Companionway Ladders Explained

Companionway Ladders Explained

26th March 2019

Here at Safety Fabrications, we supply, among other products, companionway ladders for access in tight spaces.  Today we thought it would be interesting to take a more detailed look at what companionway ladders are and how they came to get their name. Safety Ladders

Basically, a companionway is a maritime term describing the raised and windowed hatchway in a ship.  It usually has a ladder leading below and a hooded entrance to the main cabins.  A companionway is usually secured by doors or, in the case of sailing boats, hatch boards which fit into the grooves in the companionway’s frame, allowing the lowest board to be left in place during severe weather to minimise water infiltration.  The term companionway ladder may also be used to describe any ladder between decks of a ship.

A companionway ladder is also known as a ship type ladder.  They provide an alternative access solution in situations where a vertical ladder is no suitable, and there is not enough space for a staircase to be installed. 

The companionway ladder features a sloped, inclined design to provide access whilst still maintaining the flexibility required to suit many site conditions and location, either indoors or outdoors.  They may provide simple access to roof areas, items of plant, and raised floors, such as mezzanine levels.  Companionway ladders are the ideal choice if the ladder needs to be used frequently within the workplace – they can be installed as a permanent access solution that is easier and safer to use than a traditional ladder.  Companionway ladders are often used in warehouses and other storage facilities because they are a fixed and stable solution that allows access to higher areas without taking up much floor space. 

Here at Safety Fabrications, we supply our Ascent™ range of companionway ladders in galvanised mild steel or aluminium in accordance with BS EN 4211:2005 and A1:2008.  They are designed for easy installation on site with no specialist training or equipment.  We also provide fixing brackets kits or adjustable free-standing feet for instances where floor- or roof-mounting is required.  The companionway ladders are angled between 60° to 75° which makes these ladders a suitable option in a wide range of applications.

CE Accredited FabricationsFor even more flexibility and an enhanced level of safety, our companionway ladders can be supplied with self-closing gates if necessary.  These have been designed to offer protection in potentially hazardous areas, such as the gap between handrails at the top of a ladder which allows passage from the ladder to the work area at the top.

Whatever type of access problem you have, Safety Fabrications is likely to have a solution that will suit your needs.  As well as a wide range of off the shelf companionway ladders and other access equipment, our design team welcomes the opportunity to work with customers to provide a bespoke solution designed to your specifications and fabricated in our Fabrication Shop in Sheffield.