Dog lifejacket recommendations please!

Iain C

Active member
20 Oct 2009
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I've got a four legged crewmember joining the boat soon, and I'd like some recommendations for a really good quality life jacket. The wearer is a labradoodle (Australian miniature to be precise, so a bit smaller than the full sized version!).

Considerations need to be...

  • Comfort
  • Ease of putting it on
  • Ease of movement
  • Reflective tape
  • A decent tether point compatible with a human tether/lifeline
  • Decent handles for lifting the dog in and out of the dinghy, up the companionway steps, or worst case "DOB" recovery
  • Buoyancy and ease of swimming, although in much the same way as a human LJ and BA do different jobs, this jacket needs to be more suited for yachting where hopefully he won't fall in, compared to stand up paddleboarding where it's assumed he will!

The non sailing related Ruffwear stuff seems well designed, well made and always gets good reviews from dog owners. I also like the look of the Crewsaver petfloat, and I have to say I think the grab handle arrangement looks better if I was trying to grab pooch with a boathook or get a halyard on for a DOB recovery.

Any thoughts or feedback gratefully received!


Well-known member
17 Mar 2006
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We have used lifejackets to help our dogs on and off boats, and the only time one if our dogs went in, he didn’t have his life jacket on :( I was ready to go in after him when he appeared at the stern, and I helped him up with his collar.

Up until a short while ago, we have used Crewsaver, and they are fine. However, I saw a dog with a Ruffwear, and both of our dogs now have one.

Our oldest dog, Alfie, (Springer 13 years old), is now very wobbly on his legs after a couple of strokes/vestibular events. Without a life jacket with its handle, he wouldn’t be able to get on and off the boat, and the Ruffwsr seems more comfortable than the Crewsaver.

No idea how either would perform in anger. I’d guess that the Crewsaver has more floatabilty, if that’s a word.


Well-known member
20 Mar 2008
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Our 20kg collie/springer got his Baltic in 2004 (Jimmy Green stand at Carrickfergus Boat Jumble) and it outlasted him, he was required to wear it all the time when at sea. Not too much padding as they only need minimum buoyancy and can be very hot to wear in the sun. Good broad straps for comfort with uv resistant stitching. The handle was used to help him up the transom from the dinghy, it stood up well to grab and was strong. Orange colour is faded a bit after 15 years of use, he wore it at sea and in the dinghy but not at anchor or in harbour (if he could see the shore he could swim there)
30 May 2013
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just make sure the buoyancy is right for the dogs weight, we have one of these for our stinky little four legged crew member from baltic;


dog swims fine in it and there is a plastic clip with material loop in front of the handle to tether him in., also the carry handle tend to remain in the stick up position so if you did need to use the boat hook to grab the handle etc it would be fine, he never got too hot in it either.



well made and easily clips together, there also isn't loads of strap material or other material hanging down for him to wee on!
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