From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the system of escape routes used by Nazis and other fascists after World War II, see Ratlines (World War II aftermath).
Climbing the ratlines of STS Mir
Ratlines and rigging of Christian Radich

Ratlines, pronounced "rattlin's", are lengths of thin line tied between the shrouds of a sailing ship to form a ladder.[1] Found on all square rigged ships, whose crews must go aloft to stow the square sails, they also appear on larger fore-and-aft rigged vessels to aid in repairs aloft or conduct a lookout from above.

Lower courses in a ratline are often made of slats of wood for support where the distance between shrouds is greatest. These wooden boards are called rat-boards. In some instances holes in these slats guide and organise low-tension lines between the deck and the rig.


  1. ^ "The Free Dictionary: Ratlines". Retrieved 2013-08-29.