Boating with Your Dog – How to Keep it Fun & Safe

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Safety and comfort tips to keep in mind before bringing your water-loving boat dog out on your boat [Video and Infographic]

Power or sail, you’ll find dogs on board boats everywhere you go. Ensuring your dog is safe and comfortable with your boat – and life on board – will do wonders for making boating with dogs as smooth and stress-free as possible.

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Sheltie boat dogs Nellie and Max with their pal Tyco

There’s no doubt that dogs love being out on the open water with their owners. Who can blame them? The smell of fresh salty air and a good dip in the water is basically heaven on earth for a dog! And of course “family boat time” isn’t complete without your dog on board.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that even the most skilled canine swimmers need to be equipped with life vests, as rough seas can pull under even experienced water-loving breeds like Labs.

One of my friends – a long time sailor who cruises on her sailboat with her two Shelties Nellie and Max – explains why she feels it is so important that her two boat dogs are in doggy life jackets on board:

People used to make fun of me for putting life jackets on our dogs. I explain to them that they can’t swim forever and it’s a heck of a lot easier to fish them out if they are wearing a life jacket. It also puts our minds at ease when we are underway – I don’t worry about where they are every single second.

And it’s more than just life jackets for dogs – there are quite a few other safety considerations to take into account before setting sail with your pooch on board.

Keeping your dog safe & comfortable on boats includes:

  • Emergency plans for dogs falling overboard
  • Doggy first aid kits
  • Dog boat rules
  • Dog life jackets
  • Doggy sunscreen
  • Dog on & off boat commands
  • Drinking water
  • Dog potty spots

Pet Gear & Gifts We Love:

UPDATE: We recently got our first boat dog and did a Video recap of how we keep our pup happy on board along with our must-have doggie boat gear:

Want to see more of our new boat dog? Subscribe to her YouTube Channel Gracie the Boat Dog! Yep, she’s that cute she has her own channel 😉

Looking for life jackets for dogs and other boat gear ideas for dogs? Check out our Boat Gift Guide for Pets

Boating with Dogs Infographic

The dog lovers over at K9 of Mine just published a new Dog Boating Safety Tips Infographic to help out boaters who enjoy boating with their furry family members. They have some great tips that will keep your dog both safe and comfortable on your boat… with a few things that even long time boaters with dogs may have not have thought about!

dog boating safety

Looking for life jackets for dogs and other boat gear ideas for dogs? Check out our Boat Gift Guide for Pets

Love the boat life? Check out these picks for your boating lifestyle:

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Diane Seltzer

View posts by Diane Seltzer
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids Active in the boating industry, Diane has also led the marketing for multiple recreational boating businesses and startups.
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