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Safety specialists CQC have released a self-recovery ladder for use on fishing vessels and other small craft. The ladder has been developed to provide sole anglers and small crews with the ability to efficiently and safely deal with a man overboard situation. It fixes to the side of the boat and is reachable from the waterline. A pull cord deploys the lightweight ladder to the sea level, and the person can then climb back into the boat without further assistance. It is necessarily lightweight so that it does not affect the balance of the boat and is made from the same lightweight materials used to build their stretchers and cradles, also designed for maritime rescue operations.
The 3 metre version weighs just 2.7 kilos and is useable within a matter of seconds from deployment, which is a vital factor in recovery as in a strong swell a person can quickly become disorientated and lost before they have a chance to reach for the boat. Fitting a recovery ladder means there is less of a need for a permanent ladder to be fixed to the boat, so it can be a lot cheaper to refit a boat using recovery ladders rather than going to the expense of fitting other hand holds and ladders to the side.
CQC make a range of lightweight safety ladders including escape ladders, assault ladders and emergency ladders. The emergency ladders are similar to the self-recovery one, in that they are designed for accessing and leaving a sea going vessel. SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations require any ship with a length of 100m or more to carry remote life rafts and a means of disembarkation, which this ladder fulfils. Double rung construction makes it easy to climb even in high winds and offers better stability than a single rung design, making it faster to climb than any other type of emergency ladder available at the moment.
Escape ladders from CQC are designed to provide a quick escape route from 2 to 10 metre heights and can be carried and deployed by a single person. Weighing just over 4 kilos for the maximum length the ladder and is attached to a single fixed point (which must have been load tested prior to designation as an anchor point) and can cope with multiple users going up or down. It is made from materials that are resistant to weathering, light degradation and other environmental concerns. These escape ladders are ideal for homes and commercial buildings and provide a safe and viable escape route in an emergency situation.
CQC also use their expertise in flexible ladder design to build assault ladders for the military and emergency services. They contain no metal parts and generate no noise while being used, nor will they show up on radar, providing a level of stealth often required in situations where soldiers are secretly accessing a building. They are available in single or double rung construction, and pairs can be joined end to end for a longer length. The adaptability of these ladders to perform in any situation is what the military need, and with a tested load rating of 275 kilos for the single rung, and 400 kilos for the double rung construction they are useful in even the most stressful situations.
Flexible ladders, like the ones made by CQC, have specialised and dedicated uses and the design and construction is informed by the environments in which the ladders will be used. While this is true of all ladders, flexible ladders are almost a separate sector altogether owing to the specific environments they are used in.