Step up in steps
All boats have them but not all steps are equal. There are hundreds of variations out there but today I'd like to talk briefly about what I think are the 3 main types. I like to think of it almost like an evolution. The humble step has been re-engineered and can be quite a clever space these days.
My first boat was tiny and the steps in were basic open back trio that hooked in at the top. These are often referred to as "companionway ladders." They ware easy to move, and don't take up much space. Eventually, because the boat was so very small they became a temporary kitchen counter, a foot rest and a guest seat as need determined. On bigger boats this sort of step is usually found under the mid ship hatch and secured under the gunwales until needed. As a main step, it's about as “bare bones” functional as a step can be which is great. It has it's place and is a wonderful and tidy solution. Dogs often struggle with them so if you've got a pup aboard, they may not be for you.
The second sort of step that was popular in boat builds in the 90s is the lifting step. The entire outer carcass of the step is one piece and it can be lifted up on a hinge thus providing a under step store area. This can work well, especially if the store space goes further into the hull than simply the step. Access can be fiddly with these, but can be made more amenable with the addition of a pair of runners and a box to slide out. It's still a 3 part process, lift steps, hook steps to bulkhead, slide box out - but it's ok. You wouldn't want to be doing this all the time if you had the choice, but as a storage space for things used occasionally, it's just about doable.
Step three is by far my favorite. The newest incarnation of the humble step combines function with easy practical access, the drawer step. To me, the drawer step is pretty much the perfect combination. Judging by the amount of requests we get for them, I think it's safe to say that I am not alone in appreciating them! So why is a step drawer so great? Well for starters, everyone needs more accessible and smart storage. While you do technically get the most storage in the lift-type step, it's quite cumbersome to access! The difference in actual usable space is negligible, ease of use “wins.” This is where drawer steps really shine. Our drawer step is fitted with Blum range of soft close drawer runners meaning they open smoothly and effortlessly every time.
We use Blum brand because of their consistently high quality, we've yet to be disappointed. There are cheaper alternatives out there, we just don't feel they compare. The soft close mechanism means they never slam closed, and that's quite a lush touch. Easy access, smooth action, smart appearance, so far in the evolution of steps, so far the drawer is our top pick!