5 Tips for Boating with Dogs

Boating with Dogs - Tips from Westport Marina Lake Norman


Boating is the perfect way to enjoy fun in the sun with the whole family – including man’s best friend! Dogs can feel like a member of the family, so when going boating it’s hard to leave a family member behind.

Many people enjoy boating with dogs. Certain breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, are strong swimmers who are naturally drawn to the water. Other breeds may need more convincing before leaving shore.

No matter what type of dog you have, there are a few things you should keep in mind before shoving off with your furry friend.

  1. Acclimate

It’s important to let your dog get used to your boat before you go out on the water. Dogs can be confused by the sensation of the floor moving underneath them, and can become frightened by it. Bring your dog to the boat before you plan on going out to acclimate your pup to the boat, the dock and the water. Make sure your first outing with your dog is brief so that you can come safely back to shore if there are any problems.

  1. Life Jacket

Personal Flotation Device for DogsLife jackets are essential for safely boating with dogs. No matter how strong a swimmer your dog is, a life jacket can be the difference between tragedy and rescue. Most dog life jackets have handles on the top of them to help aid rescue if the dog falls overboard. Just like life jackets for humans, make sure the jacket fits properly before heading out on the water.


  1. Plan Ahead

Make sure you have a plan for if your dog goes overboard. Many dogs are strong swimmers, but falling overboard is still a safety concern. Part of your plan should be to cut the engines off, and have a designated routine for rescue. Also, some dogs become seasick so check with your veterinarian if Dramamine is a safe option for your pet.

  1. Water / Shelter

Dog’s don’t sweat, so hot summer weather can dehydrate them at a higher rate than humans. Have plenty of extra drinking water onboard for your furry friend. Also, consider having some sort of shady shelter for your pet so they can escape the hot summer sun.

  1. Toys

Boating can be stressful and confusing for dogs that are not used to the water. Having new toys ready for your pet will help your dog associate boating with fun! Make sure that the toys float and are very durable.

Boating with dogs is a great way to share summer memories with your whole family! Rent a boat from Westport Marina, and follow these basic tips and you and your canine companion will be having summer fun for years to come!