Sailing with Dogs

Farley waiting for the bonfire to start. But whose towel is he on? UPDATE: Sept 15, 2011 I bought Farley a collar that has a flashing red light on it. It gets dark on the beaches in the Bahamas and I like to see him when he’s running around off leash. Farley likes to attend beach bonfires, and this way he can wander on his own and I don’t need to repeatedly search for him.
UPDATE: Oct 6, 2011 It took me several hours to install the netting behind Farley on my catamaran. First I had to research the product, then order it, and finally install the netting. Was it worth the effort? You bet. Farley is safe when we are underway or when we are in a rough anchorage. If we are underway, he’s not allowed to go on deck without being tethered. The netting will stop him from an accidental slip overboard.
UPDATE: Oct 14, 2011 A harness is a must have for any cruising dog. Farley wears his most of the time. It’s part of his safety gear. If he falls overboard, I can pull him up with the harness. A collar would be too hard on his neck.  While cruising, Farley often needs to be hoisted onto a high dock, up a ladder,or  onto another boat, and the harness lets us easily to this without hurting him. (Oct 14, 2011
UPDATE: Oct 17, 2011: When Farley needs exercise, and there’s no where for a long run, I throw something for him. Here he is catching an apple I found on the ground near an apple tree. Later he ate part of it. Exercised and fed, how good is that?
Bahamas 2013: Farley often gets rid of excess energy playing on the beach. We're not sure exactly what he's doing, but he sure seems to be having fun.
Bahamas 2013: Farley often gets rid of excess energy playing on the beach. We’re not sure exactly what he’s doing, but he sure seems to be having fun.

UPDATE: April 2013: Farley learned to really swim this year. Up till now, he’s been a timid swimmer. On the plus side, it’s great exercise. On the down side – hmm, I can’t think of one.  In case you’re interested, he learned to swim by chasing other dogs in the water.

UPDATE: Nov 2012:  Last year I learned a couple of things about provisioning for Farley. 1. Bring one extra bag of dog food. It’s hard to get in the Bahamas, and if one gets wet and ruined, a backup is helpful. 2. Farley is prone to ear infections from salt water, so I brought extra ear cleaner. There aren’t many vets in the Bahamas, so it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m prepared.

UPDATE: June 2012: It’s time again to think about provisioning for Farley for next winter. Top of my list it toys. I’m remembering what worked last winter and what helped him socialize with other dogs. Things that float, can be chewed or thrown, are great to have on board.

April 2012 – Having the right toys makes cruising fun for your dogs.

UPDATE: Sep 7, 2011  Every dog is different, and Farley needs a medical kit specific to him. Each fall I meet with our vet in Canada, and he helps me prepare a kit for Farley. I’ve ordered his medication for the upcoming season (one more item off the check list).

Being offshore means Farley is dependent on me to take care of him if he gets hurt, so before leaving Canada on our first sail south, I attended a dog first aid course.

Accessing a vet in the US is easy. It’s once we get farther south and into the Bahamas that it becomes more difficult. There are vets in Nassau and Georgetown. The Explorer Charts list others in the Bahamas. Having a pet onboard is an absolute joy, but it does take work and preparation too!

Farley checking out a Bahamian anchorage.

UPDATE: Aug 31, 2011 Farley has received his permit to enter the Bahamas. I mailed in my application and received his papers. He is now ready, almost. to enter. Before we cross the gulf stream, he’ll need a certificate of health. Then he’s ready to be a Bahamian Dog for the winter.

Original Post April 8, 2011:

Farley is a 3-year-old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. He moved on board when he was 9 months old.

Dogs add an element of excitement to cruising. He needs his own visa and papers to enter the Bahamas.

Most dogs need a lot of exercise, and Farley gets his after spending twenty-six hours sailing. First thing after anchoring, we hit the beach at Fraser’s Cay, and Farley let it rip. Sand is always an issue on our boat. Lucky for us, Farley is a non-shedder.
After cutting his paw, Farley wears a soft cone. This is an easy to store product.
And then . . . when there’s been enough excitement he heads to his favorite spot to sleep.

When provisioning your boat don’t forget to bring your dog’s favourite toys and treats. If your dog sleeps in a dog bed, bring that too. Really, if you can fit it, bring whatever you regularly use at home. We bring spare leashes and collars, just in case . . . If you have any questions about cruising with a dog, feel free to send me a message. I’d be happy to share my experiences with you.

Farley’s Videos:

Farley Bobbing For Apples

Farley Digging For Crabs


13 thoughts on “Sailing with Dogs

    1. A cat first aid course is a great idea. Kristina took a dog first aid course before we went cruising. She takes care of any cut I have. She takes my temperature, which I hate. She knows how to put a muzzle on and she knows how to diagnose if I need a vet. I think she save my live by early diagnosis of Ehrilichia (like Lyme’s decease). She’s soooo nice to me. What kind of boat do you live on?


      1. Sorry I’m still very new to blogging, I’ve only just seen your reply! That’s really awesome, I’ll ask for some cat first aid awareness and a feline add on to the first aid kit! I split my time between my flat in Nice and my boat a Tayana 37 in Rome. I just added a page explaining all about my boat if you would like to see her! 🙂


  1. Farley looks like he has the best time of all. sweetm and very fun to follow as I have 2 dogs onboard myself.


    1. It’s wonderful having a dog on board. I’m guessing your poodle mix doesn’t shed, which is wonderful. Farley doesn’t either. Our outdoor shower gets used most by Farley. He gets a rinse every time we come back from the beach, and he gets lots of shampoos. Bring shampoo that’s easy on the skin if you plan to wash more than usual. Thanks for commenting and have a great time cruising.


  2. This is fabulous. Our friends often take their dog when we go kayaking, life vest and all. It adds a whole new element to the experience. Our own dog, a Border Collie/Lab mix, wants nothing to do with the water. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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