Dog-On Water Ramp
We finally got to take a trip out on the water yesterday, which went really well until the prop hit a large rock under the dock. The boat has a bad vibration, but I believe it to just be due to the prop damage — fortunately we had the aluminum on and the stainless stored under the helm seat. Hoping that is all the issue is, at about $80 worth of damage. I ordered a new Solas Aluminum Rubex 4 14.5×17 to replace it with, which is probably a better prop. $72 plus about $9 shipping.
The water levels are low and the dock is almost entirely resting on land at this point. I didn’t really get a photo of it, but only the very bottom edge is touching the water. You can sort of see how steep the dock is.
We were able to use the ramp for the first time, and the dogs really took to it. Violet had no issues, but Maggie took a little more coaxing. They both now jump in and out of the boat and swim on their own. It didn’t take long. I have no doubt this was the right choice for our dogs.
Maggie found that she can be partially submerged yet supported if she just lays in the ramp. That makes for a happy Maggie:
The tie-outs I made didn’t really work, and we ended up using the paracord to better secure it. I ordered some soft nylon rope that we’ll just tie on the dock cleats with a cleat hitch, on future trips.
A big issue for us is now that the dogs are using the ramp, there is a lot more water coming in and onto the boat. While the boat has a supposed non-skid surface on it, it doesn’t seem to work really well. It’s worn in some spots and, really, was probably only somewhat effective to begin with. The dogs run across the engine box at full speed, but it slopes off to the outdrive and we’re really worried about them falling on the drive and getting seriously injured. I found a cheaper alternative to Sea-Dek, called Blacktip sheets, and will be installing it over most of the deck areas in the next couple of weeks. It looks like this:
It’s a cut-to-fit, foam sheeting with adhesive backing that you cut with a carpet knife and stick down to the hull. Sea-Dek has been on my radar for quite a while, but at over $600 for just the sheets was on the back burner. The Blacktip seems to have good reviews, and ran around a third of the price. If it does have issues, I’ll deal with them then. Sea-Dek has an expected life of 5-7 years, and there are reports of people happy with this product after five. The foam is the same kind of foam that is used in a log of yoga mats, and is very non-skid.