Probably the one comment we hear most when showing customers one of our dog boat ladder products is, “I don’t need one THAT long!” We understand why people respond that way initially. For example, when you stand WAG Boarding Steps™ Model SLM-12 on end, it is almost 6′ in length. However, what is important is the vertical rise. When mounted on the boat swim ladder at a 45 degree angle, the vertical rise from the bottom step to the top step is only 44″ (3′-8″). If this product is mounted on the bow ladder of a deck boat or even some pontoons, it may be 24″ to the water. This leaves 20″ of steps in the water. If you have a tall dog, you will need all of that to prevent your dog from having to pull themselves up. If you have a swimming dachshund and your boat is closer to the water, you might not need all 12 steps. Since we don’t do breed and boat specific models, we need to ensure there are enough steps for the majority of applications. Too many steps is not a problem; too few is. If your swim platform is real close to the water, WAG Boarding Steps™ Model PM-6 may work, but remember, it has only 24″ of rise from the bottom step to the mounting surface. Fishing and hunting boats using WAG Boarding Steps™ Models LM-6 or HSM-6 have the same considerations from the transom/gunwale lip to the water.
Similarly, when selecting a dog dock ladder, vertical rise is the key parameter. We have four models that are applicable for docks (five if you mount a swim ladder on your dock and use the SLM-12). The distance from the top of the dock (or seawall) to the water is the starting point. Unless you have a floating dock, this distance can vary and the maximum should be used. With 6, 10 and 12-step models, vertical rise can range from 24″ to 48″. Make sure you have enough steps in the water at all times for your size dog. All of our dog dock ladder models can be mounted to be easily removed except for WAG Boarding Steps™ Model DM-12, which rests on the lake/river bed. For this model, the distance from the dock surface to the bed needs to be no more than 6′-0″. On the DM-12, you may be able to mount the top step 4″ below the dock surface to yield 48″ of vertical rise.
Our dog pool ladder and vehicle/home use models are also vertical rise dependent. Most pool decks are within a few inches of the water level, so the 24″ rise of WAG Boarding Steps™ Model PM-6 is plenty. Since most vehicles and beds are no more than 30″ above the ground, our WAG Boarding Steps™ Model FS-6 should work when allowing for up to a 6″ final step up from the top step to the desired access surface.
So when selecting a dog ladder, our bet is , “Yes, you do need one THAT long.” As always, if you are still not sure, call our toll-free customer support line. We won’t sell you more steps than you need, but we will make sure you get enough steps for your need.