Bringing your pets along for the ride part 1

How to bring your pets onto your boat, with safety and ease, enjoying every moment

Boat owner and his dog going on a day trip

Day trip on the dinghy with some good friends

There is nothing comparable to the unconditional love we receive from our adoring pets. They are always there by our side as lifelong companions, comforting us in times of trouble and sharing in our moments of joy. So why not bring them along for every new adventure, allowing them to experience everything we do while in turn, we can appreciate their company. Many of us spend valuable time on our boats, maybe even living aboard year round, and we absolutely must bring our pets with us. If you are a pet owner or are thinking of adding some animals to the family, there are some things to think about before jumping into the idea. With some careful planning and organizing, both you and your pets will be able to enjoy the wonderful experience in boating.

Pets playing on the sand

Preparation starts in the beginning, either before purchasing a pre-owned vessel or in the early stages of new construction, you must start thinking about your pets’ safety and comfort. If you are building a new yacht you can make some changes in the design in order to promote safety for your pets. Start by visualizing your pets aboard and picture their presence on the boat. Increasing the angles of the steps from the galley to the fly bridge, will make it easier for pets to travel from one area to the next. Adding transom doors can keep pets confined to one area where they could be watched over more closely.

sog on the flybridge of a pilothouse boat

Make sure your pets can relax in a shaded area

If you already own a boat start thinking about simple changes you can make to make her more pet friendly. as one pilothouse boater explains “When we are looking for a boat, it is necessary to have a kids’ room. This is a stateroom that has wicker cages for all the kids. When we are on the way the kids feel secure because they are in their own comfortable space.”

Think about designating a place for your animals, maybe not an entire room, but definitely somewhere that can be their own. Do not assume that your animals will automatically love the ocean just as you do. Introduce them slowly, letting them get familiar with their surroundings and allowing them to adjust to their new home.

When looking at the exterior of your boat, start to think about their comfort and safety as

well. Your animals will probably be spending a lot of time on the outside of the boat and the fiberglass decks can be very slippery especially when wet. Putting down rubber flooring or throw rugs can create some traction for your animals and also prevent unnecessary falls. These rugs will offer a place for your animals to stay cool, which will be another thing for you to think about when taking their comfort into account.

Cat joined his family on a boating trip

Think about designating a place for your pets

As the scorching sun reflects off the water, it can get extremely hot for you and your animals aboard your yacht. Your animals can suffer from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and sunstroke, so pay attention to their behavior and always make sure you give them lots of water. Certain warning signs to look for are heavy panting or low movement and fatigue. The heat is not the only thing that could make your animals sick; the ocean might have that same effect. That’s right! Animals can experience sea sickness just as human beings do. Their symptoms are very similar to our own, acting disoriented, unstable, or exhausted. Consult your veterinarian on different medications and the proper dosage to give your animals.

dog hanging at the pilothouse satee

click here to read the second post in this series or here for some innovative products for boating pets

Do you boat with you pets, share you experiance with us, post a comment