Dogs at Sea

blogsm350D_20110704_03313We’re often asked about dogs and boats so here goes… We take canine passengers regularly so please know that your dog would be very welcome but only you know whether or not a boat trip would be suitable for your dog.

Dogs take their cue from their humans so if the humans are happy on boats then dogs tend to be. However, the sea is an odd environment for them in that it’s not stable. Boats move up and down even in calm conditions, which will strike the average dog as rather strange. Decks can be slippery for paws and engines rumbling away may be disconcerting if you’re used to an ultra quiet car engine. On the plus side boats operate in fresh air and if our canine passengers are anything to go by the smells around Ramsey are very interesting, particularly in caves and around bird or seal colonies! We have some photos of dogs on board on our Facebook page here, which will give you some idea as to how it works. There’s a short video of a husky dog on one of our offshore trips on our YouTube page here.

Offshore trips are 3 hours long, inshore trips are 1 to 2 hours long. We regularly take dogs on the shorter inshore trips and they tend to love the smells and the breeze in their fur; they enjoy being with their people and getting to check out a new environment. While we have taken dogs occasionally on our longer offshore trips (very successfully) it’s not something we would suggest for a dog who hasn’t been on a boat before.

We don’t recommend boat trips for nervous dogs because everything is new for them and boats move quickly at times (all our trips also include moving slowly and drifting while watching the wildlife but in order to get somewhere we do need to travel quickly at times). We don’t recommend taking dogs in a lively sea either because they might not like it. A bouncy sea is great fun for people but dogs don’t understand what’s going on. Some are so relaxed that they sleep in their human’s arms if the human is sitting inboard but we would really recommend scheduling for good sea conditions – it does make a difference for dogs who are new to boats.

I have 35 kilos of golden retriever on my lap so I think it’s walk time…