A gangway is a crucial piece of equipment used for embarking and disembarking from ships and boats. It is a smooth and sloping ramp located on the upper deck’s sides of boats, and it is mainly used by passengers or crew to enter or exit the ship. Gangways are also used for loading and unloading cargo.
The primary purpose of a gangway is to provide safe access to maritime vessels, trucks, and rail cars. Therefore, a gangway must meet specific requirements. It should be at least 20 inches wide, with handrails and midrails on each side to ensure safety. The handrails should have a minimum height of 33 inches, and the railings must be made of wood, chain, wire, rope, or other suitable materials. Chain, wire, and rope railings must be kept tight.
It is important to keep the gangway clear and free of any obstructions such as bridles or hoses. If a gangway cannot be used, a straight ladder must be employed. A net should be held to prevent workers from falling into the water or to a lower level from the upper storey. Overall, a gangway must be a safe and reliable means of access to and from ships and boats.
There are different types of gangways used in maritime operations. These include the following:
- Fibreglass Beam Brow Gangways
These gangways are made of fiberglass and are 24 feet wide, making them ideal for use in warfare ships. They come with foldable handrails and a non-slip surface.
- Aluminium Beam Brow Gangways
These gangways are made of welded aluminium and are highly durable. They feature a non-slip surface that prevents water accumulation, making them suitable for ships of different sizes.
- Truss Brow Aluminium Gangways
Constructed with heavy-duty aluminium, these gangways meet industry standards and can be used on ships of all sizes. They feature a rough surface that prevents slips and falls.
- Aluminium Gangways
These gangways have foldable handle rails for easy storage and a rough, non-slip surface that prevents accidents. They are also designed to prevent water-logging issues.
Various types of gangways are available to meet the diverse needs of ports and harbours. For instance:
- Light-duty gangways
Constructed using lightweight materials like aluminium and steel, these gangways are ideal for residential ports. They are designed with foldable handrails to facilitate easy storage, and the materials used ensure that there is no corrosion. Additionally, they are available at an affordable price point.
- Medium-duty gangways
Similar to light-duty gangways, medium-duty gangways are constructed using aluminium and steel. They are also affordable and offer long-term durability. These gangways are mainly used in private and residential ports.
- Heavy-duty gangways
Used in private harbours with cruise ferries and other large boats, these gangways are made of steel and aluminium according to ISO standards. Their design allows safe entry and exit for handicapped individuals.
Gangways are an essential element of water transport as they provide safe and easy access to ships. Without gangways, boarding and disembarking from ships would be challenging and dangerous, especially in adverse weather conditions. The use of gangways ensures the safety of passengers and crew while embarking and disembarking from a vessel. Furthermore, gangways allow for the efficient loading and unloading of cargo, making them a crucial component of maritime logistics. In summary, the convenience, safety, and efficiency that gangways provide make them an indispensable feature of water transport.