Good tip Jim
I discovered the "bob, hoist self to waist height, throw leg over"
technique on our holiday this summer.
Zain, our 130 pound dog, indelicately fell in while moving from our new dinghy onto the swimstep. This left Zain hanging from the swimstep by his fore paws with a wild, frantic look in his eyes.
I leapt heroically from the dinghy onto the swimstep to drag him aboard, and was doing so, until my wife said, "There goes the dinghy!"
I had not tied off the dinghies bow line.
I left Zain to go after the dinghy which was drifting away in a most stately manner. First though, and this is a questionable call on my part, I took off my self inflating lifejacket (because I didn't want it to inflate unnecessarily...interesting how the brain works in 'crisis' situations, no?) and dove in after the dinghy.
Luckily it wasn't too windy and I caught up to it in about five strokes. This is where I discovered the bobbing technique, which worked like a charm.
Back at the boat, Zain was still hanging on by his fore paws, and was probably crushed in his doggy heart knowing I abandoned him to go after the dinghy.
This time, once back at the boat, I tied off the dinghy.
There was no other way to get Zain aboard other than to reach down between his back legs, and lift. We passed a gaze between us as I was doing this maneuver, and saw in his eyes that it was okay. There are times in life when Dudes have to drop normal Dude protocol and you just have to go for a major crotch gab and heave, and we both knew this was one of them.
We found a small piece of plywood driftwood on the beach later that day which gave Zain the confidence to make the dinghy to swimstep transition as smooth as silk.
Will make sure my wife sees the video above, because next time it may be her trying to get me onto the swimstep and I'd rather she didn't pull the same maneuver I did on Zain