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Old 11-05-2015, 14:03   #1
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Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

We own a 46 foot catamaran and have no idea how to plan for getting our 4-legged child (a sweet 75lb chocolate lab named Sasha) back aboard. Thinking about replacing the swim ladder with some kind of custom built steps that fold up neatly against the transom steps. Those of you who cruise with a large dog, what have you done? Is a ramp better, something made out of a flat board with astro-turf attached?

We'd prefer to keep one transom open for dinghy boarding, so a multi-purpose solution on one of the transoms (something that works for both dog and man) would be ideal. If you have a solution for this, please let us know and pics would be great too!!!

Thanks!

Rob
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:14   #2
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

We have a black lab on our Beneteau 351, and all we do is one of us braces at the ladder, she swims into our lap, and on command we stand up while she climbs aboard. Our standing gets her back paws higher and it works. Mostly. For now.

Take a look Paws Aboard Doggy Boat Ladder on Amazon. We're contemplating making something similar.

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Old 12-05-2015, 07:17   #3
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

We tried a couple of things. One was to attach a large square fender under the transom swim ladder so it would float horizontally and allow Bal to use it like a ramp. It didn't work so well. In the end he just showed us he could use the ladder as normal so no more inventions needed By me
There are some solutions
Pictures of Dog/Cat ramps
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:30   #4
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

Our dog is a 100 pound Doberman; we have a sugar scoop, so no problem getting him out of a kayak or dinghy, but he can't navigate the steps from the companionway.

My solution was fashioned from a pre-made wooden shelf from Lowe's; I glued a thin but grippy carpet to the top, and put a support for a crossbar to support the lower third of the ramp. It stows neatly against the wall nearest the door to the aft cabin, held firmly with a deadbolt.

It's almost the same shade as the interior wood, so when stowed, it's so invisible, guests don't even know it's there.

We just put the ramp on one of the steps, put the lower end on the crossbar, and Max happily jumps down to his favorite settee.

Fair winds,

Leo
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:31   #5
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

Get a smaller dog.

I contemplated that when I decided to get a companion after our son left the crew roster. My choice was an English Springer Spaniel. He weighs in at 45 lbs. I put one of these life vests on him - not because he can't swim but because it has a handle. I just hoist him up like some small outboard motor. I didn't just choose him for his portability, BTW. I grew up with this breed and find them to be lovely, friendly, intelligent dogs. Much like those larger Labs with their table clearing tails and their tendency to remain, essentially, a puppy until they are 6 years old.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:59   #6
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

If you have the sugar scoop transoms as I have and also the Lab, check out the Takacat Lite, you can draw it right up close and tight, they have amazing buoyancy to take a heavy weight straight down the centre without capsize. There is a video on their web site.

Rob
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:33   #7
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

We have a 75lb golden/ridgeback mix. He had a lot of problem boarding and getting around on the gel coat. We got him some pawz rubber boots and he walked like he owned the place.

Amazon.com : Protex Pawz Dog Boots - Purple - Large : Pet Boots : Pet Supplies

As one of our neighbors exclaimed. "Boat Shoes for dogs"
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:38   #8
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

We have a 70 lb. yellow lab, Maggie, and have done two things for her. One is we have a harness (swim vest) with a handle on the back of it that allows one to grab and hoist her up as needed. We also bought a 5 foot ramp that has carpet on it and one end fastens to the top of the swim platform and the other end has floatation under it. When she swims then returns to the ramp it sinks a bit allowing her easy climbing access back up the ramp to the swim platform. That is where the harness kicks in to help up up the vertical steps onto the rear deck. When not in use, we store up on the flybridge along the port rail. It's worked pretty well for us.

Here is a PetSmart version:Skamper Ramp Super Water Escape Pet Ramp | Ramps & Stairs | PetSmart

Have fun!
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Old 12-05-2015, 13:26   #9
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

I believe Defender Marine Supply offers an actual Dog Step that would work, or make a sling and use halyard- Our dog is quite small, only 30 #s, but I use halyards to hoist and lower batteries during splash and haul out.
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Old 12-05-2015, 14:26   #10
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

My 2nd Mate, Marlow (a 75Lb Yellow Lab) uses this folding dog ramp from Amazon. Since it folds it's easy to store until needed. It has non-slip carpet and is weatherproof but may not be sturdy enough for a large person. Just a thought-

http://www.amazon.com/Solvit-62332-U...lding+dog+ramp
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Old 12-05-2015, 15:05   #11
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

Thanks everyone for the great feedback!! I've seen a lot of options now and it's generated many new ideas. We may end up with some kind of ramp arrangement that attaches to or somehow utilizes the existing ladder. I might even be able to fabricate something myself.

Thanks again!

Rob
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Old 12-05-2015, 15:52   #12
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

My dog is also a Chocolate Lab, named Sasha. We don't use any contraptions. She just jumps which dogs are great at. If she doesn't want to. Throw a treat for her. She'll go.
If tide is low, put her arms up and boost her bottom. No worries.
We don't use a vest. She can swim. Vest also have bright stripes which could attract a Barracuda to you girl.
Good luck!
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Old 12-05-2015, 16:56   #13
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Re: Getting our 75lb lab back aboard

Good to see so many of us with labs out there.

The perfect boat dog, IMHO

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