Boating is not just for heading out with the guys to catch a fish or a spin around the lake towing a skier. It sometimes involves bringing the whole family and friends for a weekend cruising the islands. That could include the family pet dog or cat. Make sure you know everything needed to keep your pet safe and happy aboard the boat.
- Plan how to react in case your pet goes overboard
- Buy a pet life jacket
- Get a well-stocked first-aid kit
- Spend time onboard with your pet prior your first trip
- Make your first trip out a short one
Make sure to keep plenty of fresh water available, especially when it’s hot. Dogs pant to cool themselves, but in the process, they lose much-needed water from their tongue. You might want to consider using a ramp. One may be necessary for boarding the boat if the animal is too heavy to lift.
Make sure your pet is tagged or microchipped in case it decides to wander off. Also, having a current picture of him or her on hand to show folks as you do your search might be a good idea.
Making your pet comfortable is important. They should have plenty of shade, sunscreen on their ears and protection for their paws from hot surfaces.
Finally. your pet should have a properly fitting life jacket on at all times when on board. Make sure that it fits securely and comes with lift handles. A brightly colored jacket will make your pet easier to spot. Have them wear the jacket onshore to get used to it first.
More information on pet life jackets and other pet products for boating can be found at Boat U.S.