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Old 06-18-2018, 10:20 AM   #1
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Dogs aboard

Hi --

What does everyone do for ease of access for their dogs? I understand lots of ways to get them aboard and onto a swim platform to the dinghy, but can't see a way to give access to flybridge for larger dogs. (Some of the tri cabins look like they would work, but then we sacrifice cockpit area for the humans.) We are just starting our boat search and I'm having trouble visualizing what style of boat would accommodate our desires, plus those of our pup (Lucy is a mid-size Labrador). I'm not crazy about the look of sundeck boats. Our budget is below 75k here in the Pacific NW. Would like inside/outside helm, big windows with walk around deck, a nice cockpit seating area -- plus a way for the dog to be with us when we're steering up top. Am I asking for too much?
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:33 AM   #2
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Not all boats have ladders. The Mainship 350, 390, 400, and 34T all have staircases to the flybridge.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:39 AM   #3
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What does everyone do for ease of access for their dogs? I understand lots of ways to get them aboard and onto a swim platform to the dinghy, but can't see a way to give access to flybridge for larger dogs.

We had a boat with ladder to the bridge... but that didn't work well at the time for our Pretty Good Pyrenees or his brother, the Golden Receiver.

Now we have a boat with stairs to the bridge, and our more recent big Golden Receiver could get up and down those easily.

It's easier on us, too, and I can carry a tray full of Happy Hour at the same time...

In addition to those more recent Mainship models, Sea Ray, Meridian, Silverton, Luhrs, and maybe a few others (Formula? Regal? Cruisers?) offer some models with stairs to the bridge.

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Old 06-19-2018, 06:52 AM   #4
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42' Navigators have stairs to the bridge....Bimini (our 40lb lab) easily goes up and down.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:57 AM   #5
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OurBayliner 4788 has stairs to the flying bridge and boat deck.

Just like humans, our furry shipmates needs should be considered when choosing a boat.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:13 AM   #6
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We have a ladder, but both labs stay in the salon sleeping below.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:47 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone! I've been looking at some models with stairs to the bridge -- both budget (under 75k) and size preference (36' and smaller) dictate that many of them are out of range. We spent a lot of time talking about this yesterday. As with all things, there will definitely be a trade off. Right now our thought is that if we choose a boat with a larger aft cockpit to enjoy while on the hook, that Lucy might need to be content with a cozy bed in the salon or aft while we are underway and up on the bridge. Not having had a larger boat before, not sure yet how much time underway will be spent up top and how much will be from the inside helm -- obviously weather dependent. But I do know that we really love to sit outside with a book and a glass of wine at the end of the day, and we'd like to do that in a nice cockpit where she could be with us. Please keep your suggestions coming -- including smaller boats with ladders that might fit our criteria. I'm new to this forum and find everyone so helpful. Thank you!
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:49 AM   #8
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Another thing to consider about our beloved dogs on the flybridge is safety, i.e. how easily can they fall off or get tossed about? Big wake, unexpected sudden stop (grounding) - these things sometimes happen on a boat. People can grab the railings; dogs cannot.


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Old 06-19-2018, 08:55 AM   #9
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Very true, thanks for pointing this out. Love it when I find boats that have canvas around the flybridge. Future grandkids to think about, too.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:01 AM   #10
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Right now our thought is that if we choose a boat with a larger aft cockpit to enjoy while on the hook, that Lucy might need to be content with a cozy bed in the salon or aft while we are underway and up on the bridge. Not having had a larger boat before, not sure yet how much time underway will be spent up top and how much will be from the inside helm -- obviously weather dependent.

Could work. But be aware, not all boats with stairs actually have lower helm stations.

FWIW, we did have one on our "ladder" boat. The dogs weren't comfortable being "down" by themselves in any kind of weather... wanted to come up where we were... and within reason, we would have preferred that. Eventually we would make the switch to pilot from the lower helm in cases where weather made that seem prudent, or at least warmer/dryer. Couldn't see well (crab pots, etc.) from down there, though, so I didn't like to use the lower helm all that often...

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Old 06-19-2018, 09:07 AM   #11
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How about an Aft cabin. They usually have stairs into the cabin AND from the back deck (not sure I'd call it a cockpit) to the bridge as well. Plus they have tons of room.
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:07 AM   #12
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Yes, we are looking at some aft cabin boats and they seem like they would be easier to get Lucy up to the bridge, at least while she is young. Ha ha on the cockpit verbage -- I come from a sailboat background. It's called a "back deck"? That seems land-based! Anyway, all is a compromise. If we find an aft cabin model that has a spacious enough back deck, that would be the ideal. Still searching....still looking for the right combination!
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:20 AM   #13
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Keep in mind aft cabin boats have great sleeping quarters, but you are removed a bit from the dock/swim platform, so you eventual will need to traverse that height someway. For some reason, you don't see "many" aft cabins doing a lot of cruising, more of a live a board. Just a basic observation, not ment to cast any opinion of said model!
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:50 AM   #14
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I'm not sure of your meaning, Marlinmike?
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:58 AM   #15
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Keep in mind aft cabin boats have great sleeping quarters, but you are removed a bit from the dock/swim platform, so you eventual will need to traverse that height someway. For some reason, you don't see "many" aft cabins doing a lot of cruising, more of a live a board. Just a basic observation, not ment to cast any opinion of said model!
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I'm not sure of your meaning, Marlinmike?
FWIW, we saw many aft-cabin boats underway when we went south over this last winter.

There are also aft-cabin/with-cockpit boats, often called cockpit motor yachts or CPMYs. Some of those easily solve the "get the dog aboard" issue while at the same time offering a larger owner's cabin.

I forgot to mention Carver in my earlier note; some of those have stairs... and it happens they also made some CPMYs. Just happened across one of their 564 CPMYs this last weekend, and spent about a nano-second wondering if we needed to move up. No changes anticipated, though.

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Old 06-20-2018, 12:00 PM   #16
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I have dog treats for my fury friends I meet on the way.

But no animals on our boat. A lot less hassle......
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:02 PM   #17
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It's called a "back deck"? That seems land-based!
For lack of a better term. I did try to qualify it with "I'm not sure I'd call it a cockpit". We have a few friends that own aft cabins. We just say "out back" or "out on the back", or "outside" if we're down in the solon. But heck, when I invite people to sit on the seating in the flybridge, we usually just say "You want to sit upstairs where it's more comfortable"?

We use proper terminology when giving detailed direction or instruction, while underway or maneuvering around docks. We tend to be a little less formal when socializing.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:09 PM   #18
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We have a sundeck aft cabin trawler. We do cruise it. We have had the boat for about 2.5 years and have logged about 2000 miles on it. We see lots of aft cabin boats cruising. It works well for Radar our 85 pound black lab. We have a short ladder from the sundeck to the flybridge. The original steps were too narrow fore and aft and slippery too. I replaced the steps with a wider fore and aft step and staggered them so the bottom step is further aft and the top step is further forward. This exposed more surface area for him to step on. We put Seadek on the steps so they are not slippery anymore. It would not possibly work on a tall ladder. It also works better for us.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:12 PM   #19
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I think most cockpit motor yachts will be beyond our budget and our size, at this point. Hoping to stay 36' and under, likely more around 32' . So I know there's definitely going to be some trade-offs and compromises in what we get. Not sure we can get easier access to flybridge without sacrificing back cockpit area. Right now we're trying to stay in that size, traditional trawler design, fiberglass hull, mechanically sound diesel power, and wouldn't it be wonderful if we could find something where the teak decks have been replaced by fiberglass? It's just the two of us and Lucy the Lab, so we don't need huge.
We don't mind some deferred maintenance as we know we'll be looking at older boats, just not the big scary stuff (fuel tank replacement, rotting decks or fly bridges, etc.) Oh, and less than 75k...dreaming...
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:16 PM   #20
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Getting from the aft cabin to the swim platform and then dock, or if anchored down the ladder to the swim platform to the dingy you still have a ladder to get to get down, with a dog...

The aft cabin cruising quote was related to the northeast where I am most of the time and that style boats generally stay put then head out the inlet and travel. Again not ALL, I'm sure there is some very well traveled aft cabin boats.

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I'm not sure of your meaning, Marlinmike?
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