When your ‘pride and joy’ sits ‘resting on its laurels’ (aka its trailer carriage), undertaking maintenance on your boat, as well as cleaning its hard-to-reach surfaces, can be a fiddle and represent quite a stretch. Likewise, if your boat of choice is a larger beast – say, a pilot-styled vessel or one that possesses a high cabin superstructure – then when ashore on its stocks, perhaps out of season, the matter of accessibility can be an even more troublesome issue, and one that will likely involve the use of ladders or stepladders to allow the necessary standing points as you work your way along the vessel’s sides and top hamper.
Besides the issue of reach and access, the matter of safety is, of course, a priority. Ladders can slip, stepladders will wobble, and these days, getting someone to ‘foot’ your ladder is no longer officially deemed ‘acceptable practice’. If your boatyard will allow you to work on your vessel, they will likely have codes of practice they expect their boat owners to abide by. Health and safety, as we all know, is an ever-growing consideration, not least for insurance reasons, especially when we are frequenting another entity’s property and their related facilities.
So, is there a product that represents a significant ‘step up’ over and above the traditional use of stepladders and ladders for boat maintenance? Indeed there is. It comes in the form of the Henchman Hi-Step Junior. This product is designed specifically as a working platform for all manner of semi-high-level work, and by its nature, it provides a very convincing 1.8m stable surface from which one can work easily, safely and efficiently. The Henchman’s sturdy, stainless steel frame gives this foldable structure great rigidity as all its key parts lock safely into place. Its standing surface area is generous, which means you’re not constantly needing to pad up and down ladder steps in order to readjust your position every time you wish to tackle the next area along the boat’s face.
This product is designed to take a safe working limit (person plus equipment) of up to 150kg. It’s also manageable in terms of its transport weight, coming in at a respectable yet acceptable 20kg. With a ‘leg’s depth’, front to back, of 1.4m, the platform is sufficiently deep in proportion to give the needed stability, but not so bulky as to be cumbersome. It’s also simple to set up and quick to collapse (in the ‘down position’, the Henchman folds away flat and so can be stored up against a wall, taking up very little space). The product is of high quality and well suited to general boat maintenance and repair work. If we had one criticism to make it would be the fact that it’s a product that comes flat-packed and therefore needs to be initially constructed. A host of small parts and some rather ambiguous paper instructions mean that for the likes of myself, the job of assembly is both tedious and time-consuming. Don’t attempt the latter on a hot day, especially without your glasses! Otherwise, once you’ve done battle with all its vital organs, the Henchman Hi-Step Junior is a worthy piece of kit to have in your armoury.
- Ladder size: 1.8m (6ft)
- Platform height: 0.9m (3ft)
- Hip level: 1.8m (6ft)
- Reach overall: 3m (10ft)
- All 4 legs adjust independently up to 2ft and can be extended.
- Safe working limit (person plus equipment): 150kg
- Tested by British Standards Institution (BSI) to conform to BS EN 131-2:2010+A2:2017
- Weight: 20kg
- Footprint with legs fully extended:
- Width of back legs: 1.3m
- Width of front legs: 70cm
- Depth front to back legs: 1.4m
- £395 (inc. VAT)