What do you recommend for animal pool safety?

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What do you recommend for animal pool safety?

Skamper-Ramp is the only inexpensive, tested, proven, patented, American Pet Association (APA) approved, drowning prevention, animal water escape/safety ramp where you don’t have to be present to save animal lives. Because all living beings see white, they can see it, day or night, and they escape when they “skamper” out on the ramp on their own.

Q. Why does it work?

A. Skamper-Ramp is an escape ramp: a means of preventing animals and pets from drowning in a water entrapment. It is a “keep it simple stupid” solution to very major problem preventable animal drowning so it is a very simple-looking product. But behind that simplicity is a lot of science and testing. The science is that ALL living beings domestic or wild; bugs, animals, or humans; colorblind or not see at the wavelength that is the color white. As long as the Skamper-Ramp is installed so that a few inches of the “nose” (curved) end are under water and the ramp breaks the water’s surface, the animal will see it. The other end of the ramp is like a box top, and it is that “open-box-top” end that must be very snug to a vertical wall — whether it’s a pool, floating or fixed dock, walled pond, spa, stern of a boat, or water troughs in pastures and remote ranchland — in order to provide the rigidity and stability for an animal to “skamper” out on the ramp.

Q. What about vinyl-liner pools and above ground pools?

A. Either ramp works well for permanent, vinyl liner pools – in-ground or above-ground – by making sure that an animal’s claws don’t touch puncture the pool. If you have a deck surface that overhangs the pool wall, you will need to re-lace the ramp’s rope to the set of holes below the Skamper-Ramp logo so that the ramp can be snugged under the overhang and closest to the side wall.

It will not cut through or tear the vinyl. For peace of mind, you could put a double layer of vinyl on the side wall of the pool where the ramp will hang if you can get some from your vinyl pool contractor, or tape the edges of the ramp with vinyl repair tape, but neither should be necessary.

If you have a soft-sided above-ground pool, you can make adaptations to your deck (primarily affixing a 1×10 board under the deck with a brace behind it holding it perpendicular to the deck and parallel to the pool wall) so that the Skamper-Ramp will have a rigid flat surface to brace against so that animals may escape using it.

Q. What is it made of?

A. Skamper-Ramps are made from 8mm (original SKR1 ramps) or 10mm (Skamper-Ramp Big Dog version, SKR1 ramps with extender), chemical- and UV-resistant, rugged, recyclable, box-corrugated, PP (polypropylene). For this reason they will not yellow or become “scummy” over time. The ramps come complete with nylon rope, nuts, bolts, washers, and wing strips – as well the two d-ring clips for anchoring. After 6 years of research and in-pool testing we have found that the box-corrugated plastic has the longest life-span, is most economical, is lightest weight while providing the greatest strength-to-weight ratio along with robustness, is most reliable, is most versatile to use, and is easiest to assemble.

Q. How long will it last?

A. As stated above, the ramp is made of box-corrugated polypropylene–one of the strongest, most durable materials available that can float. In addition, the polypropylene used is UV- and chemical- resistant. Because of this, we know it will hold up for a very long time–one has been installed in a pool in Charleston, SC for over 4 years, still looks great and is going strong. While we can’t make guarantees, it should last a very long time!

Q. Why do I need a Skamper-Ramp if I have a fenced pool or I have trained my dog to the steps?

A. Fence gates do get opened and don’t always get securely closed, and many animals manage to get over or under fencing. Alarms are great if someone is around to hear them go off. In training a pet to the steps (which are underwater and can’t be seen by the pet), you have actually trained your pet to some marker, usually a visible plant. But do you know exactly what that marker is that your pet is using? What if that marker, (perhaps a plant) is moved for a party, or gets cut down when remodeling changes the landscape how will your pet find the steps then? What if it is the dark of night, or they are spooked, chased or fall in, or if some other animal gets to your pool? The situation is not the same then. And while you may have trained your dog to the steps, that is when you go to the pool with them, not necessarily when you are not there. The Skamper-ramp can be your marker if it is mounted near the steps so that your pet swims to it and either goes out on it or the steps either way it works whether or not you are around and whether or not they situation is familiar.
The most successful means of preventing drowning of humans and animals alike is layers of safety protection and there is great value to the peace of mind that comes from knowing there is one additional, inexpensive layer of drowning prevention in addition to your fence and/or your training.

Q. What size do I need?

A. We suggest that the original Skamper-Ramp, SKR1, be used for animals up to 45 lbs – however we have had large dogs like a 120 lb Rhodesian Ridgeback and a 95 lb golden Retriever go out on the small ramp; all that happens is it becomes more vertical, and may even crease near the rope corners, but it will still work. You can bend it but you can’t actually break the rugged polypropylene plastic or its flexible plastic wing strips. Ideally though, the SKR1 ramp was designed for smaller critters that can’t possibly pull themselves out.

The Skamper-Ramp Big Dog version, SKR2, has been redesigned to have longer sidewalls, greater overlap and be constructed from heavier gauge material. It helps when there is a greater distance to the water or the animal is larger, although the ramp is light and supports weight because the water is under it. The increased length of the Big Dog version allows larger animals, more shoulder to hip length, and is much more robust than the original Skamper-Ramp. Of course boat sterns have more variety than pools, so they often require a bit more ingenuity to install but, where there is a will there is a way!

But remember it is the box end that is sturdiest and most rigid and that needs to be very snug to the wall. Sometimes rethreading the ropes into the two holes under our logo, increases rigidity.
For people with very small animals, the larger ramp can be used as an indoor ramp up to furniture, and it can be tucked out of sight when not in use, for pets weighing less than 25 lbs.
For people on farms and ranches, a ramp can be anchored in livestock/horse water troughs so that any animals that might fall in can escape, and won’t drown and pollute the water as they decay. One less chore for the busy farmer/rancher, and peace of mind that there is good water for animals to drink.

Also, if people don’t cover their pools for winter, but do drain them, hanging the Skamper-Ramp Big Dog down into the pool makes an easy escape ramp for any animal that may get caught during the off-season.

Q. Are there alternative anchoring methods?

A. For those who customers that don’t want to drill into their decks, it is possible to use alternative tie down points such as pool cover attachment points, skimmers, railings and water levelers. There are many creative ways to attach the ramp, you just want to ensure that the ropes are not spread too far away from being parallel, that the back and wings have a surface to rest snuggly against and that the force is downward (diagonal vectors) so it does not pull purely horizontally (or it will pull out.)
There is no one right way to install a Skamper-Ramp – two criteria are critical:

  • a few inches of the round “nose” end need to be submerged so that the white breaks the water surface so the animal will see the white while swimming, even in stress; and
  • it needs to be snug to a “rigid” flat, vertical wall so that when a critter or pet gets on the end the Skamper-Ramp has something to brace against. It is the open-box-end and stabilizing wing-strips that provide rigidity and robustness, especially when braced against a vertical element, that make it work.
    The most important point about the installation is to have the Skamper-Ramp as snug to the pool edge as possible, while still having a few inches of the “nose” end of the ramp submerged. To accomplish that there are two sets of holes for threading the connection rope through (one above the Skamper-Ramp name and one below) in order to accommodate deep copings or flush edges

Q. Are there other uses besides pools?

A. Our customers are creative in their applications. Many people are buying Skamper-Ramps for their floating docks, fixed docks, and boats (from the stern transom or with the swim platforms); to use for thin ice rescue; for indoor ramps for very small or light weight animals; and in water troughs in pastures and remote ranchland (gives critters that get in for a drink a way out, rather than drowning and polluting the water so animals won’t drink it). Hotels, motels, municipal water system reservoirs can all take advantage of Skamper-Ramp’s drowning prevention. Let us know yours.