How To Mount A Ladder On A Bass Boat

1kD 728x90 3 3Mounting a ladder on your bass boat is a good idea in case you or one of your occupants falls overboard. It’s crucial to install the ladder securely and test it before you take your boat out in search of bass.Here’s how to mount a ladder on a bass boat in 9 steps:Reading: how to mount a ladder on a bass boat

  • Clean the mounting area.
  • Collect the appropriate tools for the job.
  • Position the ladder where you want it and mark the screw holes.
  • Drill holes for mounting brackets.
  • Add a marine sealant to holes and brackets.
  • Attach the upper brackets first.
  • Attach the lower brackets.
  • Attach the ladder.
  • Test the ladder.
  • Many fishers prefer to avoid the expense and extra weight of a boat ladder. If you’re fishing for bass, it’s unlikely you’ll want to jump in the lake and go for a swim. However, if you don’t want to limit where you can fish, attach a ladder to your boat.Some jurisdictions require all marine craft to have a ladder, and if you’re caught without a ladder, you can be fined or banned. When you shop for ladders, you need to decide on a style and mounting location that best suits your boat.

    How to Mount a Transom Ladder on a Bass Boat


    When mounting a ladder on a bass boat, you have limited options for the mounting location. Unless you have a swimming platform and most bass fishers seldom do, your best options for mounting are the transom, jack plate, or gunnel.

  • Clean the Mounting Area
  • One step that people often forget is cleaning the transom. Lakes, rivers, and ponds deposit sediment and grime on your boat. To achieve a tight seal, you should wipe down the section of the transom where you’re installing the ladder.If you wash and wipe down your boat after every trip, you won’t have to clean the transom too much.

  • Collect the Tools
  • Most ladders are relatively easy to install and only require a few basic tools. The tools you need are:

    • Drill gun
    • Socket wrench
    • Screwdriver

    Most mounting brackets for ladders have one to two holes and come with the bolts, nuts, and washers you need to attach the ladder. However, each manufacturer makes their transoms differently.Some have a thicker surface to drill through, and the provided bolts may be too short. If the nuts and bolts do not work on your transom, you may have to purchase your own. One essential item that you have to purchase is a marine sealant.

  • Position the Ladder
  • Before installing the ladder, you need to find the optimal location on the transom. Most anglers position the ladder to the left or right of the outboard motor. Wherever you place it, the area must be sturdy enough to support the weight of someone climbing the ladder.You need access to the area behind the ladder so that you can tighten the nuts on the other side of the brackets. After you position the ladder in the correct place, mark the holes in the brackets with a felt tip pen.Experts recommend that only one rung of the ladder should be at the water level. That means that if you have a three-step ladder, two rungs should be underwater. If the ladder’s steps are too high, it’s difficult to reach the first step while you’re attempting to climb from the water.When the steps sit deeper in the water, it’s easier for you to climb the ladder.

  • Drill Holes For Mounting Brackets
  • When you drill the holes, make sure that you do not make them wider than the bracket holes. If the bolt is not secure in the bracket, it can slide around and eventually fail.Always use a drill bit that’s slightly smaller than the bracket hole, and try not to angle the bit when you drill into the transom. Drill straight against the marks, and you will avoid any moisture or mold issues.

  • Add Sealant
  • Whenever you add any accessories onto your craft that require drilling or screwing, remember to use a marine sealant. The sealant forms a watertight bond around the brackets and screw holes. When the sealant dries, it remains flexible.A ladder puts a fair amount of stress on the transom when it’s in use. If the ladder is not sealed when you install it, water can seep in the space between the bolts and holes. Enough water can lead to mold, and in extreme cases, the transom begins to rot.A rotten transom will set you back a couple of thousand dollars, but you can easily avoid that by adding sealant to the holes and brackets.Most sealants take around two days to cure completely, so if you plan on going on a trip with your boat, remember to allow time for the sealant to cure before you drop the boat in the water.

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  • Attach the Upper Brackets
  • It’s much easier to install the ladder securely if you attach the upper brackets first. After installing the upper brackets, place the top ends of the ladder into the brackets to make sure you have the right fit.Use a level to check that the ladder is plumb when you insert it into the brackets. You may have to adjust the brackets to make them level. That’s ok because the sealant will take about an hour before it hardens.

  • Attach the Lower Brackets
  • Read more: how to open a gift shop businessAttach the lower brackets in the same way you attached the upper ones, and check with a level. Be sure everything lines up correctly.

  • Attach the Ladder
  • One thing to consider before you finish the installation is what angle you want the ladder to hang. Some prefer the ladder to be completely level.However, if you’re climbing the ladder from the water and the boat is moving up and down from the wake, you may find it easier to climb when it has a slight angle. Most ladder manufacturers suggest a twelve to twenty-degree angle on the ladder. After you’ve checked the ladder for a correct fit, you can permanently attach the ladder.

  • Test the Ladder
  • Although most people climb on the ladder to test it out after they’ve installed it, most avoid testing the ladder in the water. If you’re fishing for bass, the last thing you want to do is jump in the water to test your ladder.During the summer, when it’s warmer, it’s a good idea to test the ladder before you go fishing. If it’s difficult to climb or the angle doesn’t seem right when you’re in the water, you can readjust it.Unless everything you fish with is similar in weight and athleticism, some may have difficulty climbing the ladder. It shouldn’t be the most comfortable experience since its main purpose is to help people enter the boat after falling overboard, but it should not be a painful challenge.

    How to Mount a Ladder on Your Boat’s Jack Plate.

    The transom ladder is the best option for your bass boat, but if your transom is not wide enough or won’t support the weight and stress of the ladder, you may consider a jack plate ladder.A jack plate ladder is a completely different design than the standard transom ladder. While a transom ladder features a more traditional design, a jack plate ladder resembles a dive ladder. It often only has two steps and is not as comfortable to climb as a transom ladder.Most marine experts consider the jack plate ladder to be primarily an emergency ladder. It’s not comfortable to use, but in a dire emergency, who cares about comfort?Since it’s mounted next to your motor, it’s essential to install the ladder carefully. If the ladder isn’t bolted securely to the jack plate, the vibrations from the motor can loosen the bolts. A loose ladder next to a powerful outboard is a recipe for disaster.Since your jack plate lifts and lowers your engine, it’s important that your ladder does not impede that movement. Whenever you raise or lower your jack plate, make sure the ladder is in the storage position. Also, remember to move the ladder back to the storage position before you start your engine.If you take off with a fully extended ladder, you risk damaging your new ladder and your expensive engine.

    Tools and Supplies

    Depending on the type of jack plate you own, you shouldn’t have any problems with the installation. Compared to the transom ladder installation, the jack plate ladder takes less time and effort to install. Here is what you’ll need:

    • Socket wrench
    • Allen wrench
    • Anti-seize lubricant
    • Adjustable wrench
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    Most jack plate ladders include holes that will line up with the corresponding bolts on the jack plate. If the plate’s bolts don’t match the ladder’s holes, use the included template to install the ladder.

    Remove Jack Plate Bolts

    If your ladder does not require a template for installation, remove the bolts from the jack plate. The bolts are typically difficult to remove, and you may have to use an adjustable wrench with a long handle. With a longer handle, you have more leverage and can break the bolts free.Before you bolt the ladder into the jack plate, place the ladder in the correct position, and recline the ladder. Be sure that the extended ladder does not interfere with the jack plate or the engine.

    Attach the Ladder

    Use anti-seize lubricant on the bolts, nuts, and washers. The lubricant ensures that your parts won’t rust or degrade in a harsh marine environment. Before you tighten the bolts completely, check the angle on the ladder.For emergency ladders like the jack plate ladder, a slight angle is beneficial to the poor soul climbing out of the water. When the boat is moving from the wake, it’s hard to grab the ladder when it’s not slightly angled. Most manufacturers recommend a twenty-degree angle for the jack plate ladder.Some models include bolts on the ladder that you adjust with an Allen wrench to increase the angle. If you have a ladder that doesn’t include adjustable bolts, you may have to add a thin shiv to increase the angle.Another thing to check on is the ladder’s accessibility from the water. Of course, when you’re installing the ladder, you probably won’t have a nearby pond to test your ladder before making final adjustments. Lay down below the ladder and imagine you’re reaching up from the water.If you cannot lower the ladder from the water level, find another location, or purchase a ladder that you can lower from the water.The whole point of an emergency ladder is to allow overboard passengers to access the ladder with ease. Most models include a lever or a push button that drops the extended ladder into the water.Read more: how to tell if a younger woman likes an older manTighten the bolts after you’re satisfied with the ladder’s positioning and accessibility. Next, test the ladder and make sure it doesn’t wobble or slide when you hop on it. Your final test for the ladder’s effectiveness is to test it from the water.It’s an awkward experience to have only two rungs to climb onto, but if you’re satisfied with the ladder and believe it will help in an emergency, that’s all that matters.

    How to Mount a Ladder on a Gunnel (Gunwale)

    Of all the types and designs of boat ladders, gunwale ladders are the simplest to install. In fact, some less expensive models only require you to hook two metal cylinders around the gunnel of your boat.Gunwale ladders are not as sturdy as transom or jack plate models, but they provide a temporary option for emergencies. The higher quality ladders include mounting brackets that provide a greater level of stability than the slip-on designs.The brackets have a metal plate on top with a groove that fits the ladder’s two metal end pieces. To remove the attached ladder from the brackets while you’re on board, you simply pull the ladder towards you and pull up. The following section focuses on the models that include mounting brackets.

    Tools and Supplies

    Like the transom and jack plate installations, you don’t need many tools for the gunwale ladder. Here is what you need.

    • Drill gun
    • Screwdriver
    • Sealant

    Position the Ladder

    Find a suitable location where you want to install the mounting brackets and mark the screw holes. You need to place the ladder in a section on the gunnel that won’t disrupt the boat’s center of gravity. The best time to experiment with various positions is when your boat is floating in the water.

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    Drill the Holes

    Most brackets have two holes and come with self-tapping screws. Since the brackets are for a temporary ladder, they don’t require nuts or bolts. Drill the holes and avoid going deeper than the length of the screw.

    Add the Sealant

    Add a sealant to the screw holes and underneath the brackets.

    Attach the Brackets

    When you attach the brackets, don’t sink the screws all the way. Grab the ladder and make sure it’s level when you slide the metal tabs into the brackets. Sink the screws, but be careful not to tighten them too much. Most of the time, the ladder will not be attached to the brackets.Since it’s not a permanent ladder, it doesn’t put the same degree of stress on your boat like the other types. However, your boat and your ladder will endure a lot of stress if you forget to remove the ladder when you take off.

    Are There Any Cheaper Alternatives to Boat Ladders?

    There are a few less costly alternatives to permanent and temporary boat ladders. Although they may save you money, they should only be used as emergency ladders.

    Rope Ladders

    Rope ladders come in various shapes and lengths, but most are inexpensive and compact enough to store in a gunwale compartment. They may help you in an emergency, but an overboard passenger will struggle to get on board with a rope ladder.The cost and compact design are the rope ladder’s only advantages. Anyone who tried to climb into a boat with a rope ladder during a storm can attest to the ropes’ disadvantages.The rope on most models is uncomfortable when you try to climb the ladder with cold, wet feet. Some complain that it’s too abrasive, but of course, it is only intended for emergency use.The biggest complaint by boaters about the rope ladder is its tendency to glide against the boat. Since it’s lightweight, it’s affected more by wind and currents than other ladders.One problem that typically occurs with cheaper models is floating. If the ladder floats in the water, you’ll have a few problems climbing aboard.

    Webbing Ladders

    Webbing ladders have many of the same disadvantages as rope ladders, and they’re even harder to use. The webbing ladder consists of several foot-sized loops. On some models, the loops are spaced too far apart, and people with a short reach have trouble climbing the webbing.The ladder is made of tow-strap fabric, and if you aren’t an Olympic athlete or a contortionist, you should choose an alternative.

    The Outboard Two-Step

    If you forget to bring your temporary ladder and your fishing buddy falls into the lake, you might resort to drastic measures. The following suggestion is only for extreme emergencies and should not be attempted by anyone unfamiliar with watercraft or outboard engines.You can try to pull your friend onto the boat without a ladder, or you could suggest climbing on the motor. Climbing on the outboard is a tricky operation, and with wet feet, it’s dangerous. The trim switches on the engine may be used as steps, but it’s unclear how much weight they can sustain.Just remember to kill your engine before your buddy climbs on the outboard.Closing RemarksWhichever ladder design you choose, the installation process is not complicated or time-consuming. You can install a transom ladder in less than an hour, and it will take you less than twenty minutes to install a jack plate ladder. The permanent ladders are more stable than temporary ones, and gunwale ladders are superior to rope and webbing ladders. After you test your ladder in the water, go catch some bass!Read more: how to cover a cake board

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