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Top tips for boating with dogs this summer

Boating with dogs

A summer holiday wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged friends in tow. We’ve put together this short guide to boating with dogs so you and your pooch can enjoy a safe and relaxing trip together.

Do a test run

Give your dog a chance to get used to the boat with a practice run. This lets them know what to expect, and allows them to become familiar with their new surroundings. 

Check they are happy with the sound of the motor and take them on a short journey to build their confidence. 

Stock up on fresh water and treats

Since dogs are unable to perspire, make sure you bring a plentiful supply of fresh water. This is important to keep your dog cool, especially if it’s a particularly hot day.

Treats will help keep your dog occupied while you’re busy with important tasks, such as tying up lines or navigating into port. 

Make sure your boat is dog-friendly

Consider bringing a piece of carpet or non-slip material so your dog doesn’t skid on the decking, which can often be slippery for paws.

You should also use a ramp or lift your dog on board so that they don’t injure themselves trying to jump on. 

Buy a doggy life jacket

Even if you know your dog is a strong swimmer, there are always situations where they could get into danger. 

It’s always a good idea to get a life jacket for your dog. Try out in calm, shallow water before heading off on holiday. 

Ensure it’s brightly coloured and comfortable for your dog to wear out of the water too. As well as providing flotation, it can also provide warmth in cold water or worsening weather.

When boating with dogs, be careful with fishing gear

If you’re going to be doing a spot of fishing on holiday, don’t leave lures swinging from fishing rod tips. Also, try not to leave out any bait that you’ve cut, otherwise it will soon be gobbled up by your canine companion!

Form a “dog overboard” plan

If your dog does decide to take a plunge, you need to have a plan in place. 

Usually, you should circle back and shut off the motor as you get closer so you can help them get back on board. This will be easier if your dog is wearing a life jacket with handles, allowing you to quickly pull them out of the water. It’s important not to jump in to retrieve your dog yourself. 

With these tips in mind, you can enjoy a stress-free summer holiday with your furry friends. As well as the above, it’s also worth bringing along doggy sunscreen, insect repellent and a first aid kit, and making sure there is plenty of shade where your dog can rest out of the sun. Regular toilet breaks should also be planned into your schedule to keep them comfortable. And, most importantly, when boating with dogs, always be aware of where they are onboard while out on the water.

For more boating advice, visit the Promarine Finance Boat Buyer’s Guide.