Guide to Boating with Dogs: Part Two

Dog on a boat? Follow these recommendations for his and your safety.
Bringing your dog out on the boat? Invest in a life jacket for his safety and yours!

Bringing your Dog on a Boat? Follow these recommendations.

Dog on a Boat? For some families, no outing is complete without including the dog—boat cruises included! Dogs are welcome on GBC’s boats, but we have a few suggestions to make your dog’s—and your—outing a success. Our recent article guide about Boating with Dogs offered some tips to prepare your pet for your boat ride. Here we focus on helpful tips for you and your dog while aboard:

1. Keep your dog’s first outing on the water short.

Your dog’s initial boat ride should be brief, so he can adjust to the movement of the water. Sometimes, like people, they can experience seasickness. If so, your vet may be able to prescribe medication.

2. Remember to bring water and sunscreen for Fido.

Short-haired dogs can get sunburned on a boat, so make sure you’ve got sun protection that tried and true, and is not irritating to your dog’s skin. If you consulted Part One of our blog, you’ve already purchased a collapsible water bowl, or brought a bowl from home. And make room for your dog in the shade as well! Select a boat from our fleet that offers generous sun protection—and don’t skip their feet when you apply it, as boat surfaces can be reflective and hot.

3. If you dock the boat and take your dog swimming, remember that it’s difficult for them to get back aboard.

At sea, most canines cannot get back aboard from the water without human help—so if your dog is too heavy for you to assist back on board, you may want to rethink that doggie paddle… A dog in a boat is a safe dog.

4. If your cruise is a long one, you’ll need a plan for your dog to relieve himself.

If you can train your dog to use puppy pads on a boat, that makes cleaning up a snap. Pack plenty of doggie waste bags and paper towels. If you make stops on land in Lantana, Boynton Beach, Delray, or anywhere along your route, that’s a great time to take the dog for a walk.

5. Don’t let your dog drink from the Intracoastal.

If he’s had ample drinking water on board the boat, he most likely won’t be tempted. The water on the Intracoastal is not safe for people or pets to drink.

6. Use common sense.

With a dog on a boat, basically follow the same safety rules as you would for kids—and then some. Use caution around slick or slippery areas, keep an eye on your dog’s location, and keep him happy with plenty of water, food, and shade.

For many of us in South Florida, pets are a part of our family—so plan to include your dog on your next boat trip! Any questions? Call GBC at 561.865.7797 to help select the best dog-friendly boat for your next outing.

Guide to Boating with Dogs: Part One

GBC'S GUIDE TO BOATING WITH DOGS

Boating with Dogs: Planning for a Dog-Friendly Boat Cruise

Boating with dogs is one of our favorite activities. If you’ve got a canine member of the family, we’re sure you’ve been tempted to bring him along on your weekend boat cruise! We welcome dogs at GBC. Dogs love to be included in the family outings, and most are not afraid of the water and are natural swimmers.

But boating with dogs takes a little planning and forethought. The weather in South Florida can be hot and unpredictable, and much as you would take precautions for children aboard, Gulfstream Boat Club can recommend certain steps you can take to make your dog’s time aboard safe, comfortable, and successful.

There are some steps you can take to prepare your dog for a day on the boat.

Here are six tips for preparing to successfully spend the day with your dog on a boat:

  1. Buy a dog life preserver. Though most South Florida dogs are strong swimmers, and used to the water, once out at sea you could encounter currents, rough weather, or waves. Your dog could fatigue quickly if he falls overboard. It’s also easier with a life preserver to get hold of him and pull him aboard should he fall off the boat; grabbing his collar is never a good idea. Most pet stores, pet retail websites, and Amazon offer dog life preservers of every size and price point. Choose a bright color so it’s easier to spot in the water. Take the life preserver for a trial run; make sure it’s comfortable and fits well, and that he’s used to it before the big day. If you need suggestions on which to buy, give us a call at GBC.
  1. Make sure your dog has ID! Many dogs have an ID microchip implanted, which is helpful if you are separated for any reason. His collar ID tag probably has your phone number, but you might even want to add a second land-based phone number as well, just in case.
  1. Have a plan if your dog goes overboard. A life preserver is part one of this action plan; but you’ll also want to think about what steps to take: cut the engine, call him to the ladder; have a DDW (Designated Doggie Watcher) who is always keeping an eye on his whereabouts once at sea. Notice which areas of the boat get slippery. Again, you can practice boating with dogs before your next boat cruise in a pool. Have him swim to you or to the ladder.
  1. Visit the boat with your pet prior to your trip. Stop by Marina Delray before your next GBC boat cruise with your dog and we’d be happy to let him walk around the boat while it’s docked. We can even turn it on, so he gets used to the engine vibration and noise. Letting your dog get acquainted with the boat and the marina before going out on the water is a great idea, and will make him more comfortable when the big day comes. Make sure there’s enough room in the shade for him to sit comfortably.
  1. Hydrate your dog. If you’re going to be out boating in the sun all day, make sure your dog has had plenty to drink before coming aboard—and pack plenty more for the trip. Dogs get overheated easily. You may even want to purchase a no-spill dog bowl to bring on board. A sports bottle can also be handy for squirting water into his mouth.
  1. Consider packing a few extra supplies for his comfort. Does your dog get motion sickness? If so, consult your veterinarian about medication. Purchase a few dog first-aid supplies as well; here is a handy checklist for your kit.

Congratulations; now you’re ready to combine your two favorite passions: boating, and spending time with your dog! Gulfstream Boat Club has several more tips for once you’re on board. Stay tuned for Part Two of our “Guide to Boating with Dogs.”

Boating is our passion; make it yours. With four locations in Palm Beach County, and a fleet of 20-plus boats, Gulfstream Boat Club is the premier boat club in South Florida. Ready to get out on the water? Give us a call at 561.856.7797!