The Pilot ladders and accommodation The Pilot ladder-Accommodation ladder combination

Pilot boat bowA handy revision guide to pilot boarding specifications

This series of posts based on SOLAS V continues to explore some of the details behind Regulation 23, Pilot Transfer arrangements. This time exploring the specifications within Resolution A.1045(27) covering combined accommodation ladder/Pilot ladder arrangements.

Why would a combined arrangement be required?

In accordance with SOLAS V an accommodation ladder shall be used in conjunction with the pilot ladder, or other equally safe and convenient means, whenever the distance from the surface of the water to the point of access to the ship is more than 9 m.

The IMO Resolution A.1045(27) contains the specializations for pilot transfer arrangements. This is available online from the IMO. Click here to download>

Accommodation ladders, together with any suspension arrangements or attachments
fitted and intended for use in accordance with this recommendation, should be to the
satisfaction of the flag state.


  • The length of the accommodation ladder should be sufficient to ensure that its angle of slope does not exceed 45°
  • In ships with large draft ranges, several pilot ladder hanging positions may be provided, resulting in lesser angles of slope
  • The lower platform of the accommodation ladder should be in a horizontal position
    and secured to the ship’s side when in use
  • Intermediate platforms, if fitted, should be self-levelling
  • Treads and steps of the accommodation ladder should be so designed that an adequate and safe foothold is given at the operative angles.


  • The accommodation ladder should be at least 600 mm in width.
    The lower platform should be a minimum of 5m above sea level
  • The pilot ladder should be rigged immediately adjacent to the lower platform of the
    accommodation ladder and the upper end should extend at least 2 m above the lower platform
  • The horizontal distance between the pilot ladder and the lower platform should be between 0.1 and 0.2 m


  • The ladder and platform should be equipped on both sides with stanchions and rigid
    handrails, but if handropes are used they should be tight and properly secured
  • The vertical space between the handrail or handrope and the stringers of the ladder should be securely fenced.
  • If a trapdoor is fitted in the lower platform to allow access from and to the pilot
    ladder, the aperture should not be less than 750 mm x 750 mm
  • The trapdoor should open upwards and be secured either flat on the embarkation platform or against the rails at the aft end or outboard side of the platform and should not form part of the handholds

Really Handy Books Revision Guides for Kindle

gormleytankersternClick here to learn more about the guides>

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