Does My Dog Need a Life Vest or Jacket to Go Boating?

Thinking about taking the dogs boating this weekend? Dogs make great company when you are out enjoying the water since they love the outdoors. You have everyone’s life jacket ready to go from the kids to any extra guests so for safety’s sake your dog will need one too.  Not only will your dog look great he/she will be able to enjoy boating safely. When you are making a reservation with the Jax Boat Club make sure you are reserving one of the pet friendly boats we have in the fleet.

Up until now, dog jackets have been not rated by the U.S. Coast Guard, so it is up to the owner to do a bit of research and find the right product for their dog. Pet flotation devices basically act as flotation aids and lifting devices-as most devices have a handle found on the top of the flotation device.  If your dog falls overboard you will have a better chance of lifting him/her out of the water by using the handle.

Can’t All Dogs Swim?

You may feel like your dog is a fine swimmer but with boating you have other factors to think about. Deep water, strong currents, and large waves are among some of the challenges you may face while out boating with your dog. Even breeds that are natural swimmers could struggle when placed in a condition mentioned above.  Keep reading for some great recommendations on choosing the right life jacket.

Choosing the Right Jacket

The best advice on choosing a jacket is to try it on! Dogs come in so many shapes and sizes so it is highly recommended to try on a jacket with the features you are looking for.  The following website  has a lot of useful information concerning sizing, functions, pricing, and safety. You will also find the best features to look for when buying a dog jacket -what type of material, ease of use, handles, a good fit, and if the jacket has buckles and straps.

By Allie Hajjar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via  Wikimedia Commons

By Allie Hajjar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Before You Get on the Boat

Develop a plan in case your dog goes overboard.  Talk to your passengers ahead of time on who does what if the dog goes overboard.  Remember the waterways can be busy with boating traffic and it is imperative that the boat operator is focused on other boats as well as passenger safety. 

Most importantly, whether you’re boating with 4 leggers, 2 leggers, or both…be safe and have fun!