10 tips for boating with dogs

There’s perhaps only one thing that could ever come close to our love of boats. Yes, we’re talking about dogs. (Okay, friends, family and dogs too.)

If you’re like us, you probably enjoy bringing your pup on the water sometimes. Of course, it’s not always smooth sailing with a mutt.

So we’ve collated our favourite tips for mixing salty adventures with your best friend.

  1. Make the first one fast

If your pup hasn’t been on a boat before, make his or her maiden voyage short and sweet. After all, you want your dog to associate boats with good times. Easing him into being your boating buddy is the easiest and best way to do this.

  1. Invest in a harness

A harness gives you much more to grab onto, if your dog needs to be restrained in an emergency. So, swap a collar for a harness. They’re relatively cheap, and can be picked up from City Farmers, or other major pet stores in Australia.

  1. Oh, and a life jacket

Yes, life jackets for furry friends are actually a thing! Most come with hooks at the top, so if your dog does fall in, you can fish him or her out with a boat hook. Take a look at some of the doggy life jackets for sale online. (Even water dogs will benefit, especially if conditions are choppy.)


  1. Dog overboard plan

No matter how careful you are with your pup, it’s important to have a clear plan of what to do, if he or she falls overboard. For example, have a boat hook handy at all times, so you can fish your pup out by the hook on his harness or life vest.

  1. Poop patrol

Some house-trained dogs won’t want to pooh or wee onboard. If you’re worried, you can train your pooch to take nature’s call on a square of fake grass or carpet. Wee-pads are also available from pet stores, and encourage dogs to do their business in one spot.

  1. First aid

Have a doggy first aid kit on hand, just in case your pup needs medical attention. If your dog gets sea sick (yes, even dogs get seasick!), ask your vet for sea sickness remedies that are suitable for canines. Have the medication on-hand, just in case.

  1. Be sun smart

You’re probably well aware that it’s easy to get sunburnt on a boat. Well, the same goes for your pup. Invest in some doggy sunscreen and apply it to your dog’s belly, hind legs and any spots that are pink (like around the nose for some dogs).

  1. Label your dog

Okay, your dog is not a piece of lost property, but if he does get lost, it’s important that people can easily identify him. Make sure your dog is microchipped and add a phone number to your dog’s tag (which goes on his collar). Ask your vet about microchipping ASAP.

  1. Keep your pup hydrated

Be sure to bring plenty of water for your dog, and make sure it’s easy for him to get to. Just like us, dogs get thirsty on the water, and we can sometimes forget this when we’re in the middle of all the jobs that need to be done on a boat.

  1. Secure your dog

If you know the water is likely to be rough, secure your dog in the bridge (or the brig if it’s been naughty!). Attach a lead to your dog’s harness so he or she is not thrown around when conditions are rough.

Looking for comprehensive marine cover

Once you’ve got your pup sorted for the high seas, talk to us about securing comprehensive marine insurance for your vessel. We have affordable cover options, that provide you with the kind of insurance that gives you peace of mind. Get started now!

Oh, and if you’re taking your dog overseas on a boat, this website will help you navigate Pet Passports, and other regulations regarding international doggy travel.

Dog on boat 2