Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

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Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby 109jb » Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:53 pm

I'm getting ready to add a swim ladder to my transom because I'm too old and fat to haul myself back into the boat after a capsize or ...well swimming. I bought one like the one in the picture from the gallery below.

I'm wondering about mounting. Since the area where the brackets would be is inaccessible without cutting a hole in the seat front, I am thinking about temporarily mounting the ladder with stainless steel lag screws provided there is enough wood in the transom to hold it. The area where the screws would mount is kind of low on the transom, similar to how this one by user Chris Brown is mounted Image

I could just drill the holes and find out, but if there isn't enough wood there, I would probably just wait until I have time to cut a hole in the seat front for a deck plate to access for adding backing plates. This of course assumes that whatever wood is there isn't rotted to the point of not being able to hold screws.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,

John Brannen
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby GreenLake » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:15 pm

Inspection ports are not that difficult to install.

If you do have wood that's not rotted, it will be if you just drill into it w/o very good efforts to seal it.
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby 109jb » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:11 pm

Let me re-phrase what I'm trying to find out.

What would someone have found if they drilled 4 holes, for the swim ladder pictured in my original post, into a brand new Daysailer II back in the 1970's ?

Would they have found 1/2" of plywood there? 1" of plywood?
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby Alan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:42 am

Pushing bedtime here, but I should be able to get out to my 1980 DSII tomorrow and let you know about the thickness of the transom plywood.

In the meantime, it looks like the right (starboard) side of the swim ladder in the photo is fastened where the attaching hardware will pass through the transom into an open space between the seats, where you could put nuts on it.

What about hooking a swim ladder over the top of the transom? Could you make that work with the ladder you have? It would make removal easier for trailering, I'm thinking.
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby GreenLake » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:30 am

Anything that was "out of sight" after these boats were built seems to have been of rather variable quality. Please read some of the other forum posts here - there was a recent post by someone who dug open a transom and reported what he found. With pictures. You may find that helpful.
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby Alan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:01 pm

"Variable" is right. :D On my 1980 DSII, the thickness of the transom at the transom drain plug hole is 1-7/8 inches. Higher up, where the bolts for the rudder gudgeons pass through, the thickness is 1-1/2 inches. That includes fiberglass on each side of the plywood.
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby 109jb » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:47 pm

Yeah. I guess I'll just drill some holes and check it out. If I have to I'll cut an access hole in the front of the seat to gain access to put some boots, backing plates and nuts on.

Thanks
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby 109jb » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:07 pm

Thought I would update for those that may be doing this in the future. I located the ladder pretty much exactly as in the pictures in my first post. The mounting holes are above waterline and when I drilled I found at least an inch of dry non-rotten wood. I used 1/4" SS screws to hold the ladder on the back of the boat with a little 3M 4200 shoved in the holes with a toothpick and a little squeeze out blob between the brackets and hull. Came out nice and solid. Later on I will go the whole route of installing an access panel and through bolts to hold it on, but for now this will work fine. I also added a strap loop on the inside of the transom for a velcro strap to hold it in the up position.

A note to those that plan on using the same style ladder. The brackets are made for mounting on the top of a deck. Think pontoon boat to give a good image. As such, the back side of the brackets are not flat and have a little protrusion formed into them that the ladder swings against when deployed. You will have to grind that off in order for the bracket to lay flat against the transom.
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby GreenLake » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:02 pm

To me, it looks like the brackets in the picture are the wrong way around.

As it is, the ladder will lever against the bottom of the transom when someone steps on it. On the far port side, the lever arm is near 0; I can't help the feeling that this would set the ladder up to be bent.

If the brackets were turned, you'd loose a bit of extension down, but you'd get at least the length of the bracket as lever arm. :?:

Not sure I follow your description of the protrusions.
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby 109jb » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:39 pm

As for the protrusion on the bracket, here is a picture of it. The arrow points to the protrusion.

Image

These type ladder are used extensively in a top deck mount. I had one on the swim platform of my last ski/tubing boat, and my brother-in-law has one on his pontoon boat. On the pontoon boat it is mounted like the picture below and can swing around and lie flat on the deck to store it. On the pontoon boat, the little protrusion shown above is the only thing keeping the ladder from going past vertical when extended. The tubes on the ladder are very stout. I have no doubt that the ladder could be extended and laid across a gap with supports at just the ends and it would support my full weight without bending.

Image

Regarding the brackets being the wrong way around, even if turned the other way, the ladder will still hit the bottom of the transom because the bracket is not made to close enough tolerances where the bracket would prevent it. Also if installed inverted from the pictures in post #1 you would either have the ladder in the folded position sticking way above the top of the transom, or the bracket holes would have to be below waterline. I chose to duplicate the way the pictures show mainly because the holes are above waterline. I have always tried every way possible to keep from having holes below waterline unless there is no way around it. On my last boat I used it for fishing too and to mount my fish finder transducer I used a 1/4" x 2" strip of aluminum with the trasducer mounted at the bottom and the holes to mount it to the transom above waterline.
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Re: Transom construction questions for swim ladder mounting

Postby GreenLake » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:46 pm

Thanks for the added detail.
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