How to Enjoy Your Boat with a Dog

We know that you have a passion for being out on the water. After all, you’re on a Marina website reading this article! For many men people, the only member of your family you might love more than your boat is your dog. We say enjoy them both! No matter which came first, your boat or your dog, your four-legged friends can have just as much fun as you do on the boat. But if you’ve never taken your dog out for a trip, here are a few important tips to remember before you head out on your next family outing.

Make a pooch plan

Before you ever take your dog out on your boat, have a plan and know what you’ll do if your dog ends up in the water unexpectedly. Let your dog get familiar with the boat ahead of time while the boat is still close to the shore. It’s even better if you can do this while the boat is on a trailer. If your dog is already prone to jumping, find some shallow water and practice.

Have a life jacket on your dog at all times

It doesn’t matter how well they chase a tennis ball on the shore. When you’re in the middle of the water, even the smartest dogs can get confused about distance and the situation can get incredibly dire in a split second. Most of them will come with a handle you can use to pull them back onboard, and don’t ever grab them by the collar. It’s also important to know if your lake or state has any specific laws or regulations about pets on the water.

If your dog does end up in the water and you are close to them, shut off the engine! Start calling for them to swim towards the boat. Don’t jump in after them, it could cause your dog to panic and pull you under in the process.

While you’re on the water

Depending on your dog does on land, you may want to ease them into their time on the water. Make the first trip a short one so you can gauge how they handle being out. Yes, even dogs can get seasick, so be prepared to tend to a green pup.

Water and sunscreen can often be overlooked. Keep your dog hydrated while on the boat, especially if you’ll be out in the sun for an extended period of time. If your dog has a thin coat, a light sunscreen may be necessary. If at all possible, give your dog some shade so they can cool off and protect their paws from the hot surfaces on your vessel.

If you’re going to be out for a while and your dog needs to take care of business, you can always pack a pad or other material that your dog is already familiar with on the boat. It’s great if you can let them go on land during your trip, but if it’s an extended trip, be prepared to let them go on the boat.

In general, use the same awareness for a dog that you’d use for a small child. Know where they are on the boat at all times and beware of slippery surfaces. If your dog is like ours, it is just as much a part of your family as anyone else. Keeping them safe will help you and them have a ton of fun together!