Marine stage tracking ship gangway

What is a Gangway?

A gangway is a raised platform or walkway that typically provides safe passage to or from a tower, truck, train, or boat. Gangways are different than other types of walkways and platforms because they usually need to be able to move and readjust their position or rotation to fit the situation.

A very common use of gangways is to allow passage from a dock or platform to a moored boat. These gangways are typically quite long in order to ensure they do not slip off the platform or are forced into unsafe positions for persons walking across them. Another use of gangways is found in maintenance and loading / unloading of materials off of trucks and trains. These gangways are typically shorter in length, as the variability of their position is smaller, and may include additional safety or technical features in order to assist workers in their efforts on or off the vehicle. In order to effectively accomplish these tasks, gangways have a few distinguishing elements.

Self-Adjusting Stair Gangway
Self-Adjusting Stair Gangway

Many gangways will be constructed using lighter metals such as aluminum, which is more than half the density of steel, although steel remains a viable option in some scenarios. By using lighter, equally strong materials, gangways can more easily and dynamically adjust and move, whether they are being laid out to meet a walkway, or simply adjusting to match another movement while already deployed.

Another key aspect is the surface or surfaces upon which people walk across the gangway. Sometimes gangways use single flat surfaces that act as ramps to walk across. However, in many gangways this surface is broken into several segmented steps, regardless of whether or not the gangway is being used as a staircase. These steps are not directly connected to each other, but rather through systems along the sides that ensure the steps remain upright regardless of the orientation of the gangways. Because of this, gangways can be raised and lowered, without any concern for a person’s ability to make it across safely, as can often be a problem with ramps built with single flat surfaces.

Gangways’ applications require the walkway to be mounted and maneuvered from a single fixed point, stretching across a gap. Because of this, the torque required to reposition them can be difficult. However, high quality gangways will feature a form of counterweight, such as spring counterbalance system, that allows the user or machine to easily reposition the platform without much effort.

SAS Gangway

SafeRack provides the #1 selling Gangway in North America. SafeRack gangways are made in the United States, highly engineered to ensure safety and productivity for their users, whether in marine, truck, or railcar settings. To find out more about about SafeRack gangways or other safety products, visit