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Yachting with Pets: How much is that bunny in the window?

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April 29, 2019

Great experiences are better shared, especially when you can share them with those you love, including your pets. We usually cruise with our two rescue dogs, Cagney and Lacey, known as the Beagle sisters, as well as our two rabbits Biscotte and Oscar.

Previously, our third bunny Ponponne would also travel with us, roaming freely in the boat, leading to sometimes comical situations like resetting the trim tabs when she would stretch out at the helm. This made me wonder why the boat was riding really high while underway, or when lounging in a stateroom window while we were at a dock-and-dine restaurant, and causing much confusion for the local police boat passing by.

Apparently, they cruised back and forth multiple times and eventually said in disbelief to the dockhand, “There is a rabbit on that boat.” The dockhand thought that was hilarious and told us so when we got back; we had to explain that, in fact, the police officers had seen it right, there really WAS a bunny lounging in the window!

There are of course some precautions you need to take when traveling with pets, especially when crossing borders, such as:

  1. Making sure you have the appropriate travel and veterinary documents for each destination
  2. Having enough pet food and any required medicines on board
  3. Having something onboard to ease the occasional bout of motion sickness
  4. Depending on the size and type of boat and the water and weather conditions, dog life jackets are also a smart safety precaution

Pets travel on all sorts of boats of all sizes, including superyachts. For example, the well documented travels of the Pugs owned by famous designer Valentino Garavani and the Pomeranians owned by Valentino Honorary President Giancarlo Giammetti. Catamarans, with little Dachshunds Stretch and SL, and sailboats, with gorgeous Collie Ulf enjoying his travels with his owners on board a sailboat in the Bahamas (follow their adventures on YouTube Channel “Sailing Uncertainty”).

We travel on a power boat with a relatively limited range, so when out on longer trips we have to make fuel stops. These provide a good occasion to take the dogs to shore and go for a walk. On other trips where we island hop or anchor out for longer periods of time, we use our dinghy to take the dogs to shore. I have also met people who have managed to teach their pets “to go” in a designated area of the boat, often on a piece of artificial turf lawn, for example, which is particularly useful when traveling longer non-stop distances on say long range explorers, trawlers, or sailboats.

Cagney and Lacey love hanging out on all the different areas of the boat, riding the dinghy, with the wind catching their ears, and picking up all kinds of wonderful smells in the air, and even hitching a ride on the paddle board.

While there are quite a few dogs traveling on boats, cats’ traditional dislike of water makes them a little less common. There are of course exceptions to that rule, including a number of social media star cats on boats. For example, Miss Rigby Boatkitty’s Instagram account, chronicling her adventures on board a sailboat with her “bastard crew”, has many followers, as does Bug Naked’s account, Captain Kate McCue’s sphynx cat who travels with her as she captains the world’s largest cruise ships!

Perhaps even more unusual is the story of Monique, the chicken who sails around the world with her owner Guirec Soudée.[1] Finally, if you travel the US East Coast you may also have come across the motorboat traveling with two dogs and a mini-pig. Of course, this piggy is not to be confused with the swimming pigs of the Bahamas, who often look like they would quite like to come on board!

Do you travel with your pets? Have you come across any unusual pets on your travels?

Follow my journey @yachtambassador

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