Safety Tips For Boating With Your Dog

When it comes to dogs and boating, most are instinctive swimmers who enjoy being on the water. And every dog wants to be with the family, so why not take your furry friend with you on your boating excursion instead of leaving them on shore? With the right gear, training, and prep, you can enjoy a safe and fun boating adventure with your dog.

Safety Tips for Boating With Your Dog - Dog sitting on a boat

Boating With Your Pets: What To Bring

Keep your dog safe and hydrated on board with the right gear:

  • Canine life jacket: While most dogs can swim, exhaustion or rough seas can lead to drowning. A life jacket keeps your dog afloat in a horizontal position. So, make sure the doggy life jacket fits snugly. If possible, purchase it in a store so you can try it on in person before buying. Also look for bright colors to make your pet easier to find in the water, as well as lifting handles to make Fido easier to get out of the water. Let your dog get used to wearing the life jacket and even swimming in it before you go out on the boat.
  • Sunscreen: Yes, your dog should be protected from harmful rays when spending hours outside. This is especially important for short-hair breeds. However, human sunscreen is toxic for pets, so ask your vet or visit a pet store to find sunscreen specifically designed for dogs.
  • Insect repellant: Protect your dog from mosquito bites and other insect-related nuisances with bug spray. As with sunscreen, ask your vet to recommend a safe formula for your pet.
  • First Aid Kit: You should already have one on board, but make sure it’s stocked with pet-related supplies such as medicine for motion sickness, paper towels and bags to clean up any vomit, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, medical tape, allergy medicine, and anything else for your dog’s specific medical needs.

While most dogs can swim, a life jacket can keep your dog safe from exhaustion or rough seas - dog wearing a life jacket on the seat of a boat

  • Drinking water: Don’t let your dog drink salt water. Even if you’re boating on a freshwater lake, the water could be contaminated and not safe for drinking. Bring a bowl for your dog to drink out of and plenty of bottles of drinking water. The Crevalle 26 HCO Hybrid Boat has a built-in sink area with small cutting boards and a vegetable sprayer.
  • Food and treats: Stick to your usual meal schedule by bringing dog food with you. Reward good behavior with treats.
  • Toileting supplies: Your dog will still need to go to the bathroom, so bring newspaper, pee pads, or a portable doggy toilet to take care of your pet’s toileting needs.
  • Dog Towels: Help Fido dry off after a swim.
  • Waterproof travel bed: For naptime.
  • Shade: If your boat doesn’t already have a covered area, you may want to bring a little portable awning to give your pooch a break from the sun.

Use sunscreen to protect your dog from harmful rays when spending hours outside. Dog laying on a blanket sleeping in the sun on a boat

Taking Your Dog On A Boat: 5 Training Tips

Practice makes perfect! Before your first boat trip with your pup, teach them how to get into and out of the boat. Start with the boat on dry land if possible so it doesn’t rock. Then practice with your boat on the water on a calm day. You can use treats to lure them onto the boat. Then, create a dedicated place for your dog onboard with a mat or doggy bed. Practice “Go to Place” so they settle in and aren’t running around while you’re trying to drive the boat.

If your dog will be swimming during your excursion, you’ll also want to practice “Come When Called” on dry land before you do it in the water. Playing fetch can help with this.

Finally, train your dog to drink from their designated water bowl and not the water if they go swimming. Show them where to go to the bathroom as well. You may want to start with shorter trips to get Fido accustomed to the experience of boating with you before embarking on longer journeys.

Before your first boat trip with your pup, teach them how to get into and out of the boat - dog on the edge of a boat looking out into the water

Environmental Factors to Consider Before Your Trip

Of course, no amount of training and prep will make a difference if the weather is bad. So, consider these environmental factors when running through your checklist of boating safety tips for pets.

  • High tide may be more comfortable for getting into and out of the boat. At low tide, the ramp connecting your boat to the dock will be steepest.
  • Of course, you want to avoid bad weather but also consider the temperature. If it’s too hot, your dog may not be comfortable regardless of the water and shade you provide.

Train your dog to drink from their designated water bowl and not the water if they go swimming - dog lounging on the seat of a boat

Find a dog-friendly boat from Crevalle!

Ready to go out on the water with your dog? Our boats are designed by fishermen to be enjoyed by the whole family—and that includes your four-legged family members. Browse our family-friendly boat models or contact us to learn more! Check out these tips for choosing the right family boat. 

Family-friendly boats make pet-friendly boats - Two dogs wearing bandanas sitting on a boat

For more family and dog-friendly boating ideas, check out Turn your Fishing Boat into a Family Getaway, 15 Fishing Vacations for Anglers, and 10 Lakes for Boaters to Explore. 



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