How to Choose the Right Gangway for Your Needs

How to Choose the Right Gangway for Your Needs

Welcome to our guide on picking the right gangway for your needs. Whether you are working in the maritime industry, managing a shipyard, or simply looking for a reliable gangway for personal use, understanding the key factors to consider will help you make an informed decision. We will walk you through everything you need to know about gangways, from their primary functions to the different factors you need to consider. We want to give you all the knowledge you need to select the perfect gangway to suit your specific requirements and ensure the utmost safety and convenience. So, let’s dive in and find the ideal gangway solution for you.

What is a gangway?

Gangways are walkways or ramps that provide a safe passage from one point to another between two structures. These walkways ensure the smooth movement of people and goods in maritime environments.

Gangway Uses

The main purpose of gangways is to ensure the safety and convenience of individuals moving between spaces that are at different heights or separated by water. They provide a stable and secure path for people to navigate and eliminate the need for individuals to jump or climb, which can be hazardous. They are designed to withstand various environmental conditions and are equipped with handrails and non-slip surfaces to enhance safety.

You can use a gangway to move heavy items like carts and coolers or help those who use a wheelchair enjoy the boat life. We’ll get into that one in a minute, though!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gangway

Consider the following factors when choosing a gangway so you can make an informed decision and find a solution that meets your requirements:

Load capacity: This is one of the key factors to consider when choosing a gangway for your needs. Determine the maximum weight that the gangway can safely support. Whether you’re loading and unloading heavy cargo or accommodating a large number of passengers, it’s important to ensure that the gangway can handle the weight without compromising safety.

Intended Use: Different applications require specific features to enhance safety and convenience. For example, handrails and non-slip surfaces are essential for ensuring stability, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Additionally, if the gangway will be exposed to harsh weather conditions, you should choose a weather-resistant model that can withstand challenging environments. Lastly, assess the mobility features of the gangway. Is it portable or adjustable? This is an important consideration to determine if the gangway meets your requirements for ease of use and convenience.

Available Space for Installation: Before making a decision, evaluate the space where the gangway will be installed to ensure that it can fit properly and won’t obstruct other operations. Measure the distance between access points to determine the necessary length of the gangway. You don’t want the gangway to be too short or narrow, as it may hinder operations or pose safety risks.

Additionally, consider any space restrictions or obstacles that may affect the width or maneuverability of the gangway. It’s important to factor in any additional clearance needed for safe passage on and off the gangway.

Boat Lift Warehouse gangways are available in 3-foot and 4-foot widths and are measured between the handrails. They come in lengths from 12 feet to 20 feet (20-foot gangways cannot be shipped and are for pick-up only). Due to the removable handrails, the residential gangways are made up to 24 feet in length, but anything over 20 feet cannot be shipped.

Ease of Maintenance: When evaluating gangway maintenance, look for durable construction that will hold up over time. Opt for simple, sturdy designs made with materials that are resistant to corrosion, rot, and marine growth. Prioritizing ease of maintenance will minimize costs and effort over the long run while extending the usable life of your gangway.

Safety: Safety should be a top priority when selecting and installing a gangway. Choose a gangway made of non-slip materials with handrails on both sides to provide stable handholds. Any ramps or inclines should have a gentle slope that is not too steep. Proper installation is also crucial for safety. Securely fasten the gangway and check for stability and wobbling.

Choosing The Right Gangway Material

Another crucial factor to evaluate is the material used in constructing the gangway. You want to choose a durable and suitable material for your application. Consider environmental factors like exposure to saltwater, chemicals, or extreme temperatures when selecting a suitable material. These conditions can significantly impact the longevity and performance of the gangway. Consider factors like corrosion, resistance, and maintenance requirements to ensure the gangway will withstand the test of time. Several options exist:

Aluminum gangways are popular due to their lightweight nature, corrosion resistance, and low maintenance requirements. These gangways provide a reliable and cost-effective solution for various maritime applications. Our all-aluminum gangways will last decades and are easy to set up.

Steel gangways offer high strength and durability, making them ideal for heavy-duty use. However, it’s important to note that steel gangways are heavier and more susceptible to corrosion.

Wooden gangways provide a classic aesthetic appeal but require regular maintenance. Wooden gangways often cost more and have to be constructed. They may not be suitable for certain environments due to their vulnerability to moisture and other elements. However, sometimes, we only need a gangway for a short time or for a few years, and a wooden gangway would allow for easier removal.

Consider the specific needs of your application to determine which material is most suitable for your gangway.

Benefits of Boat Lift Warehouse Gangways

All Aluminum Construction

Aluminum gangways are lightweight and resistant to corrosion, making them a practical choice for mobility and longevity.


Our gangways come standard with Sure Step Decking, which allows water to pass freely through the deck, minimizing the chances of damage to your gangway during a flood or storm.

While our gangways come standard with Sure Step Decking, you can choose aluminum decking at no extra cost. Textured aluminum decking and chicken strips help provide sure footing even when wet to help ensure you and your guests have solid footing and stability.

Fixed or removable handrails

Fixed: The proprietary handrail shape is more comfortable and easier to hold than generic round tubing handrails. Manufactured with structural aluminum components, these gangways are made for strength and durability.

Removable: This gangway is ideal for residential use and is easy to transport because of the removable handrails. The proprietary-shaped handrail is more comfortable and easier to grab than generic tube handrails on competitors’ gangways.


The attachment end includes a full-length hinge, and the opposite end is built with rollers and an angled transition plate. The rollers will allow the gangway to adjust to the dock’s movements. This is especially important if you have a deck that rises and falls with the water level. It is important to measure the length you will need for the gangway at its maximum possible distance to make sure it will bridge the gap at all times.

ADA Compliance

Both the 3 and 4-foot gangways can be made ADA-compliant. The ADA standard ramp has grab bars installed inside the handrails at a lower height for wheelchair use. Full-length kick plates are installed on both sides at the base for safety to prevent sliding off the edge, along with anti-skid aluminum decking to prevent slippage. A full-length hinge is attached at one end, and rollers with an included exit ramp at the opposite end. ADA aluminum gangways are manufactured from structural aluminum components for strength and durability.

Call Boat Lift Warehouse at 877-468-5438 for pricing for gangways that are manufactured to American Disabilities Act standards.

Contact Boat Lift Warehouse

Choosing the ideal gangway for your application may seem complicated, but breaking it down into key factors makes the process more manageable. With research and planning, you can select the perfect gangway to provide safe, convenient access for your situation. Investing the proper time upfront will pay off with a high-quality gangway that will serve you well for years to come. Contact Boat Lift Warehouse now to order your new gangway and achieve convenient, worry-free access.

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