For many families, a day on the boat isn’t complete without their furry first mate. Most dogs — and even some cats — take well to the water. Some go absolutely nuts for it. If you’re planning to bring Fido or Felix aboard your Boston Whaler, the following tips will help ensure everybody has a safe and enjoyable trip.
Get Them Acclimated
Practice swimming to make sure your pet is comfortable with the water. Walk around the dock and have them board your boat a few times to familiarize them with the environment, and turn on your Whaler’s engines to get them used to the sounds.
Show Some ID
Your dog or cat should always be wearing its collar and a tag with your contact info, just in case you get separated. Having your pet microchipped is also a smart idea.
Wear Those Life Jackets
Even strong swimmers benefit from wearing a life jacket, especially in rough water or fast currents. Choose a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) with a handle to make it easier to lift your pet into the boat.
The Humane Society recommends pet-specific supplies that should be included in a boating first-aid kit. If your pet suffers from motion sickness, ask your vet about giving them Dramamine.
Plan for Sun
Bring along plenty of water for your pet and provide them with a shady place to rest out of the hot sun. Dogs and cats can get sunburned; apply a pet sunscreen to their belly and inside their hind legs.
Remember, some pets may never warm up to boating, and that’s okay! Don’t force it. But if your critters show an inclination, then welcoming them onto your Whaler can make things more fun for everyone.