Boating With Your Dog: 5 Safety Tips To Keep Your Trip Fun

Once your dog gets more and more confident about going in the water by himself, you may try sharing other marine activities that both of you can enjoy. But before heading to the water, whether to go swimming, boating, or playing fetch, it is important to know some basic knowledge and safety measures.

Here are some tips to help you and your dog get the most out of your water experience while keeping safety paramount:

1. Not all beaches allow dogs. Check the ordinance to make sure that your dog can come along. If you have access to the Internet, you may go online at to find a list of beaches that allow pets in the United States and Canada.

2. If boating is one of your favorite pastimes and you want to bring your dog with you, take your time when introducing him to this activity. You have to remember that he is used to hard surfaces that are stable and do not move.

Regardless of the size of your boat, whether it is a small canoe or a large yacht, allow him to get acquainted with your boat while he is on the leash. Also, your dog’s first couple of boat trips should be very short, no longer than an hour or so. This will allow you to get a good sense of his comfortability levels with spending time on a moving surface.

3. When heading out on your boat on a bright, sunny day, ensure that your dog has a shaded area to spend time in when things get too warm.  The surface of your boat can become uncomfortably hot underneath the boiling sun, especially during the dead of summer. And your dog’s ears and nose may become sunburned without shade.

4. There is nothing more fun than being out in the middle of the ocean or lake and jumping off the side of your boat for a good swim. If your dog joins you, be sure to pay attention to strong tides, jellyfish, and sea lice.

Sea lice can cause extreme itching and irritation to your dog’s skin. Jellyfish can obviously stink your pet. And when coming back onto the boat, be sure to rinse both you and your dog off with clean water.

5. Last but not least, always bring your own drinking water. Though it may seem more convenient to have your dog drink from the river or lake, it is not a good idea to do so. Slow-moving water such as lakes and ponds is sometimes contaminated with bacteria and parasites.