At Campfire Collective, we’re all about boating safety, including our furry crew! Dogs can enjoy being on the water just as much as you do. Keep these safety tips in mind on your next boating excursion with your co-captain.
If you’ve ever vacuumed in your house with a dog, you know that they typically hate loud noises. Before heading out on a boating adventure with your four legged friend, let them adjust to their new surroundings. Bring your dog on board while the boat is moored and let them explore. Let them get used to the uneven footing and the noise of the engine at their own pace. When you’re ready for your first trip, keep it short and simple so you don’t overwhelm them.
An important part of owning a dog is teaching them various commands and phrases. Using these commands will make boating with your dog a lot easier. There are some basic commands that prove particularly helpful onboard. Commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ means you won’t have to deal with driving a boat while your pup is constantly racing back and forth and looking over the edge.
Trained dogs who understand when to be calm, sit and stay in one place while underway, reduces the risk of an overboard pooch. If your pup can’t get the hang of commands just yet, leashes can come in handy when you need to keep them in one place. Once you have basic commands down, you can work on teaching them more specific commands like ‘on’ and ‘off’ to make loading your furry first-mate a breeze.
Invest in a Pet Lifejacket
No crew member should go boating without a life jacket – and that includes your pup! Your lifejacket or PFD should be tested in water immediately after you buy it and at the start of each boating season. The same goes for your pet’s PFD. Before you head out on the lake, put your pooch in their lifejacket and place them gently in the water to test the buoyancy of the vest. You also want to make sure your dog is comfortable and can move freely in their new equipment. A properly fitted pet life-vest will fit your dog snug and keep their snout above water. Just like our lifejackets, pet vests need to be tested and checked for proper fitting before you head out.
Avoid Dehydration and Overheating
While on a boat, the effects of the sun are extremely strong, and there’s not always shade readily available to seek cover from the rays. Help keep your dog safe from the dangerous possibility of dehydration and overheating by having plenty of water on board. Grab yourself some water bowls (ones with suction cup bottoms work well) and be equipped with a fresh supply of water. Encourage your dog to drink throughout the day to keep them cool and hydrated. If your dog is short-haired they may be more susceptible to sun burns, so it’s a good idea to look into pet-friendly sunscreen.
Many pet owners keep a first aid kit for their pets onboard with things like seasickness medication, ointment for cuts and burns, and sunscreen. Keep a leash with you at all times when travelling with your pet as you never know when you will be mooring the boat at a busy marina. With smaller breeds it’s also smart to keep a small net onboard in case of emergencies. If they fall overboard you can use the net to safely get them out of the water if they are out of arms’ reach.
There are endless opportunities for you and your pup to enjoy while you’re out on the water. But whether it’s a loop around the lake or a week-long boating trip, safety comes first! Ensure your pooch loves boating just as much as you do with these safety products:
- Pet life jacket
- Water and food bowl
- Fresh water supply and extra food
- Seasickness medication
- Ointment for sunburns and scrapes
- Doggie sunscreen
- Fishing net
When boating with your family and furry friends, it’s important to be a safe and smart operator. That’s why captains in Canada trust BOATsmart! to be their boating safety educator.