Best Tips for Taking Your Dog on a Boat

Dog with Life Vest on Boat

Nothing is more exciting yet calming than going on a boat trip. The gushes of wind blow across your face as you bathe under the warm sun. Most people enjoy going on a boat, and so do dogs. Our furry friends love water (at least most of them) and the feeling of wind going through their fur.
So the next time you go on a fishing trip, don’t leave your friend alone at home or the daycare. Instead, buckle them up and take them along with you! Here are some helpful tips for taking your dog on a boat.
These tips ensure you get the best experience for your dog and yourself.

Take Necessary Boating Supplies for Your Dog
Whenever you are taking your dog for a boating trip, ensure that you have all the basic things that your dog will require on the go. Some of these necessities include:

Life Jacket

Even though most dogs are good swimmers, an extra precautionary measure will save you from accidents. Sometimes the current is so strong that many dogs cannot fight it and end up the way you don’t want them to. It also depends on water temperature, and dogs get exhausted in the water like humans. Therefore a life jacket is a must-have on all boats where a dog may get accidentally or intentionally (going after a duck etc.) overboard.
Before going on a boat trip, make sure to check if your dog can swim well or not. It is because some dog breeds are unable to swim. Many dogs also suffer from breathing problems which can be a big issue when swimming.
When you buy a life jacket for your furry friend, ensure it’s a perfect fit. An improper and loose jacket can fall off in any dire situation. While a tight-fitted life jacket can make your dog uncomfortable.
Floatable Leash
A floatable leash can greatly help if your dog jumps into the water. A regular leash will submerge in the water. It will not only make it hard to grab, but it can also get stuck in the boat’s propeller. Which can pose a serious threat to your dog. A floatable leash floats on water, making it less of a safety hazard and easier to grab.

First Aid Kit

If you keep one for yourself, keep one for your friend. Many dogs get excited after seeing water and try to jump in. Their excitement after that often gets them injured. The injuries that come from that can quickly escalate into a bigger problem if not catered immediately.

Water and Food

Since a boating trip is for an extended period of time, dogs tend to get hungry and thirsty. Discourage your dog from drinking water from the sea as the high salt content can make them dehydrated.
Always keep some fresh water and food with you so you can feed your dog from time to time. Many dogs also get stressed when they experience boating for the first time. Their favorite food can help them calm down.

Wee-Wee Pads

When you are on a boat, often, there is no suitable place for your dog to do its business. That’s when wee-wee pads come to the rescue. Since many dogs also get stressed and experience fear while on a boat for the first time, their need to defecate increases.

Non-Slip Mats

Many boats nowadays are made of fiberglass. We may be able to walk properly on these decks, but our furry friends will have difficulty gripping onto them. Make sure to lay down some non-slip mats across the decks so your dog can run around the boat. You will also have the mental peace that they will not accidentally slip off the deck.

Treats and Toys

Even if your dog loves water, he might be scared or anxious when getting on the boat for the first time. Don’t drag him into the boat or try to push through their anxiety, as it will make things worse.
Make your dog comfortable by giving him a safe spot to lay down. Give him loads of treats, and encourage him to come out whenever he feels like it, rather than forcing him to.

Dog Sunscreen

Just like humans, dogs also tend to get sunburned when exposed to the sun for prolonged periods. Short-haired breeds need to have cared for more than the fluffy ones as their skins are more exposed to the sun.
Even the fluffy dogs have some parts of their skin exposed to the sun, like ear tips. So make sure to apply sunscreen so your dog is safe from the harmful rays.


Towels are essential to a trip, and it doesn’t matter where you go. But, just like you need them, your furry friend also needs a good rub after coming out of the water. Even though they can shake the excess water off, some hairy dogs might still have moisture trapped between their furs. In addition, the humidity can cause them to catch a cold if the wind is chilly.
Now you know what you should bring while going on a boat with your dog. Let’s talk about some precautionary measures you should take.

Don’t Force Your Dog.

It can have two reactions when you bring your dog on a boat for the first time. Either they will love the surroundings and be keen to explore the sea with you. Or the dog may be hesitant to enter the boat and experience anxiety.
If your dog is hesitant, make sure to make your dog comfortable by giving him a proper space to rest. Along with that, give him loads of treats to allow him to settle down and feel safe. Reward the dog for calm behavior and only give the treat when it shows the desired behavior. For example, suppose you reward the dog when it shows restlessness or anxiety. In that case, you are rewarding the behavior and reinforcing the unwanted behavior. Perfect timing is critical here.
Tugging and pulling your dog into the boat may trigger him. He may even jump off the boat, desperately attempting to get to land.

Pay Attention to Your Dog

Your furry friend might be the most obedient dog you know and follows all your commands. However, at the end of the day, it’s still an animal known for its unpredictable behavior in stressful situations. So, whenever you bring your dog on board, make sure that you pay full attention to them.

Do Local Laws apply?

Most countries allow people to take their dogs anywhere, but some rules and regulations might exist in some jurisdictions. For example, some require the dog to be microchipped. They also often demand various vaccination tests before getting your furry friend onboard.
When traveling abroad, you may encounter places with strict rules and regulations regarding taking your dog onboard. Hence, you must always check for rules and regulations.


When taking your dog to a boat, follow these precautionary measures and pack all the necessary supplies with you. Make sure to keep your first few trips short so your canine friend gets used to the sea and the boat. If your dog gets motion sickness from traveling in a car, refrain from taking him on a boat to avoid any mishaps.
Keep a keen eye on small dogs when going through wild waters. They risk getting thrown off the board by a huge wave. Always make sure that your dog is fully equipped for any kind of emergency situation.


Travelled the world. Visited 17 countries together with the dog. Information research expert, others would say an investigator.

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