Boating with Pets

Boating with Pets

Can a pet owner also be a boat owner and mix these two aspects of their life together successfully ... the answer is definitely “yes”!! Here are some key points for safe boating with your pets.

Talk to your vet, check out the tips below, and spend a bit of time practicing and learning a few new tricks with your beloved pet before you go. In no time you’ll be enjoying the best of both worlds – doing what you love with the whole family.



Dog Diving

  • You can find a variety of lifejackets specially designed for pets
  • Take your pet with you for a fitting when you purchase their lifejacket to make sure you have the one that is best suited to them
  • Smaller pets lifejackets will have a handle to pull them out
  • Larger dogs lifejackets will keep your dog afloat if they get tired from paddling (it can happen)
  • Make sure your pet gets used to wearing their lifejacket on land for a while before they get on your boat

Be prepared and Safety

Dogs Boating

  • Make sure you know where to find a vet in the area that you’re boating
  • Always confirm that pets are allowed at the destination point before you visit
  • Don’t forget any medication you need for your pet
  • Bring your pet’s leash and/or harness
  • Give them time to get their “sea legs” – they will
  • Keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not getting heat stroke – cool them down with water (not ice-cold) to reduce body temperature
  • Check your pet paws occasionally to make sure they are not too hot or too cold on the deck


  • Getting on board from the dock may take some practice, especially for dogs that are not used to the environment, but with a little patience you’ll get there – some boaters provide a “paw-friendly” ramp to walk on
  • Getting them back on board from the water will take a couple of practice sessions to get your pet (and yourself) familiar with how to manage re-boarding safely and comfortably
  • When it comes to bigger dogs, many boaters will get a specially designed set of dog re-boarding stairs that can hook right onto the back of their boat to make things easier

Food and Water

Dogs on Boats

  • Pack food in a watertight container
  • Make sure there is plenty of water onboard for your pet to drink – due to the effects of the sun and heat your dog or cat might drink three times as much water as usual
  • Put your pet’s food bowl anywhere other than in the v-berth where any rocking motion that might make them seasick will be the most intense

Bathroom Business

  • A variety of ways to deal with this, and all are a combination of common sense and training to get your pet used to what needs to be done and how
  • If your pet is comfortable with a litter box, use that but don’t locate it in the v-berth (see above)
  • Some people use a piece of astroturf on deck as “the spot” and train their pet to use that as the target to relieve themselves onboard
  • If possible, schedule some on-land breaks in your day if you’re pet is not comfortable “going” on board
  • Make sure that you “bag it” and take it with you until you find an appropriate place to dispose of that waste on shore