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A dog enjoying boating

Essential Tips for Boating with Pets

on March 31, 2022

Essential Tips for Boating with Pets

Is it possible to take your furry best friend aboard with you? For sure! Once you've checked out your local laws regarding dogs and boats, the only thing left is for you to prepare properly for the sake of their health and safety. Here are some of the essential tips for boating with pets that you need to be aware of!

Prepare for things to get messy

The first step towards safe boating with pets is knowing to expect trouble in the form of various messes. Frankly put, there will be two sources of chaos when taking a pet aboard. First, handling seasickness is complicated enough for humans. Pets have this issue, too, and are much less likely to react to the problem well. Chances are, your pet will throw up if their seasickness kicks in. Then, there is the fact that your pets will still need to expel waste while on the boat. Unless they are superbly trained and you bring along a sandbox or similar, you will need to clean up after them.

Let your pet get used to being on a boat

Pets, just like humans, need to build up their sea legs. Not to mention the fact that pets tend to handle unfamiliar environments poorly. It might be okay if your pet freaks out a little in a new home. But if you take them aboard a boat, it could get dangerous for them. So, you will need to spend some time just letting them hang out on your boat while it is moored. This is the easiest if you own, or are buying, beachfront property. If this interests you, you will have an excellent opportunity to acclimate your pet to boating with you slowly!

Dogs on a boat.

Some pets do like spending time at sea immediately. Some do not.

Keep your boat’s speed down

There are lots of benefits of boating. And it's easy to make the most of your cherished hobby when alone. However, boating with pets is a bit more tricky. And, it comes with a few serious no-nos. The most important of them is speeding in your boat. They will easily get scared once the boat starts moving quickly. This means they will likely end up overboard, and you will have a severe emergency on your hands. So, be alert, keep the speed down, and your eye on your four-legged pal to ensure nothing like this happens.

Know what to do in an emergency

Speaking of pets going overboard, even if you’ve done everything correctly, that might still happen. After all, dogs, for example, tend to be quite hyper and mischievous. They are unlikely to sit still and relax. Not to mention that they might willingly jump off to play. So, you need to plan ahead for how you will handle such an incident.

Dog swimming

Even if your pet can swim, you need to get them back aboard quickly!

Get a pet-friendly life jacket

While on the subject of handling an emergency overboard scenario, one of the best ways to buy yourself time is to make sure your pet is wearing a life jacket. Of course, it can be challenging to find a custom life jacket for some pet species. But, at the very least, the mainstream pets such as cats and dogs have them available. For other pets, it may be possible to find a proper size among models made for these two species.

A dog in a lifejacket

A lifejacket also helps protect shorthair species from the sun.

Have the proper supplies

Pets have their needs! If you are boating with pets, you'll need to take along supplies meant exclusively for them. Experts from have a few tips for you when it comes to this. They've had their fair share of stories when clients come to their movers looking for storage services to store pet food after buying in bulk. However, food and other perishable items do not belong there because they spoil quickly and rot, so the movers strongly advise against it. The same applies to your boat because it can, otherwise, very quickly turn into a health concern for everyone on board. The experts' advice is to bring a small amount of pet food with you on your boating trips and keep it in a mini-fridge, so it doesn't go rancid. As for the other supplies you bring, keep them in a water-proof compartment onboard.

Keep a carrier handy

Among all the marine supplies you will need, you will need to count in a pet carrier. We’ve already discussed how easily pets can get spooked, stressed out, or too hyper. In these scenarios, a carrier is invaluable. You can place your pet in the carrier and then put a thin, breathable cloth over it. This will, in most cases, calm the pet significantly. Of course, if you notice the pet panicking more, immediately let them out.

You might need sunscreen

Pet sunscreen is a thing! And it is often a necessity when bringing your pet pal on board if you are dealing with a shorthair species. Many pets aren't meant to spend a lot of time exposed directly to sunlight atop a metallic contraption floating on water. This means they easily burn and need to be treated the same way a human being with sensitive skin would be. You can find pet sunscreen in most pet shops, so it is not hard to acquire.

Know what you can do on your boat when boating with pets

Having your pet on your boat with you will limit some of the activities you can partake in. For example, fishing around a pet such as a cat who would feel tempted to snatch your bait or fishhook is dangerous. If you are really into boating with pets, take into account their interests and tendencies and adjust your boating plans to account for them!

Bring your pet’s papers along

When boating with pets in certain waters, it becomes necessary to have their papers with you. Otherwise, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to present them and cannot, you can get into serious trouble. You can be severely fined, detained, have your pet taken away, or be suspected of smuggling animals. So, it is always wise to keep a copy of your pet’s papers onboard just in case you need them!

Final advice

Now that you are familiar with the essential tips for boating with pets, you will be able to approach it correctly. However, one thing to note is that some pets just can’t get used to being on a boat. It will be pretty obvious if your pet cannot acclimate. And the most negligible consequence of this is them having prolonged seasickness. In such cases, you need to give up on your dreams of boating with your pet for its sake.


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