You’re planning your perfect sailing holiday and don’t want to leave your four-legged friend behind? Not to worry. We’ve put together all the information you need about sailing with cats and dogs in order to make your next sailing holiday an unforgettable experience for the whole family – human and otherwise. Because one thing is for sure: sailing with pets is not only possible, it’s fun!
Before you leave
Travel regulations for animals vary from country to country so make sure to inform yourself ahead of time about the necessary documentation as well as the regulations about animal quarantine in your chosen travel destination. It’s best to contact the local authorities for this information. If you’re traveling in Europe, for example, you will need a pet passport which needs to be signed by an officially approved veterinary surgeon. You should also make sure that your pet is microchipped, as this is a requirement in almost every country.
Take care to keep your pet’s vaccination record up to date and plan ahead if you think your pet might need additional vaccines. Sailing with pets is easily done but it’s advisable to start planning early, as vaccines and applying for documentation can take a while.
Before booking a boat for your sailing holiday, ask your charter agency whether they welcome animals on board or whether you need to plan with certain extra costs. Contact our team and we’ll find the right charter partners for you and your pet!
Safety on board
If your pet is active, and depending on weather conditions, it might be advisable to secure the outside of the boat with a net. Furthermore, cats and dogs should always wear life jackets on board (as should their owners, of course). You can also use a harness if it’s too warm outside for your animal to wear a vest. That way your pet will be more comfortable and you can still easily help it out of the water.
Steep steps or narrow jetties can become problematic when sailing with pets but we have some easy solutions for you to plan ahead. Nonslip rubber mats (like you would use for carpets) will make running up and down the steps a breeze for your animal. Make sure to pack a light carpet or a blanket that you can drape across narrow jetties – your dog will thank you.
Going to the toilet on the high seas can be especially tricky for dogs. Think about constructing a special dog toilet, like a patch of fake lawn or a cat toilet filled with sand. Try and acquaint your dog with this new technique at home, so it will feel comfortable from the minute it sets foot on board.
If you think this isn’t an option for your pet, plan shorter sailing trips of around 3-5 hours so that your dog can comfortably go on land. Even though cats have it significantly easier, please remember that you should place the cat toilet below deck where it is more stable.
Sun protection and sea sickness
Animals can get sea-sick on a sailing holiday, just like us humans. Make sure that there are always enough shaded areas on board for your pet to take rest, and that there is always fresh water available. It’s easier on your pets stomach if you halve food portions. There are many remedies available (even from human medicine) should your four-legged friend still become sick. Ask your favourite vet about putting together a little first-aid kit!
Further tips for sailing with pets
Playing on the beach and in the water can be a real treat, especially for dogs. But remember that even on board, when the rest of the family is relaxing in the sun, your little one shouldn’t be allowed to get bored. So pack enough toys and make sure that your pet is always occupied.
Create a little personal corner on the boat where your cat or dog can feel safe if they want to relax during your sailing holiday. Put some blankets or toys from home in this corner, so that your pet will feel as comfortable as possible.
The blog Bailey Boat Cat chronicles Bailey Blue’s daily life on board a boat by the Italian coast.
On the blog Lahowind you will find great stories about the sailing adventures of poodle mix Oliver. The pictures are stunning!
Set sail and make your next sailing holiday an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Do you have experience with sailing with pets or do you have more sailing tips that you want to share? Let us know in the comments!