Pets On Deck

Pets on Deck

Planning a boating excursion with your dog (or cat) this weekend? At Southern Boating, we believe that pets are a part of the family and should be treated as such.

However, boating with pets isn’t without challenges and additional precautions will keep your furry friends safe and sound.

Here are ten tips for boating with pets:

The first time your pup comes aboard, it probably isn’t wise to go deep-sea fishing. Pets, like people, need to acclimate to the movement and feel of any vessel. Start slow and progress. Not all pets will be comfortable right away, so use baby steps (or in this case, puppy steps).

Swim Test
Some pets love the water. Others may need time to adjust to swimming. Take it slow and test out your pet’s reaction to the water well before you head out to sea.

Be sure to purchase a lifejacket for Fido if you have concerns about your pet’s swimming strength or stamina. There are a variety of places to purchase lifejackets for your pet. Make sure that the lifejacket fits properly so your pet doesn’t slip out accidentally.

Pet Overboard!
Speaking of lifejackets and swimming—make sure you have a plan in place if your pet does happen to go overboard. Ideally, this should be thought of and discussed before your pet steps on board.


Water, water everywhere…
but not a drop to drink! Your pet, like all people, will get thirsty. Bring plenty of fresh water and make sure your pet knows where to find it.

This might be a no-brainer but make sure your pet is identifiable.

Throwing Shade
Okay, so more like providing shade. The sun’s rays are even more powerful on the water, so make sure there is ample shade for your pet. Or you may want to invest in a pet sunscreen—sunscreen for humans often includes zinc, which is harmful if ingested, so pet sunscreen is best.

If your pet is larger or older, you may want to have a boarding ladder. This can also be helpful for getting your pet back on the boat from the water.

We’ve all been there. An occasional bout of sea-sickness is nothing to worry about, but if your pet gets sick regularly, they might be better off staying on land. You can also discuss motion sickness medications with your veterinarian.

Answering Nature’s Call
Okay so we saved the grossest one for last—but don’t let it deter you from a day on the water with your best friend. Many housebroken pets will be reluctant to go on board your boat but they can be trained to use carpet scraps, wee-wee pads or litter boxes placed in the cockpit.

It takes a bit of time to prepare your pet for the boat—but, after the first few trips, all should go smoothly. Go slow, drink water, have fun.

Do you have photos of your pet on board? Send us a picture to to see your pet on our website next week!