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SWI-TEC Swim and Emergency Ladder

NEW PRODUCTS

Review by Steve Morrell

I

n January, we published a story called “A Life Saving Step” by Leslie Wyly-Reeves. (Read the article on page 70 in Back Issues at www.South windsMagazine.com.) It was a story about a man who fell off his anchored sailboat on a November night in southwest Florida. Since the freeboard was too high to reach the deck and there was no ladder or other way, he could not get back on board, so he swam over to a neighboring boat seeking help. The neighbors, seeing the man—who was shivering cold—helped him and got him back on his boat. The story really stuck in my mind, especially since I had seen the movie Open Water 2: Adrift (2006), which is about this very problem, except that it gets dead serious. I recommend it to everyone who spends a lot of time onboard. The entire time I was watching the movie, I was convinced I could figure a way to get back on board, but every possible solution I thought of ran into a roadblock. I never forgot it. You’ll have to see the movie to know how it ends. For many years I had a Catalina 30 with a traditional transom. The freeboard on the boat was not real tall, so I wonder if I could have reached it from treading water. If it was anchored, it would have been one thing, because at least you could use the anchor line, although that is not exactly a ladder—but it’s something. I have jumped off a sailboat along with the only other person onboard in a no-anchoring, no-wind situation offshore, but I always threw a long line out with a knot in it and always put the transom ladder out—in case the boat started to drift. But falling overboard by accident can happen to anyone. Or maybe, you just jump in without thinking about it (it’s hot and you had a couple of boat drinks). Today, so many boats have open transoms—which are great swimming platforms—that it seems it’s not so important, but thousands of great boats are out there without them. In the Open Water movie, they weren’t anchored. They

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were offshore in hot, be-calmed, no-wind conditions and just decided to go swimming, without considering the consequences. Just weeks after we ran the story in the magazine, I got an email on a new product—called the SWI-TEC Swim and Emergency Ladder—that addresses this very problem. I immediately knew it was a product I wanted to feature. The company suggests the ladder always be available. They suggest it can be used as an “everyday boarding ladder.” It is also adjustable in height for different boats, and the bottom steps are designed to be underwater. And, obviously, you can release the ladder from the water, letting it drop down as needed. The ladder is made by SWI-TEC, a company that has several innovative and unique products. www.swi-tec.us. $140. Real cheap if you need it someday. www.southwindsmagazine.com

Southwinds May 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...

Southwinds May 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...