Gangways – Another way to access a Dock – Updated


Gangways may be the best solution for your dock access problems.

On the Door County peninsula, the wave action is unpredictable.  The only thing you can count on is – the waves will be high many times during the summer.  You have to be ready for them by setting your dock high out of the water to avoid damage in those storms.  

This height presents a problem.  In the past, 97% of docks used a ramp to get to the dock height.  In this case, the typical ramp was 8 or 10-foot long.  8’ long ramps present a steep angle which is hard for young kids and older adults to navigate.

Due to the low angle provided by a gangway, it is easier to access the dock.


PWS has provided several different options for docks in the past.  The options included – ramps, stairs and now gangways with handrails.

With the rising waters in recent years, we see damage to shorter ramps caused by debris brought in by the storms. 

In addition, another problem is decking being torn off the ramp frames by the waves. 


Gangways come in 16’, 20’ and 24-foot lengths. The angle is greatly reduced versus a short ramp.  This makes access much easier. Gangways get you away from the washed-up debris in storms.

image of Gangway for dock access

Gangway off a seawall

If you have a seawall, gangways may allow you direct access to your dock.  You may not have to go down to the beach or over the rocks at all.  Gangways placed on steep embankments make the descent easier and safer.

At times, to allow access to the beach or dock, permanently mounted steps are attached to the sides of cliffs.  In spring, the ice shoves damage the lower sections of the stairway.  Attaching a removable or pivoting gangway to the last section can save expensive damage to the steps.

image of door county ice shove - 2016

Door County Ice Shove – 2016

Many people have large boulders they must go over to get to the dock.

image of Gangways over the shore

Gangways over the shore


Gangways can prevent twisted ankles or falls on slippery surfaces.

They are another means to access your deck on the house. 

Where can you find the solution to any Dock or boatlift problem?

At Pier & Waterfront Solutions, of course!

PWS is located at 7325 St. Hwy 42/57. That’s 1 mile North of County MM (Hwy 42) and 3 miles South of Sturgeon Bay. Look for the Idlewild Road intersection. 

Our staff is ready to assist you year round.

Contact us if you want to see an issue discussed on our site.

Call Jerry at 920-493-4404 or Email with any questions.