Here in New England, we take our boating, and our pets very seriously. Many of us see no reason not to combine the two. I know that I would not have spent nearly as much time boating, as much as a week at a time, if I could not have brought our German Shepherd Hillary with us on our boat. People often wonder about how difficult that might be, and for sure, it's not for everyone. On a boat youíll have a hose that pumps saltwater quickly over the deck, or anywhere else that you need to wash down, so dog hair really isnít an issue. Itís just so easy to wash it off in a matter of seconds with the high velocity of the seawater coming through the hose.
If you are staying out at sea overnight, you will have to allow your pet into the cabin area, and that is not quite so easy to clean up. A portable vacuum that runs off of the DC power of the boat handles the job, so long as you buy a good vac.
Having a dog as big as mine going to the bathroom on the deck would not be a good thing so you have to have some sort of portable boat, like a Zodiac or something to bring the dog onshore every 6-8 hours or so. We could not afford a nice big Zodiac with a motor on it, so as you can see in this photo, we were stuck rowing ashore to relieve the dog.
Itís ok, most of the shorelines that we visited were worth the trip to go see anyway and the dog needed time to lose her sea legs and get some real exercise. It all worked out.
Our dog LOVED fishing, probably because we started taking her as a pup but also because dogs are just natural born workers and love to be a part of your life no matter what that life is. Hillary would bark her head off as soon as we hooked up with a fish on the line so people always knew whether we were catching a lot or not. This I thought was convenient when Iíd go swimming in the Sound because if a fin should appear in the water, she would surely bark to warn me. It never happened so I didnít get to test that theory out. Whew.
She also insisted on softly mouthing every fish that we caught before it would be allowed to go into the live well. We called her ďthe fishing inspectorĒ since this was her self appointed job and she enjoyed it so much.
Here are some photos of the fishing inspector at work, our majestic land shark doing her jobs aboard ship.
I did use the term ďpetsĒ in the beginning of this article, so here are a couple more examples of the varied types of pets that I have seen onboard other boats. These photos were all taken at Menemsha, one of my favorite fishing villages on the island of Marthaís Vineyard here on the Cape.
Oh this is a bad one. Pigs are bad luck after all ! Perhaps I should have told them my GIP story, but that might have ruined their vacation so I kept it to myself.
Here is a gorgeous parrot that lived, or at least vacationed on a boat with this man, who is seen in this photo, retrieving his morning paper from the general store at Menemsha harbor. I am assuming that the bird was tethered in some way but thatís just a guess. I know nothing about birds or what it would take to have them on a boat. Iím thinking that you canít just row him ashore for potty services though, and the same with the pig, so Iíd pass on this.
So that is boating and pets New England style. You thought I was kidding didnít you? It is often done here. I have no idea what other parts of the country are like, but here we take em with us.
If you are vacationing here, be sure to ask the reservations desk if pets are allowed on privately rented boats. Private charters may well allow it but day-trip fishing charters are unlikely to permit pets.
People often ask me what photo scanner I use. The photos in this article were taken quite a long time ago, and on a not-so-great non-digital camera to begin with, so this photo scanner does a wonderful job.