Boating is almost always better with friends—and if you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably considered boating with man’s best friend. Though some may be hesitant to bring an animal on board, the truth is that most dogs are capable of handling boat outings just fine. In fact, your pooch may enjoy the open sea just as much as you do!
Here are a few basic tips for anyone considering bringing Fido on board:
- Develop an emergency response plan
In other words, be prepared for a “dog overboard” situation. Discuss what everyone will do (cut the engine, call the dog, go into the water, etc.) in order to avoid confusion.
- Provide a lifejacket
Dogs, like humans, are oftentimes good swimmers—but like humans, dogs should always wear a personal floatation device in order to avoid tragedy. After all, rough conditions, fatigue, and disorientation can challenge even the best swimmers. Be sure to check that the lifejacket fits well and will not come loose in the water.
- Let your dog get accustomed to the boat before departing
This will help him feel more comfortable and remain calm throughout the trip.
- Take a “bathroom break” before beginning the trip
For longer outings, you may wish to provide a small patch of Astroturf
- Understand local laws about animals and boats
Though there are no national restrictions on bringing animals aboard, it’s always better to double check local laws before heading out—fines can put a damper on even the best days!
- Beat the heat
Dogs are more susceptible to heat related health problems than humans, so be sure to bring lots of water, provide shade, and protect your dog’s feet from the boat surface, which can heat up considerably.
- Keep the first outing short and sweet
Your buddy will appreciate it!