Do a little research.
Call to make sure that wherever you're heading allows pets and ask about their policies, as many require that you keep them on a leash and don't leave them alone. Also, check with your boat insurance company to see if your pets are protected. With Progressive's Pet Injury coverage, your vet bills are covered up to $1,000 if your pets are hurt in a boat incident.
Get ID tags.
Outfit your pets with up-to-date ID tags with your cell phone number, marina address, and slip number. If there's room, consider including that you'll offer a reward for their safe return.
Bring their health records.
Bring along copies of your pets' health records and vaccinations. Some marinas and camping spots require this kind of documentation.
Prepare a doggie bag.
Pack a bag so you're prepared for anything. Stock it with things like cleaning supplies, a towel or travel bed so your pets have a place to sleep, portable bowls, food and water, a pet first aid kit, and lots of toys.
Assist their doggie paddle.
Fit your pets with a personal flotation device, or life jacket. Find one with a lifting handle to make it easy and safe to lift your pets from the water. Give them time on land to get used to wearing it.
Help them get their sea legs.
Gradually introduce your pets to your boat and the water. Give your pets a chance to explore their surroundings while the boat is docked. Turn on the engine so they get accustomed to its sound, smell, and feel. Take short cruises and gradually build up to longer trips.
Clear the deck.
Store away any potentially toxic or dangerous materials (e.g., cleaning materials, fuel, hooks, etc.).
Ramp it up.
Give your pets a helping hand with a ramp that helps them get on board and off, both from the dock and from the water.
Combat the sun.
Protect your pets from the heat by providing shade and plenty of water, and wash the deck with cool water to protect their paws.
Watch for wooziness.
If your pets are overly tired or disoriented, seasickness might be to blame. Some vets recommend giving them ginger or medications like Bonine® or Dramamine®. Ask your vet before giving your pets anything.
Prepare a potty.
If you can't make regular stops, make provisions so your pets can go to the bathroom on board. Bring your cat's litter box along. For dogs, you can buy a portable dog potty that simulates grass.