Taking Your Dog Boating

Taking Your Dog Boating

Dogs can make great passengers on used boats! They love the feel of the wind in their face. They scamper around the beach upon arrival. They love getting to hang out with you longer. Taking your dog on your boat can be a fun excursion! But before you bring your four-legged friend on board, you’ll want to make sure they can have a safe time. We created a beginner’s guide to boating with your dog below. If you are wanting to shop for used boats, visit Master Marine. We proudly serve those in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington.

Dogs and the Water

Most dogs are fully capable of joining their owners for excursions on used boats. But there are a few factors that would merit leaving a dog at home. First, if a dog would find it a challenge to stay afloat. Older dogs may not possess the energy to stay afloat for long. Smaller dogs can catch hypothermia quickly. Only take strong swimmers aboard used boats.

Second, leave a dog who may not follow commands behind on the shore. If your dog follows overboard, he needs to be able to respond to commands to safely navigate back to the boat. A high-stress scenario is a true test of their obedience. If they are hit or miss in a no-stakes situation, they aren’t ready for a potentially high-stakes one. A dog that fell overboard is susceptible to other boats, large waves, and other threats. They need to be a well-behaved dog before they can be trusted aboard used boats.

An Emergency Plan

During an emergency, stress is high. Your brain goes into overdrive scrambling to handle the unexpected situation. Now is not the time to start formulating a strategy from scratch. If you create an emergency plan in advance, you’ll be able to act quicker and more effectively in the moment of crisis.

Make a plan for how to handle your dog falling overboard. Nominate the family member the dog is most likely to respond to. Everyone else should remain calm and quiet while that individual calls the dog to the boat. You should also nominate the family member who will jump in after the dog if he struggles to get back on the boat.


Used boats need the proper supplies for successful outings and this includes supplies for your dog. Water is important to keep your dog hydrated since they will lose hydration as they pant in the sunshine. Sure you are surrounded by water. But it could contain contaminants, bugs, or other particles that can make your dog sick. Pack along fresh water and a bowl.

It’s also important that your dog wears the proper collar and tags. On the off chance you get separated on shore, you’ll want a way for your dog to get identified. Anyone who finds her can just glance at her tags and give you a call.

Your dog also needs to wear a life jacket too! If they fall overboard, the life vest provides much-needed flotation assistance. Strong swimmers can still struggle against the large waves created by passing boats.

Your Dog’s Needs

Your dog is able to respond to commands. You packed all your gear. Now it’s just smooth sailing, right?

Well, hopefully. But you still need to monitor your dog as you cruise around the bay. Remember that a boat ride is a weird experience for your dog. One minute, the ground is stationary. The next minute, the ground is moving! The speed or noise of the boat can stress dogs out. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for signs of distress, like whining or pacing. To reduce your dog’s stress, take toys and treats along for the ride. This helps them associate used boats with fun!

For everything related to used boats, visit Master Marine. Check out our selection of used boats. If your boat isn’t running as smooth, take a visit to our parts replacement or service department. We proudly serve those in Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, Washington as well as Alaska.