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Title:
A VESSEL-TO-VESSEL GANGWAY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/229548
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway.

Inventors:
MCGUINNESS MARTIN (IE)
Application Number:
EP2020/063350
Publication Date:
November 19, 2020
Filing Date:
May 13, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
MMG WELDING (IE)
International Classes:
B63B27/14; B65G69/30; E01D15/24; E04F11/04; E06C1/39; E06C1/52
Foreign References:
CN207737458U2018-08-17
US3892290A1975-07-01
US20140239609A12014-08-28
US3469654A1969-09-30
KR101784845B12017-10-12
US5626440A1997-05-06
CN207737458U2018-08-17
EP1854715A12007-11-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PURDYLUCEY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) comprising a gangway section (2) a first ladder (4) and a second ladder (6), the gangway section (2) comprising a body (3) having an upper surface (5), a lower surface (7) and a pair of substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) perpendicular to the lower surface (7) and configured to support and store the second ladder (6) underneath the gangway section (2) when not in use.

2. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ), in which the substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) are integrated with and away from the lower surface (7) of the body (3).

3. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) as claimed in Claim 1 or Claim 2, in which the substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) further comprise a rail (17).

4. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims in which the second ladder (6) further comprises a pair of rollers (22) configured to interact with the substantially L-shaped members (13,15).

5. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) as claimed in Claim 4, in which the substantially L-shaped members (13,15) further comprise a stop (24) configured to engage with at least one of the pair of rollers (22) positioned at a proximal end (1 1 ) of the body (3).

6. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims in which the second ladder (6) further comprises a bar (28) traversing the width of the second ladder (6) at a distal end (25) thereof.

7. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims further comprising a hanging bracket (40) integrated with and away from the substantially L- shaped members (13,15).

8. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 7, in which the hanging bracket (40) comprises a pair of plates (41 a, 41 b) positioned apart and each having a void (44) which is adapted to accommodate a rail of a vessel.

9. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 7 or Claim 8, in which the bracket (40) further comprises an aperture (43) adapted for use in securing the gangway (1 ) to a vertical frame of the rail on the vessel.

10. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims further comprising an upright member (30,31 ) perpendicular to and away from the upper surface (5) of the body (3).

1 1 . A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 10 in which the first ladder (4) is connected to the upright member (30,31 ) by a hinge (12).

12. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a handrail (100).

13. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 12, wherein the handrail (100) further comprises a plurality of stanchions (1 10) that are adapted to accommodate a rail (150).

14. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of Claim 13, wherein the stanchions (1 10) are removable.

15. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of Claim 13 or Claim 14, wherein the rail (150) further comprises a bracket and bolt system (200), the system (200) comprising a bracket (202) having an aperture (206) and a bolt (208), wherein the bracket (202) is secured to the upright member (30,31 ) of the gangway section (2) and the support beams (8) of the first and second ladders (4,6), and juxtaposed the stanchion (1 10), where the stanchion (1 10) also is secured to the upright member (30,31 ) and the support beams (8).

16. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 15, wherein the bolt (208) is threaded through the aperture (206) in the bracket (202) and through a further aperture in the stanchion (1 10) to secure the stanchion (1 10) in position.

17. The portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to any one of Claims 13 to 16, wherein the rail (150) further comprises a collapsible system (300), wherein the collapsible system (300) comprises a hinge (302) integrated with an underside (152) of the rail (150).

18. The portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of Claims 13 to 17, wherein the rail (150) further comprises a series of interconnectors linking two handrails (100) together by connecting stanchions (1 10) together from each handrail (100).

19. The portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of Claims 13 to 18, wherein the bracket and bolt system (200) further comprises a locking bolt (208) adapted to secure the rail (150) and stanchions (1 10) in position.

20. The portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of Claims 12 to 19, wherein the stanchions (1 10) and the rail (150) are secured to one more of the gangway section (2), the first ladder (4), and the second ladder (6).

21 . The portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of Claims 12 to 20, wherein the stanchions (1 10) and the rail (150) are removable.

22. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the gangway (1 ) can be folded compactly by pivoting the first ladder (4) around the hinge (12) so that it rests on the upper surface (5) of the body (3).

23. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the gangway (1 ) can be folded compactly by rolling the second ladder (6) along the substantially L-shaped members (13.15) and beneath the lower surface (7) of the body (3).

24. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second ladder (6) is locked in a working position by a locking mechanism (80).

25. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 24, wherein the locking mechanism (80) comprises a bar (82), a locking means (84) and a release cord (86).

26. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) comprising a gangway section (2) a first ladder (4) and a second ladder (6), the gangway section (2) comprising a body (3) having an upper surface (5), a lower surface (7) and a pair of substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) perpendicular to and integrated with and away from the lower surface (7) and configured to support and store the second ladder (6) underneath the gangway section (2) when not in use; and in which the second ladder (6) further comprises a pair of rollers (22) configured to interact with the substantially L-shaped members (13,15).

27. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) as claimed in Claim 26, in which the substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) further comprise a rail (17).

28.A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) as claimed in Claim 26, in which the substantially L-shaped members (13,15) further comprise a stop (24) configured to engage with at least one of the pair of rollers (22) positioned at a proximal end (1 1 ) of the body (3).

29. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of Claims 26 to 28, in which the second ladder (6) further comprises a bar (28) traversing the width of the second ladder (6) at a distal end (25) thereof.

30. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of Claims 26 to 29, further comprising a hanging bracket (40) integrated with and away from the substantially L- shaped members (13,15).

31 . A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 30, in which the hanging bracket (40) comprises a pair of plates (41 a, 41 b) positioned apart and each having a void (44) which is adapted to accommodate a rail of a vessel.

32. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 30 or Claim 31 , in which the bracket (40) further comprises an aperture (43) adapted for use in securing the gangway (1 ) to a vertical frame of the rail on the vessel.

33. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of Claims 26 to 32, further comprising an upright member (30,31 ) perpendicular to and away from the upper surface (5) of the body (3).

34. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) according to Claim 33 in which the first ladder (4) is connected to the upright member (30,31 ) by a hinge (12).

35. A portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the gangway (1 ) is constructed from a lightweight material such as aluminium grade 2014-T6, aluminium grade 6082-T6, titanium, graphene, fibre glass, wood, or combinations thereof.

Description:
Title

A vessel-to-vessel gangway

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a vessel-to-vessel gangway and a hinge system for use with such gangways.

Background to the Invention

Generally, gangways used aboard ships, boats and pleasure craft come in varying guises and performance ability. For ships, the gangways tend to be heavy and require a crane, mechanical aid or another lifting machine to position the gangway in place. These gangways tend to be permanently fixed to the ship and are impossible to move without using the lifting machine. While they are capable of handling heavy loads, it would be impossible to use this type of gangway on a pleasure craft, fishing vessel or small boat due to space constraints and the weight of the gangways. Further, it would not be safe to use these types of gangways moving cargo or people from vessel-to-vessel due to the instability of such gangways being used in this way.

Pleasure craft and small boats generally use portable, sometimes lightweight, but generally foldable gangways that can be either stored aboard the pleasure craft and boats or on dockside. They are also lightweight enough to be lifted and positioned by two or more people. The foldable gangways can either fold around a hinge or can be telescopic in nature. While these gangways are useful for getting on or off the boat, they are generally used on pleasure craft and would not be suitable for working between boats or vessels, such as fishing vessels, oil rig supply boats and the like, as the gangways would not be capable of bearing working loads between such vessels in a safe manner.

Chinese Patent Application CN207737458U appears to disclose a marine gangway ladder comprising two vertical ladders which may be foldable and stored within the intracavity of an intermediate section of the gangway, wherein the main body of the gangway may also feature floating brackets for respective attachment to vessels.

European Patent Application No. 1854715 describes a telescopic walkway for boats with an integrable and entirely foldaway structure, of the type suitable for extending between at least one portion of stern platform of the boat and at least one mooring quay or wharf. However, the gangway uses a system of pistons and lifts, as well as being incorporated into the stern of a vessel.

None of the gangways mentioned above will pass the safe working load (SWL) tests required to meet the safety requirements for a load-bearing gangway for use in the industrial fishing or offshore vessel market. Further, none of the gangways mentioned above would be suitable for personnel going from vessel-to-vessel in a safe manner.

It is an object of the present invention to overcome at least one of the above-mentioned problems.

Summary of the Invention

According to the present invention, there is provided, as set out in the appended claims, a portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) comprising a gangway section (2), a first ladder (4) and a second ladder (6), the gangway section (2) comprising a body (3) having an upper surface (5), a lower surface (7) and a pair of substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) perpendicular to the lower surface (7) and configured to support and store the second ladder (6) underneath the gangway section (2) when not in use.

In one aspect, the substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) are integrated with and away from the lower surface (7) of the body (3).

In one aspect, the substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) further comprise a rail (17).

In one aspect, the second ladder (6) further comprises a pair of rollers (22) configured to interact with the substantially L-shaped members (13,15). Preferably, the substantially L-shaped members (13,15) further comprise a stop (24) configured to engage with the at least one of the pair of rollers (22) positioned at a proximal end (1 1 ) of the body (3).

In one aspect, there is provided a portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) comprising a gangway section (2) a first ladder (4) and a second ladder (6), the gangway section (2) comprising a body (3) having an upper surface (5), a lower surface (7) and a pair of substantially L-shaped support members (13,15) perpendicular to and integrated with and away from the lower surface (7) and configured to support and store the second ladder (6) underneath the gangway section (2) when not in use; and in which the second ladder (6) further comprises a pair of rollers (22) configured to interact with the substantially L-shaped members (13,15).

In one aspect, the second ladder (6) further comprises a bar (28) traversing the width of the second ladder (6) at a distal end (25) thereof.

In one aspect, the portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) further comprises a hanging bracket (40) integrated with and away from the substantially L-shaped members (13,15). Preferably, the hanging bracket (40) comprises a pair of plates (41 a, 41 b) positioned apart and each having a void (44) which is adapted to accommodate a rail of a vessel.

Ideally, the bracket (40) further comprises an aperture (43) adapted for use in securing the gangway (1 ) to a vertical frame of the rail on the vessel.

In one aspect, the portable vessel-to-vessel gangway (1 ) further comprises an upright member (30,31 ) perpendicular to and away from the upper surface (5) of the body (3). Preferably, the first ladder (4) is connected to the upright member (30,31 ) by a hinge (12).

In one aspect, the portable vessel-to-vessel gangway further comprises a handrail (100). In one aspect, the handrail (100) is removable or collapsible, or a combination of both.

In one aspect, the handrail (100) further comprises a plurality of stanchions (1 10) that are adapted to accommodate a rail (150). Ideally, the stanchions (1 10) are removable.

Preferably, the rail (150) further comprises a bracket and bolt system (200), the system (200) comprising a bracket (202) having an aperture (206) and a bolt (208), wherein the bracket (202) is secured to the upright member (30,31 ) of the gangway section (2) and the support beams (8) of the first and second ladders (4.6), and juxtaposed the stanchion (1 10) where the stanchion (1 10) also is secured to the upright member (30,31 ) and the support beams (8). Ideally, the bolt (208) is threaded through the aperture (206) in the bracket (202) and through a further aperture in the stanchion (1 10) to secure the stanchion (1 10) in position.

In one aspect, the rail (150) further comprises a collapsible system (300), wherein the collapsible system (300) comprises a hinge (302) integrated with an underside (152) of the rail (150). In one aspect, the rail (150) further comprises a series of interconnectors linking two handrails (100) together by connecting stanchions (110) together from each handrail (100).

In one aspect, the bracket and bolt system (200) further comprises a locking bolt (208) adapted to secure the rail (150) and stanchions (110) in position.

In one aspect, the stanchions (1 10) and the rail (150) are secured to one more of the gangway section (2), the first ladder (4), and the second ladder (6). The stanchions (1 10) and the rail (150) can be attached to one, two or all of the sections of the gangway (1 ), and in any combination.

In one aspect, the stanchions (1 10) and the handrail (150) are removable or collapsible. Typically, the handrail (100) on the second ladder (6) is removable.

In one aspect, the gangway (1 ) can be folded compactly by pivoting the first ladder (4) around the hinge (12) so that it rests on the upper surface (5) of the body (3).

In one aspect, the gangway (1 ) can be folded compactly by rolling the second ladder (6) along the substantially L-shaped members (13.15) and beneath the lower surface (7) of the body (3).

In one aspect, the second ladder (6) is locked in a working position by a locking mechanism (80).

In one aspect, the locking mechanism (80) comprises a bar (82), a locking means (84) and a release cord (86).

In one aspect, each plate is constructed from a lightweight material selected from aluminium, carbon steel, graphene, titanium, nylon, fibre glass, aluminium steel, carbon fibre and plastic. Preferably, the plastic is selected from carbon fibre, expanded polyvinyl chloride (PVC), high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polyamide-imide, fibreglass, epoxy, polyester resin, vinylester, or combinations thereof. Further examples include polyethylene 500 grade and Polyethylene PE 1000 grade.

In one aspect, each plate is constructed from abrasion resistant steel or stainless steel. In one aspect, each plate is between about 100 mm to about 400 mm in length and about 50 mm to about 150 mm in height at the proximal end.

In one aspect, the plate is between about 12 mm to 20 mm thick.

In one aspect, the bar is constructed from stainless steel, abrasion resistant steel, carbon steel, nylon, graphene or titanium.

In one aspect, the plate is constructed from a lightweight material such as 15mm aluminium (selected from grade 6063T6, 6082T6, 1050,5252 and 5083), carbon steel (selected from grade S235, S275, S355 and S460), stainless steel (selected from grades 316L and 304L), abrasion-resistant steel (such as WELDOX® or HARDOX®), graphene, or titanium.

In one aspect, the plate is between about 100 mm to about 400 mm in length and about 50 mm to about 150 mm in height at the proximal end. Preferably, the plate is between about 150 mm to about 350 mm in length and about 75 mm to about 125 mm in height at the proximal end. More preferably, the plate is between about 200 mm to about 300 mm in length and about 90 mm to about 120 mm in height at the proximal end. Ideally, the plate is about 250 mm in length and about 100 mm in height at the proximal end. Preferably, the plate is between about 10mm to 25 mm thick. More preferably, the plate is between about 12 mm to 20 mm thick. Ideally, the plate is about 15 mm thick.

In one aspect, the bar is constructed from 30mm stainless steel (selected from grades 316L, 304L, 410L, 420, 430 ,439, S30815, 314, 31 OS, 409, 430TI, 4589, 305, 301 , 441 , 321 , 444, DX2101 , DX2304, DX2205), abrasion-resistant steel (such as WELDOX® or HARDOX®), carbon steel (selected from grade S235, S275, S355 and S460), graphene, titanium or nylon.

In one aspect, the washer is made from stainless steel (selected from grades 316L and 304L), abrasion-resistant steel (such as WELDOX® or HARDOX®), carbon steel (selected from grade S235, S275, S355 and S460) and aluminium (selected from grades 6063T6, 6082T6, 1050,5252 and 5083).

In one aspect, the vessel-to-vessel gangway is constructed from a lightweight material such as aluminium grade 2014-T6, aluminium grade 6082-T6, titanium, graphene, fibre glass, wood, or combinations thereof. In one aspect, the body of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 1 meter and about 100 meters in length. Preferably, the body of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 1 .5 meters and about 75 meters in length. Preferably, the body of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 1.5 meters and about 50 meters in length. Preferably, the body of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 1 .5 meters and about 25 meters in length. Preferably, the body of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 1 .5 meters and about 15 meters in length. Preferably, the body of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 1 .5 meters and about 6.5 meters in length. Preferably, the body of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 1 .5 meters and about 8.2 meters in length. Preferably, the body of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 1 .5 meters and about 6.5 meters in length. Ideally, the body of the vessel- to-vessel gangway is about 1 .7 meters in length. The first and second ladders range from about 0.5 meters to about 3 meters in length. Preferably, the first and second ladders range from about 1 .0 meters to about 2.0 meters in length. Ideally, the first and second ladders are 1 .5 meters in length. When in storage, the folded over vessel-to-vessel gangway is typically the same length as the body of the gangway. The width of the vessel-to-vessel gangway is between about 300mm and about 100,000mm; preferably between about 300 mm and about 75,000 mm; preferably between about 300 mm and about 75,000 mm; preferably between about 300 mm and about 50,000 mm; preferably between about 300 mm and about 25,000 mm; preferably between about 300 mm and about 15,000 mm; preferably between about 300 mm and about 10,000 mm; preferably between about 300 mm and about 1 ,000 mm; preferably between about 300 mm and about 800 mm; preferably between about 400 mm and about 700 mm; more preferably between about 450 mm and 600 mm; and ideally between about 480 mm and 550 mm. In one embodiment, the gangway has a width of about 500 mm. The depth of the gangway is between about 150 mm and about 500mm; preferably between about 200 mm and about 400 mm; more preferably between about 250 mm and 350 mm; and ideally between about 275 mm and 300 mm. In one embodiment, the gangway has a depth of about 290 mm.

Definitions

In the specification, the term“ship” should be understood to mean a seagoing vessel that travels the world’s oceans and other sufficiently deep waterways, can remain at sea for longer periods of time than boats, and carries passengers or goods. Ships are generally distinguished from boats, based on size (a common notion is that a ship can carry a boat, but not vice versa), shape, load capacity, and tradition.

In the specification, the term“boat” should be understood to mean a craft designed to float and travel on water, and work as an offshore vessel. A boat is a vessel small enough to be carried aboard another vessel (a ship) or a vessel that can be lifted out of the water. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on their larger size, shape and cargo or passenger capacity. Examples of boats include fishing boats (trawlers and the like), offshore supply vessels, pleasure craft (ski boats, pontoon boats, house boats, sailboats, motorboats) and lifeboats.

In the specification, the term“vessel-to-vessel gangway” or“vessel-to-vessel walkway” should be understood to be distinctly different from a ramp in that they are designed to be used at between about 0 and 5% gradients and tend to be used as pedestrian walkways getting to and from a boat or vessel moored alongside another boat or vessel. The terms can be used interchangeably.

In the specification, the term“formed at an angle”, in relation to the hinged section of the gangway of the invention, should be understood to mean that the proximal end of the section is either cut or molded at an angle, typically an oblique angle, that produces a pitch of between about 2° and about 8°, preferably between about 3° and about 7°, more preferably between about 4° and about 6°, and ideally about 5°, when the proximal ends of two sections cooperate with each other.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The invention will be more clearly understood from the following description of an embodiment thereof, given by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

Figure 1 illustrates an aspect of the vessel-to-vessel gangway of the present invention when in use.

Figure 2 illustrates the vessel-to-vessel gangway of Figure 1 when being readied for storage.

Figure 3 illustrates an exploded view of the components of the vessel-to-vessel gangway of Figures 1 and 2, with a first ladder, a second ladder, a perspective view of the gangway in a folded position and a handrail of the gangway. Figure 4 illustrates an aspect of the vessel-to-vessel gangway of the present invention in a working position.

Figure 5 illustrates the vessel-to-vessel gangway of Figure 4 in a folded position.

Figure 6 illustrates the second ladder being locked in a working position by a locking mechanism.

Detailed Description of the Drawings

The present invention provides a lightweight, portable and foldable/collapsible vessel-to- vessel gangway that is for use between two vessels. The gangway can be secured in an area of a vessel, for example, alongside the boats rail, behind the wheelhouse, on top of the gantry or even on the wheelhouse roof. When the vessel pulls alongside another vessel, two crew members will be able to lift and position the vessel-to-vessel gangway so that body of the gangway sits on the rails of both vessels, the hanging brackets on the body of the gangway will rest on the rail of the first vessel, while the body of the gangway traverses the gap between the vessels and rests on the rail of the second vessel. The first ladder will be pivoted off the body of the gangway and rested on the surface of the first vessel, while the second ladder is rolled out from the storage area under the body of the gangway, locked in position and hinged down to the surface of the second vessel. In the event of the vessels rising or falling due to the tide or wave motion, the first ladder, body of the gangway and the second ladder adjust accordingly with vessel movement through the hinging action of the ladders.

Referring now to the figures, where Figure 1 illustrates a general embodiment of a vessel-to-vessel gangway of the present invention. Specifically, Figure 1 illustrates a perspective view of a vessel-to-vessel gangway of the present invention in an operational position and is generally referred to by reference numeral 1 . The vessel-to-vessel gangway 1 comprises a gangway section 2 and two sets ladders, a first set of ladders 4 and a second set of ladders 6. The first and second ladders 4,6 comprise a pair of support beams 8 connected by a plurality of steps 10. The plurality of steps 10 may be treaded and further comprise drainage perforations to prevent pooling of water. In one aspect, the steps 10 may be coated with an anti-slip covering such as anti-slip aluminium, antislip glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and the like. The gangway section 2 comprises a body 3 having an upper surface 5 and a lower surface 7, a distal end 9 and a proximal end 1 1. The upper surface 5 can be smooth or textured to provide grip to the user when walking along the gangway section, and also may comprise drainage perforations to prevent pooling of water. In one aspect, the upper surface 5 may be coated with an anti-slip covering such as anti-slip aluminium, anti-slip glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and the like. The body 3 may also comprise a plurality of steps 10 that provide the user with a foothold when traversing the gangway 1 from vessel-to-vessel (see Figure 4).

The gangway section 2 further comprises an upright member 30,31 which engages with a hinge 12 at a distal end 14 of the first ladder 4. The hinge 12 is connected to the upright member 30,31 by means of bolts or pins 16.

The lower surface 7 further comprises a pair of substantially L-shaped members 13,15 that are integrated into and are perpendicular to the body 3. The substantially L-shaped members 13,15 drop down from the lower surface 7 of the body 3. The substantially L- shaped members 13,15 each have a rail 17 embedded within the perpendicular aspect of the members. The substantially L-shaped members 13,15 act as a conduit for the second ladder 6 to be pushed into and pulled out from the under surface of the body 3. This arrangement forms the storage space 20 for the second ladder 6 under the body 3.

The second ladder 6 further comprise a bar 28 at a distal end 25 thereof that is integrated with a pair of rollers 22. The bar 28 is connected to the second ladder 6 through the pair of rollers 22 (see Figure 3). The pair of rollers 22 are configured to engage with the rail 17 and aid the user to roll out the second ladder 6 and to push the second ladder 6 back into the storage space 20 along the horizontal aspect of the substantially L-shaped members 13,15. When the second ladder 6 is pulled out along the members 13,15 (see Figure 2), the nylon rollers 22 meet a pair of stops 24. The stops 24 are positioned at the end of the substantially L-shaped members 13,15 that are at the proximal end 1 1 of the body 3. The stops 24 prevent the second ladder 6 from being drawn completely out from the storage space 20. When the second ladder 6 meet the stops 24, the second ladder 6 pivots about the bar 28 and drops to the deck of a second vessel. A pair of wheels 50 at the proximal end of the second ladder 6 allow the user to set the angle of the second ladder 6 on the deck of a vessel with ease. A brake can be used on the wheels 50 to stop them from moving further.

The substantially L-shaped members 13,15 further comprise a pair of hanging brackets 40 that are configured to engage with a rail of a vessel. The hanging bracket 40 comprises a pair of plates 41 a, 41 b positioned apart and connected to, and perpendicular with, the substantially L-shaped members 13,15, respectively. The plates 41 a, 41 b each have a void 44 which is adapted to accommodate the rail of the vessel and an aperture 43 adapted for use in securing the gangway 1 to a vertical frame of the rail on the vessel or other structure. The hanging brackets 40 are typically positioned at the end of the substantially L-shaped members 13,15 that are at the distal end 9 of the body 3.

As noted in Figures 4 and 5, the distal end 9 of the body 3, the distal end 19 of the first ladder 4 and the distal end 29 of the second ladder 6 each comprise a pair of wheels 50 adapted to permit the user to roll the vessel-to-vessel gangway 1 along a surface when in a folded position (see Figure 5). The wheels 50 on the first and second ladders 4,6 can also be used to position the first and second ladders 4,6 on the deck of the two vessels when in use. An optional brake can be used to prevent the wheels 50 from moving when in contact with the deck of the vessel.

The vessel-to-vessel gangway 1 further comprises a handrail 100 (see Figures 2, 3 and 4). The handrail 100 can be attached to the first and second ladders 4,6, as well as the gangway section 2. The handrail 100 comprises stanchions 1 10 that are adapted to accommodate a rail 150 and are removable or foldable to permit folding and storage of the handrail 100. In one aspect, the stanchions 110 are attached to the upright members 30,31 of the gangway section 2, and the support beams 8 of the first and second ladders 4,6, by means of a bracket and bolt system 200. The bracket and bolt system 200 comprise a bracket 202 having an aperture 206, the bracket 202 secured to the upright members 30,31 and the support beams 8, and juxtaposed the stanchion 1 10 where the stanchion 1 10 also is secured to upright members 30,31 and the support beams 8. A bolt 208 is threaded through the aperture 206 in the bracket 202 and through a further aperture in the stanchion 1 10. The base of each stanchion 1 10 of the handrail 100 is linked to the bracket and bolt system 200. When a locking bolt 210 is removed from the system 200, the handrail 100 collapses down to a folded position. Once in the folded position, the locking bolt 210 is reinserted into the apertures 206 to lock the handrail 100 in the folded position with the gangway 1. In one aspect, the handrail 100 is fully disconnected from the gangway 1 , and the stanchions 1 10 collapsed and locked in the normal manner. In one aspect, the angle of the handrail 100 can be set at various values by removing the locking bolt 210 form the aperture 206, moving the stanchions 1 10 to the desired angle, and reinserting the locking bolt 210 into the aperture 206 to lock the stanchions 1 10 in position. An example of the angle that the handrail 100 can be set at are seen in Figures 1 and 4. The stanchions 1 10 are also attached to the horizontal rail 150 using a collapsible system 300. The collapsible system 300 comprises a hinge 302 integrated with an underside 152 of the rail 150. To fold or collapse the handrail 100 down for storage, the bracket and bolt system 200 is dismantled by removing the locking bolt 208 connecting the rail 150 to the stanchions 1 10 and the locking bolt 210 connecting the stanchions 1 10 to the upright members 30,31 , and unlocking the hinge 302. Once unlocked and the locking bolts 208,210 removed, the handrail 100 collapses down through the hinging of the collapsible system 300. The handrail 100 and stanchions 1 10 store flat with the gangway 1

Alternatively, the handrail 100 and all its components are detached completely from the the gangway section 2, the first ladder 4, the second ladder 6, or all of said gangway section 2 and first and second ladders 4,6, for storage. The handrail 100 on the second ladder 6 is usually removed, rather than collapsed, when the gangway 1 is being collapsed for storage.

When the gangway 1 is opened out and in use, a locking mechanism 80 is engaged to secure the second ladder 6 in place (see Figure 6). The locking mechanism 80 comprises a bar 82 secured to the support beams 8 of the second ladder 6 and a locking means 84 adapted to engage and disengage with the second ladder 6. When the second ladder 6 is in the storage space 20, the locking mechanism 80 is disengaged. When the second ladder 6 is pulled out to be used, the locking means 84 runs along the rail 17 of the L-shaped members 13,15 of the gangway 1. The locking means 84 is integrated with the bar 82. The support beams 8 each have a hole 85 parallel to the upright portion of the substantially L-shaped members 13,15. The locking means 84 is adapted to pass through the holes 85. The substantially L-shaped members 13,15 each have a corresponding hole at the proximal end 1 1 of the body 3 that align with the holes 85 on the support beams 8. When the second ladder 6 is drawn out from the storage space 20, the locking means 84 runs down the rail 17 and meets the holes that are bored in the substantially L-shaped members sides 13,15. Upon meeting the holes in the substantially L-shaped members 13,15, the locking means 84 engages with the holes in the substantially L-shaped members 13,15. Once engaged, the tension in the locking mechanism 80 holds the second ladder 6 in that position. When the second ladder 6 is to be placed back into the storage space 20, the locking mechanism 80 is disengaged from the holes in the substantially L-shaped members 13,15 and the holes 85 in the support beams 8 by pulling on a release cord 86. The release cord 86 retracts the locking means 84 from the holes, which frees the second ladder 6 and permits the user to push the second ladder 6 back into the storage space 20. A typical locking mechanism that can be used with the invention is any suitable locking means known to the skilled person, such as a nut and bolt arrangement, a lock and key arrangement, a cam lock, a cabin hook (a hooked bar that engages into a staple), a toggle latch, a padlock, a pair of spring- loaded bolts, and the like. The preferred locking mechanism 80 is a pair of spring-loaded bolts or pins.

The advantages of the gangway 1 described herein can be stored in confined spaces on board a boat; it is lightweight for manoeuvrability and can be lifted by a two people; it is foldable/collapsible; and the gangway 1 can be stored easily. It can be fitted to any rail around the vessel making the attachment of the gangway 1 to the vessel very versatile. The gangway 1 is also versatile in that it can be used from vessel to vessel and vessel to a structure such as a pier head, a transom swivel or gunwale steps. Other advantages include the manual folding mechanism for easy storage; collapsible or removable handrails; has a tread plate steps for maximum strength and safety; and drainage perforation incorporated into steps to prevent pooling of liquid on the gangway and step sections.

In the specification the terms "comprise, comprises, comprised and comprising" or any variation thereof and the terms“include, includes, included and including" or any variation thereof are considered to be totally interchangeable and they should all be afforded the widest possible interpretation and vice versa.

The invention is not limited to the embodiments hereinbefore described but may be varied in both construction and detail.