Sailing with your dog:what to consider when bringing your pet on board
Paws aboard! According to statistics, the most popular pet in the UK is a dog, with around a quarter of the population owning one. Dogs are known to be man’s best friend and are usually never too far away from their beloved owner. But when it’s time to get your boat out on the water, some dogs don’t get a chance to be part of the crew.
We never like to leave our furry friends behind, especially if it’s for a long period of time. Cruising along the South West coastline, discovering coves and visiting seaside towns can take up most of the day. Why not bring along man’s best friend to join in the fun from time to time?
As much as having a dog on board is a great idea in theory, there are a few things to consider before letting those four paws climb aboard. Here are a few tips for smooth sailing with your pup:
Things to consider before boarding
Before letting your dog climb on board, it’s important to make sure that anything which could harm your pet is removed from the deck. Whether your dog is jumping around in excitement or panicking because they’re scared, ensure nothing is lying around out in the open which could hurt or injure them.
It’s probably a good idea to sail on a calm day. Even if your pooch is an experienced sea dog, they can get sea sick which will make the experience a lot less enjoyable for them (and for you when you have to clean up after them!)
As well as planning to go out on a calm day, it’s vital you make sure that where you’re planning to go is dog-friendly if you’re looking to stop off at a destination. There are many towns with dog friendly venues but it’s worth double-checking locations, particularly beaches, for restrictions on when and where a dog is allowed before setting off.
Before they step one paw onto the boat, it’s probably a good idea to make sure they’ve been to the toilet first – especially if you’re planning on a long trip. You might decide to buy a portable potty for your dog to use whilst on board, but either way, make sure they go before you set off.
It’s key to think about how your dog is going to get on board too. If they try to jump on, they could injure themselves. Using a ramp for them to walk across could be a good idea or investing in a doggy ladder. Alternatively, you could always just carry them.
Once you’re on board and away, your dog might decide that they want to go for a little swim but before you let them go, consider how they are going to get back on the boat.
Having a harness for your dog is a good idea as it’s much easier and safer to lift them back onto the boat compared to a collar. Also, if you know your dog is prone to jumping overboard, a doggy life jacket could be a good purchase as it would help them stay afloat, especially in deep waters.
What to bring:
- Plenty of fresh drinking water and a bowl
- A piece of carpet or something similar to provide secure footing for the dog
- Treats are a good idea, especially if the dog is new to the sailing world
- Pet friendly sun cream if they’re going to be in the sun all day, but it’s worth researching brands and types before use
- A towel to dry them off after they’ve taken a dip
- Something to create some shade on the boat, if you don’t have an inside level
Once you’re back on dry land after a successful day of sailing, it’s worth giving your dog a quick fresh water rinse if they’ve had a swim in the sea.
Although we all love to spend as much time with our pets as possible, it is important to consider whether your dog will like being on the water. If they do, ensure that you have the right tools in place to make the day as smooth sailing at possible.
Share your sailing adventures with your dog with us on social media – we love seeing pictures and videos of our berth holders out on the water.
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