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Old 16-10-2010, 09:32   #16
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Soundgrrl- we cruised for a year full-time with our black lab... here are our experiences and recommendations: First, we found it unrealistic for the dog to wear a lifejacket all the time on deck. Too bulky, too hot (Mexico), and uncomforable. Anytime underway and on deck, he wore his harness (Ruffwear) and was tethered in the cockpit. For trips forward, he was not tethered. He was also trained to not leave the cockpit without permission... which was really handy when anchoring or docking. In rough weather... yes, he had a heavy-duty lifejacket on (again, a ruffwear).

He also knew that any trips ashore required the harness, which was light and ventilated... but would support his whole body weight (it was designed for rescue dogs). This allowed us to "roll" him back into the dinghy if needed, and had a connections for a leash when needed. I highly recommend a harness... and use it all the time, when on deck and not wearing a lifejacket. A lifejacket is necessary for dogs that are not good swimmers or not comfortable in the water... and are absolutely required in rough weather. As a side note, our dog also wore a waterproof red strobe light on the top of his lifejacket when it was dark out in rough weather. Plus reflective strips on the lifejacket.

For getting him back aboard... every boat needs to have plan for getting an unconscious or extremely tired/weak person back aboard. It needs to be quick and simple. For us, it's either the spinaker halyard or running backstays. The outboard motor lift will work for a dog, but not a person.

At anchor swimming with the dog was always from the dinghy. We never allowed him to jump off our boat. Getting him back aboard was quite easy. Roll him back into the dinghy via his harness, and he could jump/sort of climb the ladder back aboard from the dinghy (he had lots of practice).

Best of luck.
Steve
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Old 16-10-2010, 10:37   #17
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I can tell by some responses that people take for granted upper body strength. Yes, I can push my dog into the back of my truck, but leaning over the side rail, I can barely reach the water, let alone the dog and pull her up. I'm sure the adrenaline rush will make a huge difference and in a true emergency, I wouldn't think twice about personal injury to save my dog.

As for me, I can climb a ladder and get on and off the boat. I plan to try the paws aboard ladder, but it is designed for boats whose transoms are lower to the water line.

I have a very sturdy dog life vest (I love the inflatable and will plan to get one).

I have yet to figure out how to do the tackle/block thing over the boom. Does anyone have an illustration?

My dog loves to swim and explore shorelines. (which we do with no problem on the motorboat that I can beach) But the sailboat is entirely different matter. I have a fixed keel and no dingy, so have to stay offshore. I want her to be able to get off and enjoy the water and shore with me. So, if I'm in water over my head, I kept just lift her up and toss her on board.

I really appreciate all the ideas and responses! Tether and netting are excellent ideas. I wasn't sure if netting really made a difference. Keep the ideas coming.
I always have a life line on my German Shepard she has a lot of wolf in her and is fearless she's crazy! Jenny is a very sweet dog it scares me how brave she is but I have to keep a line on her at all times while under way.
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Old 16-10-2010, 10:54   #18
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The chances of getting your dog back aboard safely if they go overboard in anything more than extremely calm conditions (or for that matter a person) are unfortunately very low.
Our standing rule with the dogs is that they are to be tethered in the cockpit or down below whenever we are under way (i.e. not allowed on deck). Also, my dogs are not allowed to jump on and off the boat (even at the dock). Accidents happen too easily so just like small children they must be watched closely and kept safe from bad things happening to them.....it is our responsbility.
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Jackie
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Old 16-10-2010, 12:05   #19
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The chances of getting your dog back aboard safely if they go overboard in anything more than extremely calm conditions (or for that matter a person) are unfortunately very low.
Our standing rule with the dogs is that they are to be tethered in the cockpit or down below whenever we are under way (i.e. not allowed on deck). Also, my dogs are not allowed to jump on and off the boat (even at the dock). Accidents happen too easily so just like small children they must be watched closely and kept safe from bad things happening to them.....it is our responsbility.
Best,
Jackie
You are right and I never let her out of the cockpit until we anchor.A couple of weeks ago we had a tropical storm come through almost a hurricane around 2:30 am a couple of shrimp boats were breaking free from a dock the largest one the bow and spring line had broke it was around 80 feet and the other tied abreast was about 45 feet I thought it was the eye passing and got in the dinghy to check things out Jenny had to go the crazy thing likes to stand on the bow she turns and looks at me and just jumps off scared the living you know what out of me I took the engine out of gear right away then circled around and pulled her back in looked at the shrimp boats and there was nothing I could do plus they were 90 degrees from the dock a 27 catalina had broken free and was wedged between the transom of the large shrimp boat I tried to move it thinking when the wind swings around it would crush it lucky we never got any more wind.I was worried because that big boat would have done a lot of dammage I had my engine running ready to move thank GOD the wind died down.
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Old 16-10-2010, 12:26   #20
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You are right and I never let her out of the cockpit until we anchor.A couple of weeks ago we had a tropical storm come through almost a hurricane around 2:30 am a couple of shrimp boats were breaking free from a dock the largest one the bow and spring line had broke it was around 80 feet and the other tied abreast was about 45 feet I thought it was the eye passing and got in the dinghy to check things out Jenny had to go the crazy thing likes to stand on the bow she turns and looks at me and just jumps off scared the living you know what out of me I took the engine out of gear right away then circled around and pulled her back in looked at the shrimp boats and there was nothing I could do plus they were 90 degrees from the dock a 27 catalina had broken free and was wedged between the transom of the large shrimp boat I tried to move it thinking when the wind swings around it would crush it lucky we never got any more wind.I was worried because that big boat would have done a lot of dammage I had my engine running ready to move thank GOD the wind died down.
Sounds like some exciting times! I am glad everything turned out ok.
Dogs can do some pretty crazy things when you least expect it that is for sure. I honestly do not believe they have the reasoning power that some people give them credit for.
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Old 16-10-2010, 13:02   #21
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They are nothing but family and love
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Old 16-10-2010, 13:06   #22
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I really don't like the thought of harnessing and leashing my dog to the boat. That sounds dangerous itself.

In light weather, she likes to join the crew as ballast on the windward rail, and other wise she anticipates our every move and hops away before we need any space she might be in. She seems to instinctively know to come off the bow when we call "ready to tack" and if the weather picks up, she sticks herself in the cockpit and stays there. If the weather gets really bad, we throw her below - but that's no easy feat with a 45kg dog!!

She wears her PFD no probs in heavy weather and at night. And she swims well in in. She loves the sea, but her fur gets waterlogged, and she will only swim in her orange flotation device. Fine! I like the inflatable one though. It looks like one could be easily made from a normal human one, if the harness was attached correctly and safely - I think I'll take a look at that sometime.
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Old 17-10-2010, 07:03   #23
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Letting your dog roam the boat can be dangerous. Our Schip wears a harness and tether whenever we are underway.

We met a couple a few years ago with a Schip. They told us that they were once on the ICW, and the dog was wandering the boat. Some time passed and they realized they had not seen him for a while. Turns out, he fell overboard. They turned around to go look for him, and luckily for the dog, someone picked him up. Could have been a whole lot worse.
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Old 22-08-2011, 18:24   #24
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We lived aboard for many years and it was more dangerous at the doc then sailing. When i was much younger and between the two of us we could get the dog out of the water. Now I am older, weaker and have two dogs neither of whom likes the water. If I could rely on them swimming to me I could attach the jib or main halyard and easily lift them. It's too hot for my pets in Florida and sadly they are not water dogs. I see no point in making them unhappy.
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Old 23-08-2011, 10:15   #25
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Re: Dog Overboard

If you want to keep your dog, make sure it is tethered to the boat whenever the boat is moving. Period.
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Old 24-08-2011, 17:25   #26
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Re: Dog Overboard

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If you want to keep your dog, make sure it is tethered to the boat whenever the boat is moving. Period.
Hm. Our dogs have been sailing with us for ten years, no probs. Tethering sounds dangerous, but each to their own. Perhaps if your dog can't be controlled without a tether, it should be below decks or back on land. I would no more tether our dogs than i would our crew.
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Old 24-08-2011, 17:49   #27
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Re: Dog Overboard

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Hm. Our dogs have been sailing with us for ten years, no probs. Tethering sounds dangerous, but each to their own. Perhaps if your dog can't be controlled without a tether, it should be below decks or back on land. I would no more tether our dogs than i would our crew.
To each his (or her) own, I suppose. I have a small Jack Russel, with whom I have been sailing for over 12 years. When I go on the foredeck, he often tries to follow. I tether him to the helm station via his harness and leash, and I don't ever have to worry about trying to find my 14lb best friend somewhere offshore. My point is that if you want to guarantee that your dog doesn't go overboard offshore, then you need to tether it. You can handle your dogs however you like, but to claim that your dog is at greater risk by being tethered while offshore than it is while roaming freely doesn't make much sense to me.

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Old 24-08-2011, 19:00   #28
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Re: Dog Overboard

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She won't climb a ladder.
You mean she'd rather die?
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Old 24-08-2011, 20:00   #29
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Re: Dog Overboard

We tethered our dog when not at anchor/docked. A dog's paw cannot grab a rail etc to catch himself or hang on. I would be concerned that a sudden lurch would throw him overboard, even with the safety nets up.

Our dog did enjoy chatting with the dolphins though. He would stand at the bow and watch, then wag his tail and do sort of happy whine at them.
I could see the dolphins roll slightly to look up at him while they were surfing the bow. It was wonderful to watch them interact.

(trying to figure out how to load photo)
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Old 25-08-2011, 00:44   #30
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Re: Dog Overboard

The harness was helpful to haul the dog up from the dinghy as well as keeping him on the boat.

I started tethering the dog to the boat after he almost went over the stern during an accidental "dingy overboard" incident (please don't ask!). The dog started to stand up for a better view of the dingy drifting away behind us, then started to panic as he began to slide. His claws could not get enough traction on the deck. I just managed to grab his tail and haul him back into the cockpit before he reached the edge.
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