A Dog-Friendly Boat

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

Got a boat dog?  A few simple things will help them be more sure footed on the boat. Help them feel comfortable and avoid injuries.

A couple years ago, when we stayed aboard Beagle Knot, a Lagoon 380 catamaran, I learned something new about making a boat dog-friendly.

You see, Beagle Knot has an all-fiberglass cockpit, contrary to all the teak that we had on Que Tal.  At first, I didn’t really think about the non-skid mat that Donna had in corner of the cockpit that led to the transom steps that we used all the time.  I figured it was there to keep from tracking so much sand into the cockpit area and bridgedeck.

Then we removed it when rinsing down the cockpit . . . and didn’t put it back in place immediately.  All of a sudden I had two dogs asking for help in going up and down.  Oops, it seems that the slick fiberglass is just to slippery for them to feel comfortable jumping either up or down!

I quickly put the mat (basically, a “welcome mat” with a rubber back) back in place and both dogs were back to running around on their own.

Got a boat dog?  A few simple things will help them be more sure footed on the boat. Help them feel comfortable and avoid injuries.

While both dogs were comfortable walking around on the non-skid that was molded into the fiberglass, neither one was secure when it came to either jumping up or down.  They both needed more traction!

LaDonna later confirmed that yes, that mat and another at the threshold between the bridgedeck and cockpit (with maybe a 6″ lip) were both there for Baguette, their dog.

Both Baguette and Paz are fairly small and that may have something to do with their need for the mats (they’re jumping about 3 times their own height).

But if you’ve got a dog on board — or are in the planning stages — it’s a good reminder to think not just about your footing on the boat, but also theirs.  In addition to mats, you could also use non slip stickers designed for the shower to improve footing in a small area or perhaps on a step — we used them on our dinghy as Paz loved to ride on the bow:

Got a boat dog?  A few simple things will help them be more sure footed on the boat. Help them feel comfortable and avoid injuries.

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  1. Happy Birthday Paz! We are bringing my two dachshunds sailing in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving for 10 days. Doing a lot of research to hopefully turn them into good little sailing wieners. 🙂

  2. Happy Birthday Paz! Can’t believe it’s been 10 years since s/v Que Tal & Winterlude met in Antigua Guate & we met Paz the chick magnet for the first time! See you soon!

  3. Happy birthday Paz!!! :)))))

  4. Happy Birthday Paz! We just rescued a Bichon Frise from Ft. Meyers on Thursday. He is 2-3 years old and we named him SAILOR! He will be our boat dog on our 35 Catalina Sailboat 🙂

  5. rubber doggy boots

  6. Our trawler has steps everywhere. Listening to the old lab whine about trying to use the stairs was no fun. I found “clear” no skid tape at West Marine and both dogs have been very grateful!

  7. Works very well boat kitties too!

  8. Another option I’ve used on our boat is to cut up yoga mats – not the slick kind but the good ones that stick to slippery surfaces. We used to roll a long one on the cabin sole out for our elderly golden so she’d have footing while we’d be underway.

  9. Hi…
    I’m thinking of retiring to a houseboat…but I have 4 dogs! Three chihuahuas and a Doxie. Am I crazy or what? Is it possible?

    • It’s certainly do-able, expecially as houseboats tend to be larger than most sailboats. I know several people with 3 dogs aboard. It helps that yours are small breeds . . . and a houseboat won’t have any big flights of steps to get them up and down. You can do it!

      • Thanks for your reply. Now…I’m afraid of restrictions at docks or slips where I would be staying/living. Any known laws, rules on them or some…?

  10. Don’t forget a doggy dock so they can go for a swim!

  11. Darla

  12. How about this one my love Brittany Mcmanus

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