From The Forums: Do You Know Your Vocab?

January 2020 Multimedia Web Exclusive

Recently on the Houseboat forums, one new member was casting around for the right nautical terminology for a problem she was facing:

HerJoy: I'm looking to add or possibly replace the steps or ladder from the stateroom that allows one access to the aft deck through the stateroom window. Are they called stairs? Steps? Ladder? My husband is willing to build us some, but I thought I would check pricing before he started building in order to compare. However, I am unable to find anything with my current terminology searches.

BananaTom: We called them steps on our Gibson. That went through the aft sliding glass door. Make sure they are well secured; a loose set of steps can cause an injury in a heartbeat.

Ike: Most of the time, builders and professionals refer to them as ladders. However, on larger boats and ships, if they look like stairs then they are stairs (if it looks like a duck…etc). Ladders tend to be steeper and narrower, and usually removable. Stairs follow pretty much the same rules as ashore, nine-inch risers and flats, no more than a 45 degree rise and usually built in so they aren't easily removable (got and axe?)

boatboat: Very informative post! Thank you a lot!

What other houseboating lingo are you rusty on? Check out the forum page and see if your fellow boaters know!

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