Federal law requires recreational boaters to have a sound-producing device like a bell or air horn, flares, fire extinguisher, enough life jackets for every person on-board and a throwable flotation device. The Coast Guard also recommends for people to have a VHF-FM marine radio, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), a dewatering device and a first aid kit.
In addition to those general safety requirements and suggestions, veterinarians from BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend these basic precautions when boating with pets:
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are life-threatening to both people and pets. Make sure everyone, including your pets, has access to a shaded area on the vessel to get out of the sun so they do not overheat.
Pets need access to ample fresh drinking water when on a boat to keep their body temperature in the normal range.
Give your pets a break by pulling them into your lap or giving them a secure spot to lie down. Being on board can be tiring, especially for older pets, due to the movement of the boat. Your pet may become fatigued and, therefore, susceptible to injury due to the constant movement and balancing they have to do.
If your pet has trouble swimming, consider purchasing a life jacket or other pet-safe floatation device.
If your pet is going to go swimming, ensure there is an easy access point for him or her to get on and off the boat to prevent fatigue or injuries. And always stay close to your pet while in the water.
Make sure engines are not engaged while people or pets are in the water.