For the majority of pet owners, our four-legged friends are considered family members. As such, we want to take them anywhere with us. Yachting might be a fun experience for us, and it can also be for our pets if we take the right precautions before sailing.
We have seen all those cool photos of boating dogs and cats, but to capture those happy images, a lot of training has been done to ensure a safe and pleasant journey for our four-legged fellas on your motor yacht or sailboat.
Here are ten things you should think of before getting your pet on board.
#1 Put An ID Tag On Your Pet
Put an ID tag on your pet indicating the exact marina and slip your boat usually stays when docked. Include a phone number where you can be reached while sailing and a secondary number to someone ashore. This would ensure that in case your dog or cat gets lost, the person who finds it will be able to inform you.
#2 Know the Rules and Regulations
Get to know the rules and regulations about bringing pets to the countries you plan to visit. Assure that your pet has the necessary vaccinations and passport. Some countries will not let your pet on land if it doesn’t have a chip. The chip is also a great solution if your pet gets lost.
#3 Consider Your Pet’s Safety
The life jacket needs to be designated for four-legged, also called PFD, meaning personal floating device. These life jackets also have a handle that would help you pull up your pet if it falls down in the water. Most pets are not used to wear “clothes,” especially cats. This is why you should go through the process of making your pet comfortable wearing a PFD.
#4 Safety Boat Training For Your Pet and You
Training is an essential stage of assuring safe sailing for both your pet and yourself. Before getting on board, visit the marina a few times so the dog or cat gets used to the environment. Get them on board while the boat is still docked, so they can get used to the sounds onboard, start the engines. Prepare your pets to get back on board if fallen overboard by making it a fun game. It is good to teach your dog how to get back via the passerelle. It would be harder to play such a game with a cat, but give it a try. It is a good idea to place carpet strips hanging from the yacht so that the cat can get back on board via them.
#5 Remove All Hazardous Objects
When onboard, make sure you remove all the hazardous objects which might on the way or of reach of your pet.
#6 Create A Shaded Spot With Access to Water
Create a designated area, especially for your pet on a shade with a bucket full of water. Don’t forget that in most cases, when boating, it is hot and your pet, as well as you, need to stay hydrated. Your four-legged friend would be happier if they even have a room for them.
#7 Prevent Your Pet From Slipping
Surface on the decks gets hot and slippery during the summer or when wet. Assure that you put a carpet or artificial grass to prevent your pet from slipping over or damage their gentle paws.
Pooping is another thing you should think of in advance. With cats might be easier to install a litter box in the bathroom or even teach your cat to do their business on the toilet, which might be challenging but not impossible. With dogs, you would need to go through more training. Ensure you let your dog know that it is okay to poop on a designated area such as artificial grass, on a particular area on board. Some owners would even let them do it on the fiberglass on deck, but it is quite gross. You can start using artificial grass at home before getting on a yacht because this way, your dog will associate this material with pooping.
#9 Prevent Seasickness
Contact your pets’ vet before going onboard about pills for seasickness. Cats and dogs also get seasick, just as humans do. Some human medications work for them too, but to avoid any complications, talk to your vet first.
#10 Don’t Forget It’s All About Your Pet and You Have FUN Together
Have fun! Enjoy your pets’ company, and you will all have a great time – play, swim, and explore together!
We hope this article has been helpful, and your four-legged friends and you will enjoy safe and happy boating!