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Bringing Furry Friends Aboard Your Boat

Adventures to sea just aren’t the same when you have to leave your favorite companion on land. People are able to take their dogs when they travel by car so why not when you travel by boat? Boating with your dog isn’t as challenging as you would think. With a few tips, lots of patience, and the right attitude you can learn to bring your furry first mate aboard.

Life Jackets

Although your dog may be an excellent swimmer it is always a good idea to have them wear a life jacket. As you well know, conditions on the water can change quickly. Your dog may also panic making it even more difficult to keep them above water or get them back to the boat. A bright colored life jacket with a handle will help immensely when trying to locate your dog and hoist them back into the boat.  


You may be surrounded by it, but chances are you shouldn’t let your dog drink it. Make sure you have plenty of clean, cool water on board for your dog to drink. Dogs also need water to keep themselves cool, so it is especially important on hot summer days.


You will need to get your boat as “dog-proof” as possible. Get things put away and try to keep fishing bait out of reach. The last thing you want is to be busy steering the boat and come back to find your dog has gotten into something.


Short-haired dogs can actually get sunburned. It is always a good idea to protect them from the sun just like you would any other shipmate. Make sure they have access to shade and use a low SPF (15) sunscreen on them. Sprays are easiest to apply, but find something that is unscented to avoid irritating your dog.

Potty plan

This may be the most complicated of all the tips. It will require planning and training before hand. Unless you want to travel to shore every time your dog needs to do their business you will need to designate a spot on the boat or a litter box for your dog to use. Potty training is always a chore and trying to re-train them to go where you want them on a boat will require some patience. There are many ideas on how to handle the dog+potty+boat problem online. I would suggest some research and find a method that suits both you and your dog.

Remember that you know your dog best. Not all dogs are happy being on a boat and you should use your best judgement when bringing them aboard. You should also ensure your dog has proper identification on them both on and off land. Many mishaps can be prevented with a little planning. With a few steps and a little research boating with your four-legged friends can be a great experience.

dog on boat

Image Courtesy of: Dog Park Confessions http://rebloggy.com/blog/dogparkconfessions