Exploring how to bring your pets onto your boat, with safety and ease, enjoying every moment.
While aboard your yacht, it’s important to remember that dogs especially need their exercise. Do your best to entertain your animals while onboard, encouraging them to participate in playtime and allowing them to cool off in the water when supervised, of course. Taking them for a ride on the dingy, exploring the world around you, might be a great escape for everyone. The changes in scenery creates a sense of adventure for your animals, while also providing a wonderful experience for you as well.
What about when your animals need to go to the bathroom? For cats it seems pretty easy, placing a litter box or maybe even teaching them to use the toilet, which will definitely be a timely effort, but can be done. For our dogs, it’s a different story; most of us are used to taking them on walks. If you are able to dock and your dog can stand the wait, you can certainly use this as an option. For those dogs that do not have that element of control, you might want to designate an area where they can go to the bathroom. One owner explains, “The cats have special crates in their room. Skipper can be taken to shore easily on the dingy or when we dock he will go on shore. It is not a problem because he is just a little guy (15lbs.). We do not anchor out that much, but pee pads are available. Also, a synthetic grass 2’x2’ square can be put on the swim platform that can easily be cleaned.” another says, “On long runs, Tikki will go to the bathroom on the boat. Willow has a large holding tank and prefers to hold it. At dock or anchor, we take them off about 4 times per day. We do long walks and run around the Portuguese bridge!”
When docking your boat, you will need to educate yourself on which marinas are pet friendly and which are not. “Marinas are very pet friendly. The usual cleaning up after them is always a necessity. Key West is always a great place for pets. Skipper has been to some of the best restaurants! That being said, he has also been thrown out of other restaurants that do not appreciate his dazzling personality.” Most of the owners we spoke to agreed that most marinas are pet friendly, as long as people clean up after their pet.
Once you have begun to transform your boat into a home that suits your pets, it is essential that you purchase some additional materials. Think of your animals as you would think of children, what would you want them to have? One of the most important items to purchase for your animals is a life jacket. Most life jackets are worn by dogs, but you may also find them for cats and other smaller animals. When researching various jackets, keep in mind, that you want your animals to feel relaxed and secure. Many jackets have safety straps along the sides, which will assist you in pulling them out of the water if they happen to fall in. If an animal slips in the water, they may start to panic, clawing at any surface they can find. Phil and Suzy say their dogs have a harness on at all times in case they ever fall in the water, they can easily be pulled out. Bonnie says that her dog Skipper also has a life jacket, but her two cats do not. Ask other pet owners which types of jackets work best for their pets or research the internet for different kinds of companies that provide these products.
Click here for a product review we did on marine products for pets
What if your animals fell overboard without you realizing? What if they wandered off while you were docked at a marina? Most boaters even homeowners purchase ID tags or microchips for their animals just in case they were ever lost. You should do the same for your animals when living in your new home. An ID tag hangs on your pet’s collar and should provide your boat marina’s permanent address, slip number, and phone number. Include a number where you can be reached at all times, whether on land or out at sea. A microchip offers the same information, but instead of hanging on the animal’s collar, it is implanted in the skin between the shoulder blades. A veterinarian can scan this sensor and the necessary information for you animal will be displayed, allowing them to return your animal to its home.
Another item new in technology and worth purchasing is a special sensor, which both animals and people can wear. These sensors send off a signal when emerged in water or at a certain distance from the boat, alerting the crew that a member has fallen overboard. These sensors can range anywhere from $500 to $1000, so you may want to look into the different options that companies offer.
When bringing your animals onto your yacht, try to look at it from every angle and consider every possibility. Planning is essential in these matters and nothing should be overlooked. Start with the actual layout of your boat and visualize your animals fitting in that environment. Always make sure they are comfortable, healthy, and at ease. Bring the life that they had when living on land to your boat and allow them to experience the same great pleasures. Make sure their safety is always in mind and research certain products that will accomplish that. Finally, go to other boat owners and ask them questions about bringing their pets into the yachting life. When your pets settle in you will find it impossible to imagine any life without them, and now, you won’t have to.
This is the second post in a two part series, to read the first post click here