Here are 10 tips for keeping your furry First Mate safe and happy while on the water:
- Introduce your dog to the boat at the dock with the engine off, then start the engine. Allow the dog to sniff around the boat.
- Make sure your dog only goes in the water when you say it’s okay. When the boat is under way, keep the dog safely restrained.
- Make sure your dog’s collar has an ID tag with your contact information on it.
- Purchase a pet life jacket with a sturdy handle on the back. Not only can it help you to rescue a dog that has fallen overboard, it also can help you transfer a small dog from the boat to the dock. If you have a large dog, you might want to invest in pet stairs.
- Choose a brightly colored life jacket to make the dog easier to spot in the water. Put it on while the dog is on land in order to get him or her used to it, then do a “float test” in a swimming pool or shallow water.
- If you don’t have a pet life jacket, be sure to bring fishing net along, as you may be able to use it to “scoop” up a small dog that has fallen overboard.
- Stairs or a pet ramp that you can deploy from your boat’s swim platform can help you to get a larger dog back onboard.
- Make sure your dog has a shady place to sit in your boat and access to plenty of drinking water.
- Make frequent stops ashore to let your pet answer the call of nature. If you are making a long transit and are unable to stop, try training your dog to use a piece of artificial turf on deck.
- Keep your boat shipshape, and be sure to stow all fishing gear so your dog doesn’t get hooked.
Follow these tips and Fido will get his sea legs in no time!