They share everything with you from long walks, to car rides, to a warm bed. Your pets are a big part of your life. You reward their loyalty and unconditional love in every way you can, so why not share your love of yachting and the water with them?
There is absolutely no reason not to take your beloved pets with you on your luxury motor yacht. But, as you might imagine, there are some concerns and considerations to keep in mind, to make sure the voyage is enjoyable for all your guests, both the two-legged, and four-legged kind!
Before You Head Out
Before taking your dog or cat out on their maiden voyage, there are a few things you should be sure to do to ensure their safety.
- If you have not already, consider getting your pet microchipped. This will be very handy should they accidently jump ship and get lost in port somewhere. If you do not wish to have them chipped, at the very least, get an ID tag on them that contains: your boat’s permanent marina location and slip number, a phone contact for when you’re afloat, and another “land-based” phone number of a friend or relative.
- Get your pet a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) and get them used to wearing it. Admittedly this will be considerably more difficult for a cat, than a dog. Even though animals, even cats, are naturally good swimmers, they can panic just like humans if suddenly dunked in the drink. We recommend bright orange, which is easier to see, and preferably one with a handle so you can more easily grab a pet that may have fallen or been swept overboard. Consider keeping cats or smaller pets crated if you can’t get them to comfortably wear a PFD when on board.
- Believe it or not, pets, like their human counterparts, can and do get sea sick. Consider getting sea sickness medications from your vet before your voyage, just in case.
- Get your pets used to your yacht before the first time you take them out on it. Introduce them to it slowly, little by little while it is still docked. Give them an opportunity to walk around on board, and especially get used to the smells and sounds of the vessel.
- Most dogs are natural swimmers, practice swim and rescue drills with your dog while your boat is docked, train them to paddle to the yacht’s ladder or swimming platform, make it a fun game! For cats, this is impossible, but try to rig up some kind of “cat safety” line in advance, such as some carpet strips, or coiled hemp lines hanging off each corner of the your motoryacht, so a “cat overboard” has a place to easily climb back up onto the boat.
Other Considerations for Pets and Yachts
Animals love familiar spaces and places of their own, so consider a separate room onboard for your pets. Nothing says “you’ve arrived” more than if you dogs and cats have their own private stateroom on your luxury motor yacht! But, seriously, a designated space for your pets, will make them happier, and any trip with them that much easier.
Dogs and cats do not have the advantage of deck shoes. Fiberglass decks, especially when wet can be very slippery for them. Think about putting down some Astroturf mats or throw rugs to make it easier for them to get some traction.
Dehydration in the hot sun can be a problem for pets onboard your yacht. Animals are more susceptible to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and sunstroke, so be sure they have access to plenty of water, and pay close attention to their behavior and look for signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion such as heavy panting or little movement and fatigue.
Playtime and exercise are very important for your pets while onboard your yacht, particularly if you will be at sea for extended periods. Dogs in particular need to move around. Try to keep them entertained and having fun on board along with the rest of the guests!
Most marinas that can accommodate a luxury motor yacht are pet friendly, but it may be a good idea to research where you are heading, and make sure you dock at a pet friendly marina.
Oh, and finally, what about the potty? Here is the one place where it is easier to go to sea with your cats than your dogs. For Kitty, simply a securely anchored litter box will do the trick. I even know some yacht owners who have taught their cats to use the head on board!
It can be bit more challenging for your dogs. If you will not be docking often enough for your dog to do his business on shore, then some significant training may be in order. You can train your dog to “go” on a piece of sod. Some owners prefer a synthetic grass pad, as they are much easier to clean. Either way, you will have to get him used to that before you take him on board.
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.