The equipment that is used to help a person get into (embark) and get out (disembark) of a ship or a boat is known as a gangway. Technically, the gangway is like a ramp which is smooth and sloping. In ships, gangways are mainly used by passengers or crew to enter or exit the ship and are sometimes also used for loading and unloading cargo.
The word gangway originates from the Anglo-Saxon language. Gangways that are used now can be of two varieties:
- Some gangways are built in such a way that they are constructed on the ship itself
There are various types of gangways that are used in today’s time. The same can be explained as follows:
- Beam Brow Fibreglass Gangways: As the name suggests, these gangways are built of fibreglass. The width of these gangways is 24 feet and they are designed to suit those ships which are used for warfare activities. Other features of this gangway include a handrail that can be folded and a completely non-slipping surface
- Beam Brow Aluminium Gangways: Made of aluminium, these gangways are welded and quite durable. The surface of the ramp is such that there is no problem of water accumulating. Also the non-slippery surface of the ramp ensures that are no accidents are caused. This gangway is designed to suit ships of various sizes so any person can opt for the aluminium gangplank
- Truss Brow Aluminium Gangways: These ramps are constructed from heavy duty aluminium as per the required industry standards and are designed to fit ships of all sizes. The ramp has a surface that is rough, so that the people walking on the ramp do not slip.
- Aluminium Gangways: These gangways have foldable handle rails so that storing them becomes easy. The surface of the aluminium gangway is rough (non-slippery) so that no accidents are caused. The ramp is designed in a way there cannot be any water logging problems
There are several other gangways that are available which are used in ports and harbours. The same can be explained as follows:
- Light-Duty Gangways: Made of aluminium and steel, they are lighter in weight and are used mainly in residential ports. The materials used ensure that there is no corrosion whatsoever. Another feature of this gangway is that it has foldable handrails making it easy to store the gangway. The cost of these gangways is also quite affordable
- Medium-Duty Gangways: They also come at a very affordable rate and are mainly used in private and residential ports. The materials used to build the medium-duty gangway are aluminium and steel. These two materials offer a long-term durability to the ramp
- Heavy-Duty Gangways: They are used in private harbours that have cruise ferries and other boats using them. These ramps are made of steel and aluminium and are as per the required ISO standards. The designing of the ramp allows even handicapped people to enter and exit it safely.
With the help of gangways, entry and exit to ships becomes very easy. This is the most important feature and advantage of using ramps in the mode of water transport.