Safety Tips for Going Boating With Dogs

Back To Articles Safe Boating Practices with Dog
As you take to the open water, Preferred Mutual would like to remind you that you can take us with you! Download our MYPreferred Mobile app today from the App Store or Google Play today!

Summer brings family fun at every turn, and who wouldn’t want their furry companion to be a part of it all? Whether you are boating on a river, a lake or an ocean, open water presents a number of risks, and that is particularly true for dogs.

Here’s how to ensure safety for everyone involved!

Having the opportunity to get out on the water is fun for the whole family – even your four-legged family members! Dogs and boats are a fun combination but bringing dogs on a boat requires special precautions. After all, while you can talk about boat safety in terms the other passengers can understand, you can’t simply use words to explain to your dog how to stay safe on your boat!

How To Safely Boat With Dogs

1. Take your dog to the boat beforehand.
It’s best to get your dog acquainted with the boat ahead of the trip. Your pooch should practice getting on and off the boat, and sniff around without ever leaving the dock. Boats can also startle your pup when it starts up, so turning over the boat’s engine will also be important so your furry friend will be used to the sound and vibrations.
Once your dog is used to the boat while docked, take a few short trips with your dog. Make sure they’re wearing their doggy lifejacket! Just like humans, dogs get motion sickness, too!
2. Understand your dog’s swimming level.
While most dogs are natural swimmers, you should know whether your pooch is frightened of the water, whether being near and around it, or in it.  If your dog knows how to swim and isn’t afraid of doing so, there should be high-level supervision regardless of their skills. With currents, tides, and other dangers beneath the water, it’s best to always keep your eyes on them!
3. Make sure you're stocked with essential dog safety water supplies.
There are several pieces of equipment that will make your boating adventure a safe one and provide you with peace of mind. Here are a few Preferred Mutual suggestions:
  • Doggy lifejacket – A life vest is something that will immediately elevate the level of safety you’re taking when you bring your pup on a boating trip. Inexpensive, these items can mean the difference between fun and sorrow. Make sure to buy the right size and proper fit.
  • Water bowl – Dogs love to drink from the body of water you are cruising on, but to ensure proper hydration, fresh water in a bowl is the better choice!
  • Water ramp or dog boat ladder – Your pooch may have the agility to leap from the dock into the boat, but there’s an increased likelihood that your dog could hurt themselves. A ramp or boat ladder will help your dog safely get on and off the boat.
  • Sunscreen – For a dog? You bet! While their coats add a layer of protection like a human wearing clothing in the sun, dogs are prone to damage caused by UVA and UVB rays. However, human sunscreen and dog sunscreen are different, so for their health, be sure to purchase sunscreen made specifically for your pup!
  • Potty items – Make sure to keep pee pads and poo bags on board!
  • Carpet or mat – Dogs will need to secure their footing, and while humans can hold on in choppy weather, your dog only has four paws that need to be able to grip the deck!
  • First-aid kit and health records – You can never be too prepared for an incident! Bringing medications such as antibiotic ointments and seasickness medications for your pup is paramount!
  • No-pull harness – A harness that goes around his legs and torso is a much safer option compared to a leash attached to a collar. 
 4. Check your state laws.

Even though there are no regulations regarding the way dogs or other animals are handled on boats, local and regional laws may have limits.

As you take to the open water, Preferred Mutual would like to remind you that you can take us with you! Download our MYPreferred Mobile app today from the App Store or Google Play today!

This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not legal advice and/or an authoritative guide.


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