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SkunkedAgain

Ever Build A Rope Ladder for Dock?

11 posts in this topic

I've got a rocky shoreline and a dock. During the summer we go swimming quite a bit. It's 6 feet deep at the end of the dock. I just pull myself out of the water but parents and others have real problems. I want to build a rope ladder that is relatively light and easy to carry/store.

I was thinking of getting some good old-fashioned rope from Home Depot. From the two dock posts, I was going to run one rope parallel to the end of the dock. Then I was going to hang two ropes off of that rope down into the water. Last I was planning to sand 2x4s and use them as steps, with holes drilled through both ends for the rope to go through. Voila, a rope ladder with steps.

Has anyone else built a ladder before and/or have a better idea?

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Make sure your 2x4's are green treated, or have something that makes them resilient to water. I used ceder steps one time and they rotted out within a year. Thought cedar would last a lot longer than that.

You'll have to insert one step at a time, then tie knots in the rope to hold the step at that location. Or you could use some other method of holding the 2x4 step at the desired location (like an anchor rope clip).

Those ladders are still mighty wobbly though. I even had a hard time on occasion getting up those type of ladders. Your first couple steps swing that ladder way forward so that you end up hanging way back. I scrapped it and purchased a bolt on ladder for the end of the dock.

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if you use it alot, I would just spend a few extra dollars and buy one of the premade ones. (metal and plastic.)

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i wonder if using composite decking would work.

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OF's would appreciate something a bit more stable. 2X6 treated and you're done for maybe $40.

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Good points. I don't have a lot of storage space and also would have to haul the ladder up and down 100 steps for each use. Hence the collapsible and compact rope ladder idea. My wife and I are in good shape and can pull ourselves up pretty easily, so this will be a once a year type of things when my parents come to Minnesota.

I'll definitely do the green treated lumber.

Great points Beer Batter, I was thinking that might happen. My first thought had been to tie a rock to the bottom of the rope to keep it down, although maybe a rope/bar that is below the water line would help keep the ladder from pushing underneath the dock.

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"Those ladders are still mighty wobbly though. I even had a hard time on occasion getting up those type of ladders. Your first couple steps swing that ladder way forward so that you end up hanging way back. I scrapped it and purchased a bolt on ladder for the end of the dock."

My thoughts as well.

A short rope ladder won't work. Really it would be useless. You need enough height that you can pull yourself up with your arms to kept you body vertical. Otherwise the bottom of the rope ladder will kick out.

A ladder with grab rails extending past and above the dock would be ideal. If you can find an old pool ladder that would work nicely. Cut off the second set of stairs leaving enough length to tie into the dock. That could be as easy as drilling two holes in the dock or two U-bolts on the end of the dock.

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depending on therope, you might only get a couple of years before you have to replace the rope again.

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There was a rope ladder at the end of our swim dock for years as a kid. Everyone tried it at least once a season, then found a different way up.

Rope ladders like that stink! If it's my last way out of a burning building, it's my best friend, but other than that.....

Weird, buoyant rungs.

Bottom kicks out on you.

No where to grab with your arms.

Make a rigid one, or use an old aluminum ladder from a garage sale cut to size.

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Get an old pool ladder and modify it so it "catches" on a lip built onto the end of your dock. Then attach some hangers to the side of the deck for storing the ladder when not in use. Or if your dock sits above the water enough you may even be able to make something that allows you to slide the ladder under the deck for storage.

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