During any family boating adventure, it's always important to consider the safety of everyone on board as much as possible. Yes, everyone wants to have fun and have a good time - but nobody should fear getting injured while that happens. This mentality extends to every last passenger on your boat, including the member of the family that people often forget about: the family pet.
Many people assume that dogs in particular are fine on a boat, because they're all "naturally good swimmers." Even if that were the case, being out on the open water is a lot different than wading around in a creek or backyard pool. In truth, pets should absolutely be treated the same way as human passengers when it comes to safety guidelines. Naturally, this is something that will require you to keep a few key things in mind.
Safety Best Practices For Boating With the Family Dog
The absolute most important thing that you can do before heading out on the water with your dog involves investing in an appropriately sized life jacket for the animal. You can find life jackets designed to fit most sizes of dogs at local boating stores and even pet shops in your area. Take your dog with you to the store and try some different versions on - by all means, make sure you find one that is a good fit and has a grab handle on the collar. This is not a risk that you (or your pet) should take.
Secondly, you're going to want to keep an eye on what your dog is up to on the water - or more specifically, watch what they drink. When a dog gets thirsty (as they are likely to do quite often on a hot day), they're going to try to drink from whatever water source they happen to be closest to. When that is their dog bowl, that's one thing, but when that water source is the ocean or even a lake, that is something else entirely.
NEVER allow your animal to drink from these water sources. Always make sure you bring enough fresh drinking water with you to avoid this issue altogether.
Finally, you're going to want to make sure that your dog has a chance to go to the bathroom before you have a chance to leave the dock. You know how much you hate to cut a great boating trip short because you have to run back inside and go to the bathroom? Take it from us - your furry little friends are going to hate it even more. If you’ve had your dog from a puppy, you may have trained them to use puppy pads, but either way you should have a plentiful supply of paper towel, poo bags and deodoriser on hand.
The Maritime & Safety Training Approach
Again - adventure and excitement on the open water is great, but safety is and should always be your top priority. Whether you're interested in obtaining your boat licence in NSW or VIC, or just want to take a maritime training course to help stay up-to-date on all of the latest rules and regulations, we've got you covered. To learn more about our available training courses, or to get other answers to some of your essential questions, please don't delay - contact Maritime & Safety Training today.