Six basic rules for taking your pet sailing
by Sail-World Cruising on 2 Sep 2013
There are regulations covering the crew and visitors on your sailing boat, but what about your seafaring pets? One veterinarian is appealing for folks who take their dogs on boats to prepare carefully and take care of pets adequately while boating.
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While USA Federal law, for instance, requires recreational boaters to have a sound producing device like a bell or air horn, flares, fire extinguisher, enough life jackets for every person on-board and a throwable flotation device, the Coast Guard also recommends for people to have a VHF-FM marine radio, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon(EPIRB), a dewatering device and a first aid kit. But what about the pets? Nothing.
'Whether they're on a lake, ocean or river, we hope they'll make sure to not only take their personal safety into consideration,' said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners, 'but also the safety of their furry companions.'
According to statistics released by the Coast Guard, even with all the human regulations about humans, every 2-and-a-half hours someone in the USA is killed or seriously injured in a boating accident. Last year alone, the Coast Guard responded to 19,790 search and rescue cases and saved 3,560 lives.
So, in addition to those safety requirements and suggestions, here are six basic precautions when boating with pets:
1. Make sure pets have an area on board the vessel where they can get out of the sun so they don't overheat.
2. Ensure pets have access to plenty of fresh, drinking water.
3. Pay attention to your pet, the movement of the boat can be quite a workout for them and could cause them to become fatigued or injured due to the constant movement and balancing they have to do.
4. If your pet has trouble swimming, purchase a floatation device(life-jacket) for your pet.
5. If your pet is going to go swimming, ensure there is an easy access point for them to get on and off the boat to prevent fatigue or injuries.
6. Make sure engines are not engaged while anyone or any pet is in the water nearby.