Boating with Dogs
Pets are members of our family, and more often than ever, they go wherever we go – even for an outing on the water. Whether your boat passengers have two legs or four, you’ll want to do all that you can to keep everyone safe as you paddle, sail or motor across the water.
Tips for Boating with your Pet:
- If you’re out in a boat or raft, your dog should have a life preserver on! It not only will keep him afloat, it makes him easier to spot and gives you something to grab if he jumps or falls in. Remember that dogs that are heavy on land are heavier in the water when you’re trying to pull them back into your boat. Make sure you can handle your dog out of your and his natural environments.
- Take your pets for a tour of the boat, so they’re more familiar with their surroundings before you head out.
- Always bring food/treats, lots of fresh water and extra collars and leashes when you travel with your pet. Try not to let your pet drink from the ocean, lake or puddles.
- Plan your trip to allow for frequent pit stops for your pet. For small dogs, have a designated location on your boat that your pet can go to go to the bathroom (if you are on a large enough boat).
- Pack cleaning materials. Unfortunately, your pet can get seasick, too and the supplies are also useful if you do not time the bathroom breaks correctly.
- Secure a crate in a shady area on the boat (if your boat is large enough) to provide a place for your pets to take a break from the sun and to help them stay safe if you encounter rough waters.The crate can also serve as a sanctuary from a hot deck or steamy sand, which can be uncomfortable for a dog’s paws. Finally, always keep in mind that sunstroke can happen in minutes at any outdoor location, so be sure you provide a safe and cool place for your pet to rest.
- Bathe your pet after your day in the water. Hidden pests may linger in your dog’s fur.
- Bring pet identification, including pictures of you with your pet. It’s also a good idea to bring your pet’s medications and medical documentation with you when boating.
- Look into a sunscreen made for pets. Dogs with light-colored coats or noses can be especially sensitive to the sun and their skin can burn easily
- If your dog falls overboard during the day, point at him continuously in the water so as not to lose his position. Dogs cannot wave at you and don’t know to scream for help.
- If you are staying on the boat at night, make sure your dog stays confined inside the boat. If your dog falls overboard at night, you are unlikely to find him if you are moving.