But do they still need to take a boating course and have an operator’s license?
We’re told that we can’t bring dogs on beaches, into stores or restaurants. But no one… and we mean NO ONE, will tell us we can’t bring our dogs on our boats. In fact, there’s probably one thing we love more than our boats, and that’s our dogs. The best part, there’s no window to hang their head out of. They’ve pretty much got the whole side of the boat as their tongue wagging playground.
The advantages to having your dog on the boat with you are endless. Dogs love a good time, and what better time is there than spending a day on the boat with you. Consider that you have your friends, your time away from home, your work. But your dog has only you. And we’ve all felt the pains of looking back at those big brown eyes when we walk out the door and just know we’re taking the dogs heart out the door with us. So why not bring the dog with you?
Rule 5 states that every vessel shall maintain a proper lookout by “all available means” appropriate to the prevailing circumstances. Mission accomplished.
If you have never seen the look of pure contentment from a dog on the water, then you’re missing out on one of the most rewarding experiences a boat has to offer.
Even our BoatTEST Smart Boating DVD box set has a section on bringing your dog on board with you.
Ok, going the distance has its challenges for dogs. Namely… there are no fire hydrants or trees on our boats. We’ve seen cruisers pull into the fuel dock only to have the dog be the first off of the boat and make like a bullet for the nearest tree, and then stand there like a tripod for 5 minutes (that’s 35 in dog minutes) straight. So perhaps the best solution is to shorten the length of the trips. Rule of thumb… if you have to use the head, so does your dog. Pretend your boat doesn’t have a head-on board and make a stop sooner than the remote destination. You’ll probably be rewarded with a nice experience at this unplanned visit that you never would have experienced otherwise. And who will you have to thank for that? Your dog.
We don’t need a large boat just to bring the dog along. Trust us, they’ll be happy on just about anything, as long as you are with them.
On a related topic, we’ve talked to dozens of owners of expedition cruises that take a completely different tack. There is no shortening of the trip when crossing an ocean. So, their solution was to bring some sections of artificial turf, and even add a fake fire hydrant. It took some time to train the pup to poop in this pop-up Porta-Potti but they did it. And everyone lived happily ever after.
When a dog is in the water, it swims…. And swims and swims… There’s no lying back and floating with a doggie beer in one paw. In fact, dogs can’t stop swimming as long as they’re in the water. It’s like a shark that can’t stop swimming or it drowns. Your poor dog will actually keep going until it reaches exhaustion. It’s that critical.
So, you have two choices. One is to be pulled up to a beach so the poor pup can get out of the water whenever desired, and then run back in the same way. Choice two is to always have a puppy life preserver properly worn. This won’t solve the swimming problem, but the swimming aspect won’t be so life-threatening. He/she will still swim, but not as hard, and certainly will be able to breathe more freely as the life jacket will always keep that cute face out of the water.
Doggie life jackets are made for every size dog so choose accordingly. And they all have handles on the top so if needed, we can make a quick grab.
So when you head off to the marina, remember the critical components… the cooler full of drinks, lunch, cheese, crackers, towels, sunscreen…. And the dog.