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When you take to the lake or river using a boat, it can be really tempting to dive in during the hottest parts of summer. However, for many, the problem with this scenario is trying to get back onto the boat. You are wet, the boat is likely slick, and sits well above the water. 

However, you can have the best of both the boating adventure you are on and a little swim fun without worry. A boat ladder is designed to help you get easily from the water to the boat. Still, you have to choose the best boat ladder for your wants and needs. 

The best boating ladders and the features that matter

A harbor pilot climbing a boat ladder in Boston Harbor of Boston, Massachusetts
A harbor pilot climbing a boat ladder | Scott Eisen/Getty Images

There are some things that you should consider when choosing a boating ladder. For instance, you want them to have a weight capacity that can accommodate your family, but you want to make sure it’s easy to install, foldable, and has large enough steps and/or handlebars. Other considerations may include whether they are designed for your older boat, heavier boat, or personal limitations. 

No matter what your situation or boat is like, you have options for a reliable boat ladder. The most popular choices for most boat owners are listed below. 

1. RecPro Marine Pontoon Boat 4 Step Folding Boarding Ladder

According to Globo Surfer, the RecPro Marine Pontoon Boat 4 has a compact design that will allow you to store it easily when not in use but still has an impressive weight capacity of 300 pounds. It has four steps that allow you to get from the water to your boat’s interior easily. Additionally, we like knowing that it’s easy and safe to mount and backed by a 3-year warranty. The downside is that the compact design means that the steps are quite thin, which may make it difficult to use for some people. Therefore, it must be mounted against a tube for increased support.

2. RecPro Marine 4

According to The Marine Lab, this RecPro Marine 4 boat ladder is made with durable 316 stainless steel and tall handrails to make it safe and easy to use. Since RecPro manufactures it, it’s backed by a 3-year warranty to ensure you are happy with its performance. Where it stands out, though, is the outstanding 400-pound weight capacity.  

The steps on this ladder are 13.5 inches from side to side, giving you plenty of space to climb and an easy grip on the side rails. However, it’s heavier than most other ladders at 23 pounds, so this bulkier size could be a problem for some, especially if you anticipate moving it around often. 

3. YaeMarine 4-Step Stainless Boat Ladder

According to Boating Geeks, YaeMarine has a 4-step boating ladder that is made with stainless steel tubing. It can support up to 400 pounds with extra-wide steps so that climbing is easy. For increased safety, there are extra-tall handrails for you to hold when in use.

It has a telescopic ladder that makes storage easy. However, it does weigh 19.2 pounds. One thing that is important to note is that mounting hardware is not included with your ladder purchase. This is an inconvenience for some people who would prefer to have an easy setup option.  

4. Aquastairs Pontoon Mount

Aquastairs are designed for use with pontoon boats. Thanks to adjustable legs, they have a universal design that makes them a great replacement for other steps. If you don’t have a pontoon boat to put them on, you can add them to swim platforms and larger boats such as yachts, cabin cruisers, and those with a swim deck.

These steps are 16 inches wide and 8-3/4 inches deep, making them usable by most people. When mounted securely, these ladders can hold between 250 and 500 pounds, depending on the style that you choose and how you mount them. Additionally, due to their slanted design, these swim ladders do not require a handrail. This makes them ideal for most people regardless of health conditions or age.  

5. Rage Powersports 3-Step Portable Hook-on Boat Boarding Ladder

The Rage Powersports 3-step portable boat ladder available on Amazon is extremely easy to use. To install it, you hook it over the boat rail. Once set up, it can support up to 300 pounds. It folds flat for easy storage when you need to store it on the boat. There is ample traction on each step because of a honeycomb pattern on the steps. However, it does have thin steps, which may not be perfect for all people.

However, we love how lightweight it is. This is one of the ladder’s best features since it weighs only 3 pounds. We also appreciate that it’s UV resistant so that being out on the water will not damage its durability.

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