By Ellie Whitcomb Payne
Whether your pup is a seasoned sailor, or setting out for his maiden voyage, check these 8 boating must-haves off your list for a safer, more comfortable excursion.
“Know your boat, know yourself,” says Lt. J.B. Zorn with USCG Sector Charleston. “Pets’ needs are not that different than people’s. Plan for extra food, water, and medications and always check the weather.”
1 LIFE JACKET
- Zorn urges boaters to use USCG approved life jackets, properly fitted for all those on board, including pets.
- Even if you don’t usually use a leash, having one on hand is a must for the boat landing and in case of emergency.
3 SUN PROTECTION
- Dogs can get sun damage too! Read about the locally owned Solardogz (pg. 35) to find out how to block those rays.
4 PAW PROTECTORS
- The boat and surrounding beaches can get pretty hot in the summer sun. Consider booties to protect those paws.
5 PUPPY PADS
- Not planning on beaching your boat? Make sure your dog has a spot to relieve himself. And if you do disembark, don’t forget the poop bags!
- If you can’t carry your dog, you may want to get a ramp to help him board. A slip-resistant ladder would be a nice bonus if your pup likes to swim.
- If your boat lacks a canopy and has a little room, pack some shade for Fido. Small covered beds and tents are light-weight and can provide much needed relief.
8 A PLAN
- What would you do if your dog falls overboard? What if a thunderstorm arises? Think ahead about potential scenarios and how they could impact your passengers and pets. Most importantly, says Zorn, tell a trusted person your intentions for boating that day. “Filing a float plan takes the search out of search and rescue,” says Zorn.