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Old 30-03-2016, 22:07   #1
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Getting a dog on and off a boat

We are a family transitioning to full time liveaboards as we prepare to go explore the world. We have a border collie, around 30kg so reasonably heavy to lift, that would like to come sailing with us, and while I know many people sail with dogs, loading them into the dinghy to go ashore, my guess is that these sailors either have little dogs, or they have sugar scoop sterns where the dog can just step into the dinghy. Our stern is a negative angled 2m+ drop straight to the water. We are planning on adding a folding swim platform and ladder to get down there to make it a safe boarding option for the kids, but the dog will still not be able to get down a vertical ladder. Side gates are a bit closer to the water, but still a significant drop and it would take a very brave dog to leap from there to a dinghy bouncing in the waves, I really doubt he would ever attempt it.

Has anyone come up with some innovative solutions to such a problem? It's causing a lot of family distress to think that he may just not be able to come with us.
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Old 30-03-2016, 23:16   #2
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

We have a 60 lb poodle. While we live on the boat, we haven't been out much yet. The times we were I lowered him into the dinghy by the handle on his life jacket, sometimes with a short line. To get back onto the boat I picked him up from the dinghy and placed him on deck. It isn't ideal. What I want is a side mounted passeral that folds flat against the life lines. We still haven't found one.

We do have lifting harness for both dogs (25lb terrier too), which I like a lot.


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Old 31-03-2016, 00:56   #3
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

Anyone tried one of these on the davits?

https://www.rayallen.com/product/rap...escue-Tracking

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Old 31-03-2016, 01:17   #4
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

pwillems,

You know your dog. Does he like to run all day? Is he excitable? Would he look placid in the picture of the Alsatian above?

Now, Border Collies are intelligent and adaptable, and you guys are his pack, so it isn't hopeless, and if you can engineer a sloping ladder from the swim platform, that might actually work. (I once trained a couple of Australian Shepherd crosses to climb a timber ladder in my back yard, but the angle was not so steep that it bothered them, and the height, maybe 1.5 m., so not really so high they couldn't come down. The hardest part for them was turning around, 'cause the foot spacing didn't come naturally. The less steep it is, the better his chances.) I would put coachwhipping on the steps for greater traction for him. Also, as a heavy coated dog, that's a lot of sea water he's going to be spreading all over the boat. How well does he manage the companionway?

I would think a purpose made sling might work, if the dog is not too exciteable. Use the spinnaker halyard if you have one, and you could controlledly lower him to the dinghy--if you can bring him to accept it. It will take many rewards, and maybe even show him, by lowering one of your kids to the dinghy with it first, and let your kid keep encouraging him while you lower him as above. That's a heap of motivation for a Border Collie.

At the end of the day, it would perhaps be kinder to all of you than to find he's miserable aboard for long times. It's the time without shore runs that is the problem.

Ann

On edit: there have been a few threads on this subject on CF. Have you tried a CF Google Custom Search (a ways down in the Search menu)?
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Old 31-03-2016, 03:18   #5
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

I adore cats and dogs, but they don't fit my frequently-traveled life style.
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Old 31-03-2016, 06:27   #6
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

We have 2 large dogs onboard- you have to really be a dog lover to make it work, but it can work. We started with them at the marina with boarding steps, then later removed the steps and had them jump up from the dock. Then to/from the dinghy in very calm water with the life jackets (with handle on the back) so we could help them.

Now they jump in/out of the dinghy from the side gates unassisted no problem- we have a high freeboard center cockpit so its a big jump.. A border collie is a very trainable dog you shouldn't have a problem if you are committed to making it work.
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Old 31-03-2016, 09:01   #7
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by pwillems View Post
Have you read the review on the Ray Allen website?


I lift our dogs on and off the dinghy at the amidships gate. Admittedly one is small at about 8kg but the other is only just a bit lighter than your collies. It's unlikely she would be able to jump up to the deck as it's about 1.5m above the dinghy (RIB) sponson and she's getting on in years.


Mike
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Old 31-03-2016, 09:04   #8
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by pwillems View Post
We are a family transitioning to full time liveaboards as we prepare to go explore the world. We have a border collie, around 30kg so reasonably heavy to lift, that would like to come sailing with us, and while I know many people sail with dogs, loading them into the dinghy to go ashore, my guess is that these sailors either have little dogs, or they have sugar scoop sterns where the dog can just step into the dinghy. Our stern is a negative angled 2m+ drop straight to the water. We are planning on adding a folding swim platform and ladder to get down there to make it a safe boarding option for the kids, but the dog will still not be able to get down a vertical ladder. Side gates are a bit closer to the water, but still a significant drop and it would take a very brave dog to leap from there to a dinghy bouncing in the waves, I really doubt he would ever attempt it.

Has anyone come up with some innovative solutions to such a problem? It's causing a lot of family distress to think that he may just not be able to come with us.
We had a similar issue when we had a Ericson 38. It had a solid ladder that swung up to be part of the stern pulpit when not in the down position for swimming/boarding. We could lower that ladder so the bottom was on the floor of the dingy, which gave it a gang plank sort of angle (not vertical anyway), and then put a stiff cockpit cushion over the ladder bars so there was a surface to walk on. Not perfect, but it worked pretty well for two golden retrievers. They were happy to jump from the deck into the water to swim, but this made it easier to get them into the dingy and back out.
Hope it helps...
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Old 31-03-2016, 09:22   #9
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

[QUOTE=captmikecoin;2085914]Have you read the review on the Ray Allen website?

It's unfortunate there aren't more reviews, as it's possible it didn't work for her dog (size, behavior, etc...). Sitting in any form of sling is not always instinctual for humans or animals, and it may be a matter of training the dog. I imagine that if you've accustomed your pet to wearing a canine pfd, you'd have more luck than somebody who's not done so.
IMHO
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Old 31-03-2016, 09:23   #10
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

Big dog on board - questions

Sailing with a dog

Best Sailing Dog ?

Dog-Swim Platform to Deck

There are a ton of dog-on-board suggestions in previous threads on CF. Here are a few.
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Old 31-03-2016, 10:25   #11
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

We use a harness with a handle on it for our 60 lb. Yellow lab, and for our 14 lb. Dachshund. I believe it is a Guardian Service harness. The handle really helps and is also a good safety grab if they decide to inadvertently take a swim...
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Old 31-03-2016, 11:55   #12
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

We have a load-a-pup, which attaches to our swim platform, but can be removed when underway.

http://www.amazon.com/Load-A-Pup-Boa.../dp/B00303YT6K

We use this for our 85 lb golden retriever. It is also a great place for her to rest if she get tired while swimming with the kids.
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Old 31-03-2016, 12:34   #13
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

We have a 100 lb GSD that lives on board with us. She happily jumps into the tender while it is hanging from the davits and we lower her down. She sits patiently in the tender while we raise the tender from the water as well. The biggest issue with having a dog on board is the different requirements for entry into each country. Some are just off our list due to quarantine requirements.
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Old 31-03-2016, 13:15   #14
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

If all else fails try a ballista.

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Old 31-03-2016, 14:27   #15
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Re: Getting a dog on and off a boat

I've heard good things about the Help 'Em Up Harness.

8 Reasons Why We Love The Help Em Up Harness

These cruisers have a large dog too, and the link above shows them lifting him onto the boat. I'm planning to get one for our 70 lb. German Shepherd.
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