has the potential to cause corrosions.
Amarine ladder does not need any support because it has its own mounting bracket. All you have to do is to mount that bracket into the dock and you are good to go.
2. RecPro 5 Steps Pontoon Boat Ladder – A Long Ladder For Diving Enthusiasts
If you have spent some time in the water, you would know that short and close-spaced ladders make it hard to climb up from the water. Therefore, for the people who like to board up from deep water, this is the go-to pontoon ladder.
This robust ladder reaches deep below the deck and makes the climbing easier like never before.
Most of the ladders reach almost 48 inches below which is decent depth but not good enough for the driving enthusiasts. However, this ladder goes down to 60 inches with an almost full extension below the water. Therefore, this ladder allows you to board the boat deep down from the water.
The material of the construction for these boat boarding ladders is aluminum which is a good material for the construction of anything, let alone the ladders. It is light-weight but the strength it offers is greater than most of the heavy-weight materials. Moreover, it resists the corrosion and abuse seawater has to offer which makes it a great material for ladders.
This portable boat ladder has five steps that are wider than most of the ladders. These steps offer maximum support to the feet while climbing and resist the slip. Moreover, the tall aluminum handrails provide a comfortable grasp which makes you stable while you are boarding on.
I know this is a hard pill to swallow, but there is so much a ladder can do. Moreover, it is not like you are going to come across heavy tides every day. This is something that happens once a month, therefore, working it around should not be a problem.
The solid and sturdy build comes at the expense of foldability. However, to compensate that company has made this ladder portable which allows you to remove and install it easily and conveniently.
3. Recpro Extra Long Pontoon Boat Ladder – Saves Space And The Deck
This ladder is a permanent solution for pontoons that do not come with a pre-installed ladder. It does not occupy a lot of space like most of the ladders. The best part is, unlike most of the ladders, you can mount this at the bottom of the deck.
Therefore, you do not have to bolt through the front which can damage the deck of the boat. Moreover, when you are not using it, you can fold it back at the bottom of the deck which saves a lot of space.
However, when you are mounting it with the boat make sure it stays away from the motor. In case otherwise, it can cause a plethora of problems.
The ladder extends down in the water which makes boarding up the boat easier. The steps are wide enough to support anybody. Together with the 300-pound weight capacity, this boat allows the heaviest of people to climb up the ladder comfortably.
In addition, the handrails provide a comfortable and firm grip which makes climbing up more convenient.
However, the steps need a little bit of improvement, in the sense that they look unrefined. This boat has got sharp edges that can cuts and nicks if you are not paying attention to them. Therefore, if you are using it for the first time beware of these sharp edges.
A point worth mentioning is that there is nothing to keep this ladder from sliding out while the boat is moving. Therefore, in order to stop that you would have to put a bungee cord around it.
4. Extreme Max 4 Step Dock Ladder – Rugged, Sturdy, Solid, And Versatile
If you are looking to get a versatile ladder that can serve several roles, this is where you should stop your search. This heavy-duty aluminum ladder has a design that can do anything. You can take it on your pontoon, use it on a swim raft or put it at the end of the dock.
It comes with a set of stainless-steel mounting hardware, with the help of which you can relocate the ladder with ease.
To make it more convenient, you can get Footman Relocation Kit and install it where you want to install the ladder.
In this way, you will have a ready-to-go holder waiting for the ladder to be mounted. It will cut the time needed for installation and would make the process easier and convenient.
The material of the construction is heavy-duty aluminum which is lightweight. However, the light-weight does not come at the expense of strength. This ladder has the ability to withstand 300lbs of weight which allows the heaviest of individuals to climb on upon it.
To make sure a comfortable climb, the company has built-in an angle that allows effortless climbing. Moreover, it comes with extra-wide steps that have been spaced almost a foot apart for easy boarding.
5. RecPro 4 Steps Pontoon Boat Ladder – Dive Without Worrying About Climbing Up
Any trip on a pontoon boat is never complete without diving in the deep sea and experiencing mother nature. However, the problem is, without a long ladder it would be difficult to climb up again from down the water. This pontoon ladder can solve this problem and can make it easier to board from the water.
This ladder extends 48 inches below the deck neck which allows you to climb up despite the heavy tides. The structure and the quality of material guarantee safe and convenient boarding on the boat.
The boat ladder has a wider step that benefits individuals of all ages. Be it kids, adults, or elders everyone can climb up these steps comfortably without slipping over them. Moreover, the tall handrails that extend to 48 inches provide a comfortable grip which makes you stable. Long story short, this boat guarantees your safe return on the boat.
The material of the construction is aluminum which is a powerful and sturdy one. The best thing about this material is its resistance against the abuse from seawater. Therefore, once you have bought this ladder you are looking at years of services from this ladder.
This aluminum boat ladder is not foldable but portable which ensures convenient installation and removal. It comes with mounting hardware and quick release to make the process even easier. Moreover, in case any of the equipment breaks down, you can ask the company for replacement within three years.
This ladder ticks all the major boxes but if you have to nitpick, it does not come with the instruction manual. The assembly of the boat is not a difficult one but the people that are new to boating might find it hard. Therefore, the company should provide a manual with directions to install the ladder in the right way.
6. Extreme Max Flip-Up Dock Ladder – An Easy Climb Dock Ladder For Elderly
If you are interested in flip-up ladder designs but are not satisfied with the heft they provide, this is where you need to stop the search. This 5-step flip-up dock ladder is a premium quality ladder that has high-quality steel and aluminum in the construction.
The material of the construction can withstand the elements that saltwater has to dish out. The material resists the corrosion and other abuse that water has to offer. The flip-up design of the boat also helps in this regard.
When the ladder is not in use you can flip it up and break its contact with the water. This way, the scum build-up would reduce which will increase the life of the ladder in return.
The overall construction of the ladder is pretty solid and sturdy and can support up to 300lbs of weight. It means even the heaviest of individuals can climb up this ladder without any sort of trouble.
Moreover, the ladder provides wider steps with enough spacing between them to make climb convenient. You would be able to put more than half of your feet on the steps. The greater contact area provides the stability elders need to climb up on this.
In addition, the handrails provide a firm and solid grip. The combination of firm grip and wider steps makes it almost impossible for the elder to slip over it making these the best boat ladders for the elderly.
The boat itself is almost flawless but there seems to be mismanagement on the part of the company. Some of the users have reported that their package lacked the hardware needed to install it. However, in case it happens to you, you can report it back to the company and they will deliver it to your doorstep.
7. Hoffen 4-Step Docking Ladder – Exceptional Blend Of Safety And Durability
If you are looking for a combination of safety and durability this docking ladder is exactly that. The construction and material guarantee durability while the added features make it one of the safest ladders available in the market.
The material of the construction is 316 stainless steel which is a rugged and solid one. The 316 stainless steel is the best material for the construction of accessories that you want to use in a marine environment.
It is because of the fact that it contains chromium and molybdenum which resists the corrosion seawater has to offer. Therefore, the ladder resists the damage offered by the water and maximizes the durability of the ladder.
The construction of the ladder is also solid and has a self-supporting design that does not require tube standoffs. The heavy-duty stainless steel is welded together to make such design possible.
What I like the most about this ladder is its plethora of safety features. The first one being the wider steps that allow maximum contact between feet and ladder. The second one is the nylon covering which resists skidding. These features maintain the balance of individuals climbing up and ensure their safety and make it one of the best ladders for the elderly.
Moreover, at the handrail, there are anti-slip rubbers that allow you to hold them firm even with wet hands. The point is, this ladder is as safe as it gets, therefore, if you have kids or elderly, this is ladder is your best bet.
If you have used other ladders before you would know when you fold or flip them up, they make an annoying sound. However, with this ladder, you would not have to live with that. It is because of the perfect polish over the tubes of a ladder that makes the tube slide smoothly and does not make any sound.
For some people, the instruction manual might not be a necessity, but people who are new to this stuff can use the help. Therefore, the company should leave the instruction manual in the package to help the people who are just getting started.
8. RecPro 3 Steps Pontoon Boat Ladder – Best Dock Ladder
This pontoon ladder is the most basic presentation of what RecPro has to offer in their lines of ladders. This ladder was designed for a small boat, but it is not the only purpose this ladder serves. You can use it for plenty of other purposes including mounting it for your swimming pool.
When it comes to RecPro you should not concern yourself with the quality of material and construction. This company has been delivering quality products in the market for years and quality is one thing they do not compromise on.
The material used in the construction of this pontoon ladder is aluminum which holds its own reputation. In addition to providing strength, this material resists the corrosion marine water offers to a ladder.
The safety profile of the ladder also does not go unnoticed. The ladder has three wide steps to make sure the person climbing it is stable and does not fall down. Moreover, the handrails are made from aluminum which allows you to grasp them from underwater. Therefore, be it kids or elders this boat ladder guarantees their safety.
In order to make a ladder foldable, some compromises have to be made. However, the company decided not to make those compromises and make this ladder portable instead. The installation and removal of the ladder are convenient and non-tedious. Moreover, it comes with all the mounting hardware to make this process even easier.
9. RecPro Heavy Duty Pontoon Boat Ladder – Best Telescoping Ladder
This ladder is the beast of heavy-duty pontoon ladders because of its exceptionally strong material and sturdy construction. The company has utilized 316 stainless steel in the construction of the ladder which is the best material for this kind of accessories.
The average stainless steel is prone to damages and corrosion because of certain elements in seawater. However, in 316 stainless steel, this is not a problem. It is because of the fact that it contains a portion of molybdenum and nickel that provide protection against those elements. Therefore, this stainless steel maximizes durability and increases the life of the ladder.
The design of this heavy-duty pontoon ladder is also a unique one. It sustains and supports itself and does not require any additional tubes or standoff for installation. The problem with most of the pontoon ladders is the mounting point that does not allow a heavy individual to stand on them. The ladders have high carrying capacity but as the individual puts some weight on them, it breaks off from the mounting point.
However, it is not the case with this particular ladder. It has two mounting points which ensure that no matter how big an individual stands on it, it does not break down.
Moving on, this boat ladder is foldable which is why it does not occupy a lot of space for your boat. In addition, as you slide it to open it does not make any annoying sound because of the perfect polish.
This telescoping pontoon ladder does not disappoint when we talk about its safety profile. It features extra-tall handrails that make boarding easy and convenient. Moreover, the steps are wide enough to support more than half of the feet.
10. Amarine Made 3 Steps Pontoon Boat Ladder – Safe, Durable, And Inexpensive
If safety is one thing you do not want to compromise on, this boat is your best companion. The design of this ladder by Amarine is well-thought-out and executed. It ensures the safety of kids, elders, and even the adults that are a little bit reckless when they are on the water.
In addition to being wide, the steps of this pontoon ladder have black vinyl tread which facilitates easy boarding. It resists the skid and provides firm support to the feet even when they are wet. In addition, the handrails are easy to grasp which makes sure the individuals standing on it are stable.
Moving on, the construction and material used in this ladder are also rugged. The company has utilized 304 stainless steel welded firmly together to make the entire structure solid and strong. 304 stainless resists rust and corrosion which makes it a great material for boat ladders.
Because of its resistance to corrosion, the elements in seawater cannot damage it which increases its durability. Moreover, it is a foldable ladder, so when it is not in use, you can pull it up to break the contact with water. In this way, you can avoid the accumulation of scum from the sea which further increases the life of it.
The point is, if you take proper care of it and clean it once a month, durability is guaranteed.
The steps in this ladder are well designed and are spaced at a good distance. Therefore, climbing it up is pretty easy as it keeps you stable.
The best thing about this boat ladder is its price which is almost half of what you pay for the typical ladder. It is amazing how the company has pulled such a solid and sturdy design at a price like this.
Another worth-mentioning point is that it does not come with the hardware necessary for its installation. Therefore, you would have to purchase that separately in order to install it. This hardware would not produce any hike any in the cost of this boat ladder.
Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide For The Best Pontoon Boat Ladder - Factors to Consider
Owning a quality boat ladder makes the process of getting on and off the boat a lot simpler and easier. However, in order to get a quality ladder, you need to put some thought into it. There are some features that are a must-have for a pontoon boat. Here are the features that you need to look in a pontoon ladder if you are new to this stuff.
Material Of Construction:
When you are out on the water, you need to have accessories that are trustable and reliable. The same is the case with the boat ladder, you cannot afford to have a ladder that breaks down midway. Therefore, in order to avoid any accident, you need to make sure, the material of the ladder is strong and sturdy.
Stainless steel and aluminum are two materials that are great for the construction of ladders. These materials resist the damage and corrosion the marine water has to offer.
Moreover, these materials are strong enough to withstand the physical abuse the user or the water has to offer. Therefore, when you are looking for the right ladder, make sure it has aluminum or stainless in its construction.
Quality of Construction:
Material is not the only thing that guarantees safety and durability, the ladder needs to have a sturdy construction as well. I would say solid material with faulty construction can’t compete with a substandard material with quality construction.
Therefore, for a ladder to be reliable, in addition to having quality material it needs to have a quality build as well. It needs to be angled and welded properly. So, beware of the material and the quality of the construction because this is what guarantees your safety.
Length And Number Of Steps:
A lot of people tend to choose the boats with a greater number of steps thinking it would have a long length. However, it is not always the case, companies often build more steps without actually changing the length of the ladder.
Therefore, instead of looking for steps lookout for the overall length of the ladder. Make sure the length reaches deep in the water so the climbing over it becomes easier and convenient.
Size of Steps:
The size of steps in a ladder defines how stable you would be on it when you stand on it. The ladder with narrow steps has the potential to make you fall as it disturbs the balance of the body. Therefore, go with wider steps that increase the contact between feet and the steps. In this way, you would be able to keep yourself well-balanced while you are boarding the boat.
In addition to the size of the step, make sure that the steps resist the skid because in the case otherwise, it can cause nasty injuries. The companies are now producing the ladders that come with a protective covering over the steps of the ladder. This covering resists the skid and prevents you from injuries.
These ladders generally cost a bit more than regular ones but you cannot really put a price on life? Can you? Therefore, if you have a little bit of spare money spend it on these ladders because it guarantees your safety.
The weight capacity of the ladder should depend on the purpose you are using it for. If you are using it for the kids, then, a ladder with little weight capacity would do the job. However, if you have some heavy individuals around you this is something you need to think through.
Normally, the typical ladders have a capacity of around 250lbs which is more than enough for adults in shape. However, it would not be enough for the big people and when they climb on it, they can get themselves badly injured.
Therefore, unless you have individuals weighing more than that in your circle, do not buy it, as it will be heavy and expensive for no good reason.
Fixed or Removable:
Boat ladders can either be mounted on the boat or you can remove them after each use. Both of them have their pros and cons.
While fixed ladders save you time and space on the boat, they are constantly in water which exposes them to corrosion by water. In addition to that, as they are fixed to one specific point, it limits their use in terms of point of mounting in different circumstances or needs.
Removable ladders, on the other hand, are convenient in terms of offering different mounting positions covering different circumstances. In addition, as they are in the water for a lesser amount of time they are not exposed to saltwater that much. However, they take up space on board and this can be an issue especially in smaller boats.
Therefore, it is up to you how you see these different types of boat ladders.
Safety Profile of Ladder:
Ladders are for safety and convenience. In order to ensure maximum safety, ladders should have some added features to their basic construction.
Firstly, as discussed, it is important to have wider steps, this will give your feet greater space to stabilize.
In addition, it is better that steps are spaced that is neither too close nor wide apart from each other.
If you are stepping on ladders from water, there is every chance that you can slip. To avoid this, look for ladders that have nylon covering. This will reduce your chances of slipping.
Handrails are also a good safety feature to have on boat ladders.
Above are some of the attributes you need to give due consideration whenever looking for a boat ladder.
FAQs About Best Pontoon Boat Ladders:
Hopefully, by now you have made up about mind the best pontoon boat ladder for you or at least narrowed down your choices.
The point is to pick up a ladder that is not only durable but also has a good safety profile. This is because getting on the boat from water exposes you to a variety of safety risks.
In addition, ladders can either be mounted on the boat or are removable. Removable ladders give you options in terms of the position of mounting at each use. In addition, they are not in constant touch with water and this increases their longevity. However, they take up space on your boat.
Fixed ladders save you the time you need to mount and space, but they corrode quickly because they are submerged in water when the boat is in use.
In the end, to help you make an informed choice, I enlist factors that you need to consider when going for a boat ladder in the buyer’s guide.
At last, I would like to say that boat ladders may not seem such an important factor in your whole boating experience, but they are a must-have for convenience, safety, and legality purposes.