Tips for Boating With Dogs
For some boaters, a family day on the water means the entire family is coming on board, including the dog!
Even if you just want a quiet day of solo fishing without friends or the fam, a dog is still a great companion to have tagging along. After all, dogs need quality outdoor time too! Unless you really don’t want your four-legged friend coming along, there’s no reason your pooch shouldn’t be able to go boating with you. Here are some tips for planning your next boating trip with your dog(s) onboard.
Essential Supplies for Boating with Dogs
Canine Life Vest
While the law says you must have a personal flotation device for everyone on board your boat, it doesn’t necessarily say your dog needs to have one too.
Nevertheless, even though dogs are reputed to be innate swimmers, not all canines can actually swim. Most dogs enjoy swimming, but despite their enthusiasm, canines aren’t natural swimmers and can quickly get tired in the water. Always keep a dog life vest onboard to keep “Sparky” afloat! Your dog should wear a life jacket at all times while boating, just in case.
A brightly colored pet life vest will make your pooch easier to spot if it falls off the boat or decides to go for a swim. Pet vests are available in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no excuse for your dog not to have one. Get a pet vest with handles to make lifting your dog out of the water and onto or off the boat a lot easier.
People aren’t the only ones who get easily dehydrated while out on a boat all day long.
Always keep a water bowl and plenty of fresh water handy for your dog to stay hydrated. It also helps to train your dog never to drink the water outside the boat, even if you’re inland on fresh water. As a rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t let your pooch drink it! When picking out a doggy bowl, keep valuable space in mind. Find a bowl people won’t trip over, preferably a collapsible travel-size water bowl for “Duke” to drink from that’s easy to store and won’t get in the way.
Pooch Pee Pads
Sooner or later your dog is going to need to “go”, and without any fire hydrants or trees out at sea, you should give your dog somewhere it knows it can pee.
Disposable pet pee pads offer an ideal solution for when “B-I-N-G-O” really needs to go! If your boat is large enough, consider getting a portable pet potty that will serve as your dog’s own personal restroom.
Safety Tips for Boating With Your Dog
Patrol Your Pooch
Paying attention to your dog at all times may not be possible while piloting your boat. Prepare an action plan in case your canine goes overboard to save time and possibly your dog’s life if a mishap occurs. Have a pooch-protection plan ready and practice things like killing the motor, maneuvering safely toward a dog in the water and getting the pooch back onboard.
Designate a Spot for “Spot”
Not only do dogs feel less stressed when they have their own designated spot, but by establishing a safe, out-of-the-way area on your boat, you’ll be providing added safety for your dog and others onboard. Make sure the designated spot is in a shaded area so your dog will be comfortable there, and teach it to sit or lay in its chosen spot on command.
“Dogproof” Your Boat
Fishhooks, knives, fishing line, nets, mooring lines and any heavy objects that might tip over while on the water present hazards to your dog. Keep sharp objects stowed away at all times; make sure lines, nets and ropes are either stowed or safely coiled and bound; and secure all heavy objects to prevent them from unexpectedly shifting and falling on your passengers, human or otherwise.
When it comes to boating, safety always comes first, so if you’re going to bring your dog along for the ride, make sure you protect your furry friend as you would anybody else on board.