10 Ways To Keep Dogs Safe On A Boat

Boating with a pet is similar to going on a long drive with them. However, with no roof over their heads, preparation is key to ensure that the time on the water is comfortable and enjoyable. Regardless of whether one is boating alone or with company, a number of safety precautions have to be taken to keep the pet safe. In this article, we will cover 10 ways to keep a pet safe on a boat.


1. Invest In A Life Jacket


dog life jacket


The most important thing to invest in is a life jacket for pets. With waves technically stronger than what beach or swimming pools might have, even the strongest pets have trouble staying afloat in the event that they find themselves in the water. Still, it is critical because the pet’s fur is slippery when wet, and one would need to hold onto something to pull them out of the water when a rescue is needed.


2. Bring First-Aid Kits

Before leaving the dock, a fully stocked first aid kit should be available on the boat. While pet safety boards in every country have a number of recommendations on items that must be present, antibiotic ointment, as well as gauze and tape, are vital for small or deep cuts. In case the pet is on any type of medication, bringing a good supply of it is also recommended.


3. Practice Boarding And Unboarding The Boat


water ladder for dog


With a dog, practicing to get on and off a boat is vital, as they tend to want to jump. With the chances of slipping and getting hurt plausible, practicing will ensure that accidents, like falling and getting caught between the dock and boat, are eliminated. In this case, use a ramp-like structure to practice at home before the trip.


4. Bring Extra Mats And Towels

Extra mats and towels come in handy in case the sun becomes too hot and the pet needs a place to rest. The mat is especially important, as boat floors tend to be a little slippery and it will enable the pet to feel more at ease and secure while moving around. However, the best thing to do to keep pets safe on a boat is to keep first trips short, as they can also get sea sick and immediate medical attention might be needed.


5. Take Sunscreen


sunscreen for pets


Veterinarians in Coronado Cays recommend using sunscreen on pets while out on a beach, and more so when going on a boat trip. With light colored pets being hypersensitive to the sun, applying sunscreen on the ears, nose and other areas where there is no fur, will help them.


6. Hydrate Pets

Water for your pets should be plentiful, so they can take a sip when the need arises. Also, it discourages dogs from going overboard to take a sip to stay hydrated. So make sure you bring extra fresh water, not only for you, but for your beloved pets.


7. Safety in Motion


dog on back of boat


Many pets are usually curious about what is going on around them and many look for a higher place to keep a watch over everything. However, this is dangerous while on a boat, as when/if the boat tips for a moment, its easy for the pet to slip into the water. One way to keep a pet safe on a boat is by having them stay next to their owner and having what they need next to them. In addition to that, keeping them on a leash will help, in case they suddenly become excited and act impulsively.


8. Water Sporting

Participating in water sports is the riskiest venture for a pet’s safety. They might get the impression that it’s time to get in the water too when they see their owners dive in. In this case, a leash or life jacket might come in handy before stopping the boat.


9. Prepare For Your Pet Going Overboard

Even with all the precautions taken to ensure that pets are safe while boating, there is still a chance that they might fall in the water accidentally. In this case, cut out the engine before calling on other members on board to help. Practice in a pool on how the rescue will take place and how the pet will be positioned, while still playing it safe.


10. Be attentive


paying attention to dog


Be attentive at all times, because no matter how much practice is done beforehand, focusing elsewhere, even for a moment, can be deadly. By keeping vigil, pets can be stopped from going overboard by keeping a close eye on them. In case waves become too strong, knowing their location will notify pet owners of any potential dangers that might arise.



All in all, even with these tips to keep a pet safe on a boat, its important to check local laws on boating with pets, for alerts on any legal restrictions arising. This should be done early, especially if one is intending to enter international waters, for example. Keep an eye on your pets at all times, since they can be just like children, not realizing the dangers of things and what they are really getting into.