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Discussion Starter #1
Last year I saw someone with the most awesome feature on their frame. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to get a close look. Now, I want to build the same thing for my frame and thought I'd see if any one else has done this, so I don't have to invent it.

the raft had marine plywood platforms on each side gunwale, front to back. That way the dog could move around the raft without having to stumble across the frame, slide aroun on the gunwales, and such. For a dog that is nervous in a raft, this seems like it would help a lot. Yes, one of dogs is pretty darn nervous. Last year was her first summer rafting, and she is clearly not very happy about it. So anything that could help her "hold on" better and not be so confined seems like it would be great.

I have a concept in mind, but am not sure how to attach it to the frame. We don't want something that would be rough underneath, so as not to jeopardize the boat, and not to stick up too far on the platform.

We thought about the NRS ubolts, but since the platform will be sitting on top of the frame brackets (where the cross beams connect to the side rail), they won't be long enough.

NRS makes a "skidguard" frame, which is similar to what we want, but spin it 90 degrees.

Sure wish I had been able to see how that person had it mounted.

Laura

Kind of like the following, only for an existing 13' boat frame (much smaller) and wood, not metal

http://www.downriverequip.com/asp/productimage.asp?id=DRE1012_32.jpg
 

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Just finished building this. I used 3/4 Plywood - and used a jigsaw to cut holes for straps where appropriate on the frame. I finshed with Spar Urathane or you can use marine grade wood finish. Threw sand into the final coat of urathane for "gription"

Make sure to carefully plot this out with your raft inflated and your gear handy. I cut in tie-downs for my fire pan, pump, and 55 gallon drum of massage oil
 

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Duh!

Duh! :idea: That is waaaay too easy. I was thinking more like special Ubolts, countersinking the nuts into the wood. Shims to hold platform up equal to fitting height, blah, blah, blah.

Thank you so much. Plus, easily removable. Awesome!
 

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There's a couple of things you can do

First, it's much easier if you have a double rail frame. If you do you can use cam straps to attach either marine grade plywood (use a router to make the slots, varnish and sprinkle a little sand on the top side for a non slip surface) or that white polycarbonate, I think it's the same material they make the new cutting boards from. Either way Ron at Riverboatworks in Salida could help if necessary. Good luck!
 

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Actually I've heard that sugar in the varnish works better. There is also a product called "Re-deck" made to do this. Info via windsurfing community. Supposedly sand is actually pretty slipper, and the sugar dissolves leaving the texture. I've used re-deck on one of my boards, and it works great.

Thanks for the tips, we have single rail but I think we can make it work.

[(use a router to make the slots, varnish and sprinkle a little sand on the top side for a non slip surface)
 

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Wood decking is relatively easy to make and a double rail frame definitely makes it work better. Mine is made with marine grade plywood and has held up really well over the years. I use McCloskey MAN O' WAR Spar Varnish varnish and it works like a champ. I also use NRS cam straps to attach the decking to the frame. The drop floor is really nice to have and is very easy to make. I use 2" webing straps and biners to hold it in place. Cam straps would also work. Here are two photos that might give you a better idea. Send me a pm and I'll email you more photos if you'd like.
 

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Decks and dogs

The poly material will last much longer and is just as easy to work with. I have wood decks now but they only last about 2 seasons.

Adressing the squirly dog. Let me first say that my 9 yr old red healer has 8 yrs on the river and has swam more class 4 and 4+ than I ever want to. He will actually read water and knows when to hunker down. If you are running harder rapids with a dog they need to have good river since about them The last thing you want is the mut jumping in to some nasty sive or keeper. I feel that a good river dog must listen well enough to follow commands even when swimming. I have been able to call Wilson back to the boat when it is black side up and through him up on top. This becomes very important when you are in a tight canyon and there is no path for them to walk down. I also had a dog that didn't make the cut in a similar situation and it puts a real buzz kill on the trip. I have found that the best place for Wilson to ride is in the row well between my legs when running harder drops. It keep his center of gravity low and unless the boat is in the turtle position he is in the boat, and if you do go over they pop up right next to you. The last thing I would say is always remember that if your both in the drink the dog will make shore much before you so take the time to look upstream before racing through the stretch to find them. We were running the upper Kalamath in CA and had the boat in front of us get stuck in caldera with us only 50 yds behind. We hit the the other boat with as much mo as possible and bumped him out but fliped ours in a hurry. I spent the next 3.5 hrs thinking a Killed him, but when the shuttle was retrieved my buds walked down the bank to the rapid and he came out of the poison ivy and couldn't figure out where everyone had gone. I hate to go on trips with out Wilson but sometimes its best. Have a great season and BE SAFE.
Jake
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for the pictures JBL, those help immensely! I like the idea of the floor also, since I've heard opinions that the dogs don't like the moving floor.

And thanks for the advice oarboatman. We did the Alberton Gorge (Clarkfork River in Montana) last late July with her, and my husband held onto her PFD as I rowed. I thought she was bothered by him holding, being jerked around a bit through the rapids. Next weekend we let her do her thing, and she bailed on the first set of rapids. I certainly didn't like that. Next trip was flat water, and she definately got concerned even through the small rapids. So we will be doing mellow stuff for a while, hoping to get her more accustomed and comfortable. I'm optimistic that the platforms will help her at least feel like she is not so confined. I also will implement a strong dose of treats at key times, hopefully get her to associate the noisy water with something really yummy. So either we won't be doing big water anymore, or we'll be leaving her behind. One of the reasons to get into rafting was to have a water sport we could do with the dogs (we windsurf which leaves the dogs behind), so we'll probably be sticking to "dog water" for a while.

Thanks again.

Laura
 

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For the decks on my raft, I used 3/4 plywood coated with urathane. Then, to cut down on glare, I put gray deck paint on and threw in some sand like stuff (I can't remember the name) I got from one of the big box hardware stores. It was cheap and gives a nice textured surface. I use plastic zip ties to keep the deck in place and then when I strap things on through the holes in the deck, that is what really holds the deck to the frame in river situations. I use loop straps and then when I'm not using the strap, I just pull it flat across the deck and it's there for quick use, but it's not an entrapment issue.

For the white poly decking, I've used a guy from Vail with good results. I believe his name is Steve, here is his website.
White Water Decks
 

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I had a old rubber truck bed mat like this one: http://www.truckstuffusa.com/lotridgetruckbedmats.html - I cut it into a smaller piece that fit overtop dunnage and a firepan, and it creates a grippy surface for the dog to keep his/her balance.

Here's a trick to keeping the dog in the boat hands-free: In heavy water I would build a level platform of gear right behind me, strap the mat on top of the gear, then put my dog on the mat right behind my back. Before a rapid I would clip his PFD handle with my quick release PDF tow tether (like this one http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2191) It's kinda like short-roping in mountaineering. The tether would keep him from sliding too far out of the raft; and if I flipped the boat and we both went swimming I could pull the quick release and he could swim to shore with his tether attached. He never slipped out of the boat with this setup- that includes a couple of Main Salmon trips and tons of Westwater trips.

The mat is a cheap fix, but something to consider....
 

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I take my dog, Moondog on every trip I go on. I have a cataraft, but it is a similiar dilemia. I found that with the decks, once they start to slide, they are gone, even with the grip texture. I found that a simple paco works the best. If it is not inflated too much, his feet grip to it real well. Plus I can use the pad at camp. Strap it over the gear and it gives them a great flat water spot to lay on too. My main concern is that if we flip his legs could get caught in the deck or straps or netting, whatever. The paco pad solves that too. I just wanted to know that if we flip, he's not stuck under the boat. He could still get caught, but the chances of him not getting caught are better.
 

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Doggy deck

Polymax Kennel Flooring is a polypropylene grid that makes great dog deck for boats: waterproof, UV resistant, needs no finish, and they can hook their claws and not slide off, as on plywood. It comes in 2' x 4' panels that can be easily cut into 2' x 2'. (You could also cut narrower pieces and edge it with aluminum channel, etc. for stiffness.) Simple to strap or lace to a frame.

We use it on our Jack's Pack Cats behind the paddler: good spot for comforting a spooked dog. Crosswise it makes a nice dog (or gear) deck on small catarafts. I've also built lightweight floors for catarafts, with aluminum angle or channel pop-riveted underneath for support, and/or framed in wood. You can also suspend it from a cross member with a strap. I've got photos of various applications. Great stuff!

Available at <www.TekSupply.com>. STK# HA2215 and HA2217.
Cost, about $16.
 

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Polymax decks

Here are some photos of the stuff:

PA050023.jpg
Ruby with full and half panels

PA010015_2.jpg
Dog deck on a Pack Cat

PA050024.jpg
Cat floor with wood & alu frame

P2280052.jpg
Cat floor with riveted alu & strap support
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Do you ever have the polymax catch their nails? My husband is nervous about these kinds of products thinking they might catch nails.
 

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No problem so far with catching her claws, etc.– the openings are 7/8" square and the edges rounded. A really small dog might stick a foot through. When I rig the boat in the garage, she jumps up on the d-deck, so it seems to work for her.

(Great pic of Wilson hunkering! Ruby's scared of the big stuff.)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That sounds pretty big. Most of the products I have seen the holes are much smaller. That stuff sounds like it might be nice and open and just the right deal!

this forum is so great, thanks everyone for all of the ideas.

Laura
 

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You can run a 1" strap or webbing through the grid at any point, so it mounts easily on all sorts of frames. It does flex and needs support every 12" or so for (human) body-weight loads. For bouncy water, I edge it with foam pipe insulation, held on with plastic cord ties. That way, if the dog slides, there's a soft edge to catch them.

Kia ora to you & your dog.

P4170179.JPG
Ruby's first ride on Porco Rosso
(Not wearing her PFD.)
 

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i'm not much of a rafter, but i've seen a couple of setups on sea kayaks where the paddler has just taken some pieces of carpet and secured them underneath the deck bungees...there's a video of a small dog on a kayak rolling and the dog stays on top, just walking all the way around the boat as it rolls underneath it (if that makes sense at all)...it wouldn't last more than a season or two...but neither does varnish and sand...could be a good alternative attached to the top of your deck rigging. good luck.
 
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