We all love swimming- It’s a potentially excellent exercise and fun. And for those of us who find swimming and snorkeling from a boat more thrilling, a quality ladder is important.
But ladders are not built equal and some work better for certain types of boats. Below we review great boarding ladders that mount to a pontoon boat to make getting back onboard easy and safe for you and your friends.
Hopefully, your search for the best ladder for pontoon boat will end here. Does that sound like a deal? If yes, read on…
Best Swim Ladder for Pontoon Boat – our top picks
We’re going to narrow down to 3 top ladders that work beautifully for most pontoon boat models and which are relatively inexpensive.
Our shortlist features the best folding pontoon swim ladder, an amazing front mounting pontoon swim ladder, and one absolutely magical permanent swim ladder.
Here we go:
1. RecPro Marine 4 Step Boarding Ladder -best ladder for pontoon boat
This ladder will help you and your gang so much out at the lake! Straightforward to use, sturdy and durable, and with a space-saving design, this is, in a nutshell, the best folding pontoon boat swim ladder out there.
The four steps –made of marine grade plastic- are built well and wide and make stepping down or up the ladder comfy. Plus, you can grab up higher with this ladder to help you work your way up more easily.
Mounting this should be the least of your worries- it’s easy to hang with the included hardware and many users are done in minutes. I should add that it’s to be side-mounted (but you can possibly put it on the rear of your pontoon).
When folded, it clears out of the way allowing you space to immerse in more recreational activities. On capacity, this is 300 lb. rated so great even for those on the heavier side.
- Folds up neat out of the way.
- Stable ladder- won’t move when you’re boarding the pontoon.
- Nice rounded handles – make it quite easy to climb.
- Quality is excellent- no notable complaint!
2. Extreme Max 4-Step Undermount – best front mount swim ladder for pontoons
This is mounted to the front and works wonderfully on pontoon boats too. It comes with all the mounting hardware and the whole installation is by far the easiest. Simply fix the two huge bolts through the ladder’s front and the smaller bolts through the ribs.
It’s well made and we bet it will give you plenty of years- what else would you expect out of the heavy-duty welded aluminum construction? The ladder extends without issues when pulled out and the four steps make boarding pretty comfortable since they’re designed flat, broad, and with sturdy traction.
It also stows compactly under your front deck – it’s completely out of your way. The ladder is a little pricey though.
See also: How to use 3 section combination ladder
- Lightweight yet sturdy.
- Built secure- supports 250+ lbs. users comfortably.
- Extremely easy to operate- seniors and kids will love it.
- The instructions are a bit lacking though, to the manufacturer’s credit, there is not much to guess during the installation.
3. Amarine Made 3-Step Telescoping – best permanent swim ladder for pontoon boat
This 3-step telescoping pontoon boat swim ladder is constructed of top-quality stainless steel and is the sturdiest permanent option if you’re looking at replacing your worn factory-installed ladder.
It’s safe- the molded vinyl tread enhances traction and helps ensure maximum grip for users so you’ll always get back on board effortlessly and safely. The slip profile ladder is designed to bolt to a solid horizontal platform (on the top) like the pontoon boat floor or the side railings.
Most importantly, installation is super easy- simply bolt it to the platform, and voila! There are other nice features too including an adjustable foot.
It angles out once deployed- and has a hinged bracket that allows it to smoothly collapse and stow flat (on top of the platform).
- Good capacity ladder- 325 lbs weight limit.
- Uniquely sleek ladder.
- Extends and unfolds smoothly.
- You have to buy mounting hardware separately.
Swim Ladder for Pontoon Boat – What to Look for When Buying
Here now are some tips to help you find the best option for your pontoon, quickly and easily:
a) Permanent vs Removable boarding Ladders
Removable ladders are certainly more popular nowadays. First because they last longer (it’s not always sitting underwater) and two because your deck remains clear once removed.
On the other hand, permanent ladders tend to be less costly but you enjoy reduced versatility. They still eat some precious space though most fold compact when not in use.
b) Pay close attention to the steps
Stay away from simple, one-rung steps since truly worthy boarding ladders extend long enough below the water surface. That way, reaching the first step is pretty easy.
To be clear, select a ladder that has three steps or more (two is the bare minimum) under the water for the best experience.
Also, look at:
- The width of the steps– you probably know that narrow ladders are more stressful to climb.
- Nonskid treads- flat, slip-resistant steps are safer and more comfortable.
c) Look at the construction and design
The salty water poses a serious threat to the durability of the ladder so you should lean toward corrosion-resistant construction materials. Two common choices dominate; stainless steel and aluminum.
The former is stronger and cute on your ‘toon while the latter is lighter in weight and in general, less pricey.
FAQs on Pontoon Boat Swim Ladders
Will the boarding ladder mount on your Pontoon without modifications?
Pontoon swim ladders have divergent mounting needs- some require an underside sheeting, others a stable horizontal platform or side railings, and others a loading platform (on the rear) to install.
Subsequently, it’ll be a mistake to pick one that you can’t mount directly (keep the location of the diving platform in mind).
And have you taken your boat’s measurements?
This will be helpful when evaluating- simply look for the boat ladder dimensions on the label and compare them with the amount of space you can sacrifice in your boat for a ladder.
Are the handrails good enough?
Just like the rungs, the handrails should be thicker (for comfort) and feature a non-slip surface for enhanced grip.
The question of storage
While most ladders fold or stow away easily, some are more difficult to collapse or take up more space. Do thorough research around this aspect.
Whether you’re looking for a ladder to help you during the odd excursion or a ladder to use every weekend (the conditions permitting), you can’t go wrong with these swim ladders for pontoons.
Even your kids will thank you! Of course, be sure to test that it’s securely in place before letting anyone use it.
That simple precaution can be the difference between life and death.
References and Citations:
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency: Regulations and Safety- https://www.tn.gov/twra/boating/regulations-and-safety-concerns.html