If you are a boat owner and/or live on the water, you are more likely to have a dog as part of the family than not. You are also likely to have difficulty preventing your dog from jumping or falling into the water and are asking, How will I get my dog out of the water if and when they do jump or fall in?

Chances are your boat and/or dock has a swim ladder for humans to get out of the water. If you search YouTube or TikTok, you will find plenty of videos of dogs climbing up these human ladders narrated by owners thinking they have the most talented and smartest dog in the world. Ever wonder what the dog would say, if it could talk? The truth is you are not seeing videos of dogs injuring themselves trying this and videos of owners wondering how they will pay for the dog’s ACL surgery. Human ladders are for humans. Dogs require different solutions.

Some people would prefer not to have separate boarding devices for themselves and their dogs for cost or space reasons. That is understandable, but it is important to also understand what is ideal for a dog versus a human and what compromises in function and safety come with a single solution.

To highlight the issues with a single boarding device for humans and dogs, it may help to use an example. LilliPad Marine has introduced the REVO Ladder, a boat boarding ladder that it touts as being “a one-stop boarding solution for comfortably boarding people and pets of all shapes, sizes and abilities.” They state, “The days of needing multiple boarding mechanisms for people and pets are over.” On the surface, these claims sound like a game-changing solution, but upon closer examination, there are significant compromises and potential safety issues when expecting this to work for “pets of all shapes, sizes and abilities.”

Let us compare the REVO Ladder to WaterDog Adventure Gear®’s WAG Boarding Steps™ Model PM-12 as a pet boarding device.

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Feature REVO Ladder WAG Boarding Steps™ Model PM-12
Step Height
  • 47” total rise
  • 5 steps at varying rise of 9”-10”
  • challenging for smaller and older dogs
  • 48” total rise
  • 12 steps at consistent 4” rise
  • suitable for dogs of all sizes and ages
Step Depth (Run)
  • 5 steps at inconsistent depth of 4” or 7.5”
  • 12 steps at consistent 4” depth
Step Angle
  • inconsistent, steep ascent angle of over 60 degrees
  • consistent, gradual ascent angle of 45 degrees
Step Design
  • no toe plate to prevent dog’s foot from sliding off the back side of step
  • 8”-9” vertical gap between steps makes it easy for dog to stick its leg through steps
  • no drain holes to eliminate standing water
  • integral toe plate to keep dog’s foot from sliding off the back side of step
  • 5” vertical gap between steps minimizes chances of dog sticking leg through steps
  • molded holes with rounded openings to provide traction and prevent standing water
  • available in clear or black aluminum finish making it difficult for dog to see
  • finish can scratch from dog’s toenails
  • steps molded in UV-stabilized safety yellow color which is visible in the dog’s color spectrum
  • finish won’t scratch from dog’s toenails
Ability to Move to Different Locations
  • possible with mounting brackets installed at multiple locations
  • secured with two locking pins
  • possible with pivot mounts installed at multiple locations
  • secured with two pivot pins

In summary, the REVO Ladder may be an acceptable boarding ladder for people, however, it is far from being a great solution for dogs and has the potential for causing serious injury.

The best boarding solution for people is very different than the best boarding solution for dogs. A human foot is very different than a dog’s paw. A human’s center of gravity over two legs is very different than a dog’s over four legs. A human’s spine orientation is very different than a dog’s. A human’s color spectrum is very different than a dog’s. We could go on, but you get the picture.

WAG Boarding Steps™ Model PM-12 and the entire line of WaterDog Adventure Gear dog ladders are designed to be the most dog-friendly solution available. They are safe and sturdy with no compromises.