Photo Galleries

What’s the Difference Between Ramps and Gangways for Docks?

What’s the Difference Between Ramps and Gangways for Docks?


The transition from the platform to the shoreline is essential to the waterfront experience, especially outside of the main dock structure. Some properties have specific requirements and water conditions that make installing a platform near the shore nearly impossible.

Luckily, ramps and gangways are basic components of the boating experience. They are stable, comfortable, and easy to use. Let’s learn the difference between ramps and gangways for docks.


Ramps help connect steep shorelines to docks. These structures keep pedestrians, anglers, and boaters in mind since they are perfect for short distances.

Boat ramps bridge the gap between the shore and platform and cover steep or rocky inclined areas, creating a navigable and steady walking surface. However, guests should still proceed with caution as ramps often lack railings. Ramps also add functionality to your docking design, facilitating loading and unloading cargo.


A gangway may be a significant component to add to your docking system since it connects the platform to the shoreline. Many gangways pair with commercial or residential structures, creating a usable path for guests.

Gangways typically span longer distances than ramps since they don’t follow the sloped design. They also provide added stability for children and older adults by incorporating handrails.

These accessories are ideal for shallow bodies of water and ponds void of raised terrain; however, they may still require a connecting ramp when crossing steeper ground.

Selecting the Best Option

Considering all factors before installing a ramp or gangway with your dock may help you select the best option for your shoreline property. Take a look at what your neighbors are using and consider incorporating those accessories into your dock system since the platform will sit at a similar height.

Consider how you, your family, or guests intend to use the ramp or gangway. Are you comfortable with an incline? Does your dock sit far from the shore? Do you come across large boulders and rocks when walking to the platform? These questions can facilitate the ramp versus gangway decision process.

Surprisingly, there isn’t a significant difference between boat ramps and gangways. Since they are more similar than different, you could include either option into your dock design to bridge the gap between land and water.

If you're searching for aluminum dock ramps, consider browsing our catalog on our American Muscle Docks webpage. We offer sturdy, durable kits and designs suitable for all waterfront properties.

Older Post Newer Post