Pet Travel: Traveling by Boat with your Pet

Dog on a boatAhoy pet travelers! With summer in full swing and Labor Day around the corner, what better way to enjoy this hot weather than with a boat trip? Whether you?re cruising on a ship, yacht, or kayak don?t forget your dog would love to join you if it?s permitted. So grab your pet, your water gear and follow these tips for some pet friendly summer boating fun!

Things to consider pre-voyage:

There are a few things to consider before hitting the water with your pet. If you?re pet has never been around water or a boat, try introducing it to them slowly. Give your pet a chance to discover the boat while it is docked or on the trailer. Before untying, start up the engine and see how your pet reacts. Give them treats to support good behavior. Once your dog or cat is seaworthy, start off on small trips and work your way to longer boat rides.

Make sure your pet?s identification includes your updated information, your local marina?s address and phone number, as well as dock slip number if available.

Things to consider while boating:

Have a pet flotation device on hand. Let your pet try it on around the house before hitting the water. Remember in case of an emergency this could save your pets life.

Pets can get sunburned! Especially the ears, paws and nose are very susceptible to sunburns. Most children sunscreens will be safe for dogs but we recommend contacting your vet for a list of options.

Bring plenty of water and provide shade on the boat. Remember that dogs do not sweat. Signs of overheating include heavy panting and drooling. Creating shade on the boat will help reduce the chances of your pet overheating. If your dog plans on getting in the water, provide drinking water prior. Salt or brackish water isn’t good for your pet and could possibly make them sick.

Things to consider when it?s time to go ashore:

Check ahead before arriving on shore. Remember some marinas, wildlife areas and parks do not allow pets.

Leash your pet prior to docking. Although your dog might be the most lovable harmless pooch in the world, not everybody is a pet lover. Also, dogs can get antsy during the docking process. This will help curb some of the excitement.

Always keep a copy of vaccination and health records on hand. Some destinations (especially if you?re traveling internationally) will require proof of immunizations.

Traveling by boat with your pet is a great way to spend quality time outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather. With a little preparation (and some sunscreen!) you?ll be ready to hit the water with your furry first mate.

More information on pet travel by boat here.


Pet Travel: Traveling by Boat with your Pet — 60 Comments

  1. Marynka – we wish we had information for you; however, we do not know of any option to relocate a dog from Australia to Chile (or other location) by water. If other pet owners have info, please post!

  2. Hi, we live in Perth, Western Australia, and will be relocating to Chile in early 2020. We have a bulldog, being a snub nosed breed, airlines are reluctant to take the risk of flying them internationally.
    Just wondering if there’s any suggestions for ways of possibly taking him there by water instead?

    Any information, suggestions or real life experience is appreciated

  3. RJ – we are not aware of a commercial vessel that is “pet friendly” other than the QM2 which sails between NYC and the UK. Driving would be possible; however there are a lot of countries to pass through and they all have their own pet import regulations. You can find information about a private charter here and a table with estimates of prices: It is not inexpensive to charter a private jet; however it is quite an experience. As for flying commercially, millions of dogs do that each year. In our opinion, the best thing you can do for your pets is to get them high-quality crates like those found here: and get your dogs acclimated to their crates. If you think you will have a problem with acclimation, there is a great article here: All the time and effort you take doing that will pay off.

  4. Hello,
    My family and I (including 3 large dogs) are considering a move from the US to Chile. I am very scared to fly them via a commercial airline. Previously, I have refused to do so, even driving miles out of the way to avoid it. Is it possible to travel from the US to South America by sea? If not, what are my other options? How do I find a charter flight and how much do they cost?

  5. Lucie – because Australia is an island, you only options for transporting your dogs are by air and by sea. Because your dogs are too big to fly in the cabin, they must fly in the cargo hold if they are flying on a commercial airline. Another option would be a private charter; however, that would be pretty expensive. We wish we had options by sea, but we do not. You may be able to find a private boat that would get your dogs to the mainland. We do not have offices in Australia; but you can inquire to a local transporter by searching for one at

  6. Hi,

    We are considerrimg to relocate from Brisbane, Australia to Czech Republic, Europe.

    We have a one and a half year old daughter and two large dogs. I can not imagine sending them on a flight in a cage without seeing us and not knowing what is happening I worry it would be too hard on them flying over 30 hrs with stopovers.

    Is there any ship that would take us all together over to Europe, I realize it would take a month or longer but being together is the main point for us right now.

    Thank you so much for any adviceor direction.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.