Dos and Don’ts of Boating with Pets

A pet is part of the family. When it comes to boating with pets, there are a few things you may want to remind your boaters. Here’s a checklist to make help make sure your boaters have safe fun with their furry friends on the water.


  1. Get a pet life jacket or pet buoyancy aid! There are several different sizes and styles made for animals of all shapes and sizes.
  2. Make sure they have a safe place to potty. Bring along a litter box if you’re bringing the cat, and make sure you’ve secured the box to the inside of the cabin. For pups, you can designate a certain area above or below the deck and bring along some puppy pads or a turf potty. Train them to use that spot only.
  3. Don’t forget to bring a first-aid kit. The Humane Society recommends pet-specific supplies and useful items to include.
  4. Whether you’re out for the day or the month, make sure your furry friend has plenty to eat.
  5. Make sure you have up-to-date identification tags for your pet’s collar just in case something happens and you’re separated, and check local laws about pets on boats. Additionally, you can microchip or tattoo your pet so they can be identified even if they lose their collar.
  6. Familiarize your pet with the boat gradually to get them used to the space. With dogs, it’s also important to make sure they understand and will obey your commands.
  7. You can also find specially made sunscreen, sunhats, and sunglasses for pets. Pets with white or thin coats are particularly susceptible to sunburn.


  1. If your dog has trouble obeying commands or isn’t quite trained, it may be best to board them or leave them at home. A disobedient dog can be a huge source of stress, not to mention a safety risk, when you’re on the water. You don’t want the constant worry of wondering if and when they’re going to jump overboard.
  2. Although some people do tether dogs in boats, the prevailing wisdom seems to go against tethering. In the unlikely event your boat capsizes, your dog could be trapped. Stick with a pet life jacket and don’t take the dog out until you’re certain of its obedience to commands.
  3. Remember to make sure your pet isn’t overheating. Since they don’t sweat, look out for heavy panting or slobbering, and a rapid heartbeat. Make sure there’s adequate shade and drinking water.
  4. If your pet doesn’t like your boat or the water, please leave them at home. You may miss them but you wouldn’t want to make them miserable by bringing them along.


Bringing your pet along with the rest of the family on a boating trip can be a wonderful experience for everybody. But it pays to make sure everyone is prepared.

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About MariCorp

Maricorp is one of the largest floating boat dock manufacturing and construction companies in the United States, specializing in galvanized steel floating docks and boat lift systems. With projects spanning coast-to-coast, Maricorp provides marina consultation and design, marine construction, marina repair and renovation, and boat dock disaster response and demolition.