Each ship used several different types of ladders. The straight inclined ladder was the most common. Some inclined ladders, used along bulwarks or at poop and quarter deck steps, had curved sides. Simple vertical ladders were also common.
On late 19th-century warships flexible hanging ladders would replace the normal fixed ladders on deck during battle. These and railings would be removed and replaced with Jacob's ladders and ropes while preparing for battle the days before. This was done to prevent them from blocking line of sight or turning into shrapnel when hit by enemy shells.