Why does it work?
Skamper-Ramp is an escape ramp: a means of preventing animals and pets from drowning. It is truly a K.I.S.S.keep it simple solutionto a very major problem. Easy to assemble, lightweight, strong and inexpensive.pet water safety ramp
Because it is made of heavy-duty plastic, it is a deceptively simple-looking product. But behind the design there is a lot of engineering, science and testing. The primary 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. When trapped, day or night, they see it and go to it for escape. Skamper-Ramp provides peace-of-mind to pet owners and animal lovers since it provides protections against drowning, day or night, 24/7.
Skamper-Ramp must be installed so that a few inches of the "nose" (curved) end are under water and the ramp breaks the water's surface, enabling the animal to see it at eye level. The "open-box-top" end (closest to the pool wall) must be very snug against 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 necessary for an animal to "skamper" out on the ramp.
You'll notice the ramp doesn't have a decorative pattern animals dont see colors. Skamper Ramp is the only water rescue device on the market that provides animals with an escape from drowningallowing them to exit the water on their own!!
What about vinyl-lined pools and above ground pools?
Either ramp works well for permanent vinyl liner pools - in-ground or above-ground - making sure that an animals claws don't puncture the pool liner. If you have a deck surface that overhangs the pool wall by 1" or more, make sure you re-lace the ramps rope to the set of holes below the Skamper-Ramp logo so that the ramp can be snugged under the overhang, directly against the side wall.
In normal usage, it will not cut through or tear the vinyl. For peace-of-mind, a double layer of vinyl can be put 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.
We do not recommend it for soft-sided, non-permanent, above-ground pools. However, you could try to adapt your deck (primarily by affixing a 1x10 x 18 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.
How does it install to a boat?
Because Skamper-Ramp was originally designed for use in pools, boat installation often requires some ingenuity, and awareness that chop may kick it up. Outboard motors, are the easiest as in the picture here, simply brace the ramp on the stern alongside a motor and tie both ropes to one stern cleat.
With a swim ladder, some people re-lace the rope to the set of holes below the Skamper-Ramp logo and then tie it around the ladder rails, and brace it between the top rung and the bottom of the platform, so that the underside of the platform keeps the ramp from going vertical.
With a large platform that is high off the water, some people put eye hook on the underside of the platform about 6 back from the end. Then re-lace the rope so that you can tie the ramp through the eye hooks and back down through the ramp, allowing the ramp to stay dragging behind and under the boat. The advantage to this is that in chop it wont kick up and the underside of the platform allows a brace so the ramp doesnt go vertical.
The back (open box) end of the ramp requires approximately 5 of a vertical surface to brace against, or must have the underside of a rigid horizontal surface to brace against. As with pool installation, the ramp also must have at least 3 submerged beneath the water. We will honestly tell you that if your boat stands higher in the water, has a sloped transom/stern or no place to create a brace it may not be appropriate for your boat.
On the other hand, we have had a number of customers tell us that they will figure it out and make it work.essentially, where there is a will, theres a way!
What is it made of?
Both sizes of the Skamper-Ramp are made from recyclable polypropylene that is UV- and chemical resistant. For this reason they will not become yellow or scummy over time. Because it is a type of box-corrugated plastic, it is extremely lightweight as well as durableproviding tremendous strength-to-weight ratio and affordable!
Each ramp comes complete with nylon rope, nuts, bolts, washers, wing strips, and stainless steel d-ring clips for screwing into the decking. The only additional part you will need and have to purchase separately is the bolt/screw type required by your pool deck surface (there is no universal anchor that will work with all deck types).
The original Skamper-Ramp is fabricated from 8mm polypropylene while the Skamper-Ramp Big Dog version is fabricated completely of 10mm polypropylene.
What size is right for me to use and what are other applications?
he regular Skamper-Ramp is for animals under 45 lbs.
The new Skamper-Ramp Big Dog version is for pets over 45 lbs, or if used in conjunction with most docks and many boats. It was redesigned in late 2006 and is now made entirely from 10mm (vs. 8mm) material and has longer sidewalls, making the assembled 39 length more robust and firmimportant for heavier dogs or when much of the ramp is out of the water, such as when used with a boat or a dock at low tide. New Skamper Ramp Big Dog installed
The size was determined by the fact that the actual shoulder width of most all dogs, and therefore the placement of their feet, virtually never exceeds 12. Most any animals upper body can be held out of water by the original size, allowing the ramp to do what it is supposed to doprevent drowning. Because so many customers asked for it, we made the long version (Skamper-Ramp Big Dog) for dogs that weigh morebecause of their longer shoulder to hip lengths. But the original size is still the most commonly used for smaller pets and/or wildlife that fall/are chased into the pool.
While we strongly suggest that the original Skamper-Ramp be used for animals up to 45 lbs, we have had very large dogs go out on the small ramp; all that happens is it becomes more vertical, and may even crease, but it will still work. You can bend but you can't actually break the polypropylene ramp or its flexible plastic wing strips. It may not always look pretty but it will provide a means of escape.
For those with deep coping on their pool the rope should be rethreaded through the two holes underneath the Skamper-Ramp logo before securing.
For people with very small pets, like toy and teacup breeds, you might feel more comfortable putting white toweling on the ramp and lacing it on the underside so there isnt a chance they will slip their leg into the holes. You might also find you can use the larger ramp as an indoor ramp for pets weighing less than 25 lbs, to get up onto, or down from furniture and then tuck out of sight when not in use.
For those who live on farms and ranches, you can anchor the regular Skamper-Ramp in livestock/equine water troughs so that any critters that might fall in, when going for a drink or swim, have a means of 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.wildlife drowning horse troughs
In winter, if pools are left slightly drained for winter, 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. For old fashioned covers that are not permeable, leaving a Skamper-Ramp Big Dog tried to the cover anchor along the middle of the narrow side, reaching as far to the center as possible, helps a dog or animal that may go onto the sagging cover, have a way to get out.
Why do I need a Skamper-Ramp if I have a pool alarm, a fenced pool, or I have trained my dog to the steps?
No matter how careful we are, accidents do happen! Fence gates get left open from time to time, or dont always get securely closed. Many animalsespecially "critters!" manage to get over or under fencing. Alarms are great if someone is around to hear them. What if they arent?
critters pool safety
In training a pet to the steps (which are underwater and cant be seen by the pet), you have actually trained your pet to some marker. But do you know exactly what that marker is that your pet is using? What if that potted plant is moved for a party, or the landscape changes how will your pet find the steps then? And while you may have trained your dog to the steps, that is when you go to the pool with them or call them out from a consistent place, not necessarily when you are not there or it is a stressful time. What if they are spooked, chased or fall in, or if some other animal gets to your pool? Then the situation is not the same.
Just as one plans for layers of safety protection to keep people from drowning in the pool, one needs to also plan for layers of protection to keep animals from drowning in pools. There is great value to the peace of mind that comes from knowing there is one additional, inexpensive layer for drowning prevention in addition to your fence and/or your training.
Are there alternative anchoring methods?
For those that dont want to drill holes into their decks, it is possible to use existing tie down points such as pool cover attachment anchors, clips, railings, etc. Just be sure to check the tautness of the rope from time to timethe knots can loosen, particularly when they are tied around something like a railing.
There are many creative ways to attach the ramp, but you must be sure that the ropes are not spread too far apartthey should be parallel or come together at one pointand that the back and wings have a straight/vertical surface to brace 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, however, two criteria are critical:
1) a few inches of the round "nose" end need to be submerged so that the white
ramp breaks the water surface and the animal can see the ramp leading out while swimming, even in stress; and
2) the open-box end of the ramp needs to be as snug as possible against a "rigid" flat, vertical wall so that when a critter or pet gets on the "nose" 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 elementthats what makes it work.
The most important point about the installation is to have the Skamper-Ramp as snug to the pool wall as possible, while still having a few inches of the nose end of the ramp submerged. To accomplish that there is a separate set of holes for (re)threading the connection rope (below the Skamper-Ramp logo) if need be. This will help if it seems that the ramp wobbles too much, or if there is an overhang or deep coping.
How long will it last?
As stated above, the ramp is made of box-extruded polypropylene (plastic)one of the strongest, most durable materials available that floats. In addition, the polypropylene used is UV- and chemical- resistant. Because of this, we know it will hold up for a very long timeone has been installed in a pool in Charleston, SC for over 5 years, still looks very much like the day it was installed and is going strong. Two years is the guarantee.
Are there other uses besides commercial or residential pools?
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 to litter boxes or furniture for very small or light weight animals; and in water troughs in pastures and remote ranchland. Hotels, motels, municipal water system reservoirs can all take advantage of Skamper-Ramp's drowning prevention to keep water free of animals. Let us know yours!
What happens if I am missing a part? Is my ramp defective?
No, the ramp itself is fine! To help keep costs down, the ramp kits are assembled at the SC Vocational Rehabilitation Department's Charleston Training Center. You can imagine how tedious it is to count out all the nuts, bolts, washers, etc for each kit and assemble it (!)....Occasionally there are mistakes and parts are miscounted or missing. Having a ramp with a missing part does not mean it is defective. Just let us know as soon as you discover a part is missing and we will send the replacement part out by first class US mail, so that you can assemble your ramp and put it to use.