How To Take Pets Sailing
Yachting Monthly|August 2020
How To Take Pets Sailing
Taking cats and dogs to sea needs extra thought on a cruising yacht, explains Erin Carey
Erin Carey

Whether it’s a spilt litter tray, pet passports or dogs overboard, sailing with furry friends can be a challenge, but since a pet is often an integral member of the family, leaving them at home is simply not an option for some. When we got a kitten, I spoke to past and present cruisers to find out the realities of living on the water with a pet, to ensure our upcoming voyage was memorable for all the right reasons.

MOVEMENT AROUND THE BOAT

Whether the pet or the boat comes first, there are several considerations to keep in mind when it comes to reconciling the two to each other. Moving between above and below decks on a monohull can be tricky; modern yachts tend to have less vertiginous companionways and bathing platforms aft but older yachts often have a companionway with five or six near-vertical steps, smaller living spaces and a lack of easy access to the water. These design features can present problems for those sailing with large dogs, especially if you are unable to lift them regularly. A plank with rungs is one solution for making a steep companionway climbable while adding marine carpet to your companionway steps might help by providing more grip.

SAFE SPACE

Creating a safe space during rough weather on both tacks requires a bit of forethought. A bed that will keep them secure is vital; a simple crate with padded lining, the footwell beside your bunk lined with cushions, or a saloon settee with a lee cloth would all work for dogs. Cats will naturally find hidey-hole to hunker down in at sea.

SAFETY ON DECK

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August 2020