Dogs Aboard

Scott sent an email with an interesting challenge. We have boated for years with our dog but never encountered Scott’s challenge because we didn’t have an aft cabin cruiser then. We just used muscle each time the dog wanted on or off the boat. His question follows:

How do I get my dog from the Platform to the Aft Deck on my Aft Cabin Cruiser?

Scott frequently goes to an offshore beach and stays overnight on the water. He has a golden retriver who loves to swim.

Getting the dog on and off a swim platform isn’t an issue right now, but he would like to trade up to an aft cabin Carver. Now his question is "How do I get her up to the aft deck off the swim platform?" Dogs don’t do well with vertical ladders–up or down.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Have you already figured out how to do this? Let us know by email, so we can help Scott out.

There are several gadgets out there to help dogs from the water to the swim platform that work pretty well (just Google it and you’ll find lots), but I haven’t seen anything from the swim platform to the aft deck.

Circular molded fiberglass staircases were fabricated into transoms of motor yachts after approximately 2000. On other motor yachts, it is a vertical ladder with teak treads. A large dog won’t climb a ladder up or down.

A suggestion is to cut a length of plywood that will angle from the top of the ladder and gate entrance down diagonally across the transom width to within a foot of the far edge of the platform. The longer it is, the less steep it will be for the dog. Attach 1"x1" treads every 6 or 8 inches to give him grip. Probably, covering it with a shag or burber carpet would give the dog even more grip. It will take a little ingenuity to figure out how to support the top of the ramp. But, for the first trial period, one could hose clamp a piece of pipe to the horizontal section of your ladder, then attach the pipe to the top of the piece of plywood with a couple of "C" style loops that are big enough to slide over the pipe. Attach it to the inboard side of the ladder, so people will still be able to climb the ladder. Once the dog has gone around the corner a few times, the space at the top of the ladder shouldn’t concern him.

Do you have any ideas?

Please let us know, if you have devised a method for boarding a large dog from the water to the platform and from the platform to the aft deck of a motor yacht.

Send in your ideas to so we can share them with other readers.
Doug Dawson


2 thoughts on “Dogs Aboard”

  1. Hello. We are looking at 40 to 50′ motor yachts. Many have aft cabins. We have 2 large dogs (Doberman and a German Shepherd) and cannot figure out how we would get them from the swim platform to the aft deck. I found this post when I did a Google search. Did anyone have and ideas? Thank you.

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