Simpson Marine Search Yachts
19th May 2023

Yacht Chartering with Pets: Tips for Bringing Your Furry Friends on Board

Those of us who have the pleasure of sharing our lives with pets of one kind or another know all too well how hard it can be to leave them behind during holidays and trips away. And there are some trips where it simply isn’t feasible to bring them along, but a private yacht charter is not one of them. With some careful planning, extra considerations and supplies, there is no reason why you cannot share the experience of a lifetime aboard a luxury yacht with your furry friend. 

In this article, we will look at some of the things you need to bear in mind and how to care for pets on board when embarking on this kind of exciting adventure. Certain factors will determine whether your pet will be able to sail the beautiful oceans and seas with you. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Starting location
  • Length of voyage
  • Charter company rules/regulations
  • Suitability of your chosen vessel
  • Medical factors
  • Size and temperament of the animal 
  • Insurance 


If you plan to start your incredible yacht charter in a country with a long mandatory quarantine period for your pet, it might be more upsetting for all involved to bring them along. This is especially true with relatively short trips, as the stress and disruption to the animal will probably last longer than the journey itself. However, if you plan to spend weeks or months relaxing, floating atop crystal waters, it may be worth the effort. Use your best judgement and seek the advice of your charter reps. Any quality charter company like Simpson Yacht Charter will have years of experience in all aspects of sailing and be able to give you the very best advice possible. 

Can your pet handle the trip?


Only you can know the true temperament of your pets and how they will handle the upheaval involved in a sailing trip. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your understanding of your pet, your ability to control them, and your judgement of their character and how well they will tolerate the disruption. 

Inform your charter company you wish to bring pet


It is crucial to speak to your charter company in advance if you wish to bring pets along. They may have specific vessels more suited to welcoming animals and there are other factors such as cleaning and potential damage to take into consideration. 


Sailing with dogs


To some of us, there is nothing more pleasing than the thought of treating our dogs to the adventure of their lives, whisking them across the emerald seas to a host of exciting places. And it is a dream not beyond reach with some careful forethought of their needs. 

Smaller dogs are more easily housed and can be caged or carried during boarding and other key moments. They are also able to exercise in confined spaces and are probably the easiest pets to incorporate into life aboard the ocean waves. However, that is not to say larger dogs are out of the question, by any means. Well-behaved, calm animals that can handle uncertainty and potential anxiety are just as capable of enjoying time aboard and can often be less easily stressed than tiny dogs. 

Things to consider before embarking on any sailing trip with your favourite canine:

  • Dogs need to be exercised and may become antsy or boisterous if this is not frequent or long enough
  • Play periods are essential in keeping dogs happy and entertained
  • Sleep is equally important and should be facilitated 


When dogs learn they will be allowed to explore thrilling new places each time you drop anchor, they will often wait patiently and quietly for the next period of excitement. Rewarding them frequently for good behaviour is key to everyone’s enjoyment but, of course, this is something each animal and their owner will experience differently.


Sailing with cats


Cats can be less demanding than dogs in many ways but are less flexible in others due to their inherent nature. As with all pets, personalities play a huge part in their suitability for spending time in strange surroundings, particularly on board a yacht. Generally, cats tend to prefer the comfort of their own, familiar environments and dislike change and unpredictability. Free-roaming cats will be especially irritated by the loss of freedom and it may be simpler to find a trusted friend, relative, or cattery to watch over them while you take your trip.


Medical tips for pets


Our pets can get seasick and sunburned just as we can and are also susceptible to all manner of tropical afflictions. Any negative situation can be exacerbated if they feel unduly stressed when existing outside of their comfort zone. There are some steps you can take beforehand and others during the trip to prevent serious issues and ease any suffering that occurs. 

  • Carry animal-friendly seasickness tablets
  • Only give small portions of food before long periods afloat 
  • Provide fresh water at all times
  • Arrange all necessary vaccinations beforehand
  • Administer tablets to prevent ticks and fleas
  • Carry appropriate painkillers and antibiotics 
  • Cold blankets/pads can be refrigerated and used to help lower temperature for comfort


Other considerations for pets on board


Decks can be slipperyThe vessel may require customisation if it is not already designed to cater to furry friends. Simple rubber strips on steps and other problem areas can go a long way towards helping them feel secure and safe.

Nets can save the day – When placed around railings, nets are a great way to catch animals who accidentally (or deliberately) go overboard.

Animal lifejackets are a must – They can save your pet’s life if they do fall in and have handles on the back, allowing you to fish them out of the water more easily if they do.

Bad weather is unavoidable – Pets should be leashed somewhere dry if possible, away from any frantic activity during periods of heavy weather or waves. Their distress can be kept to a minimum this way, making them less likely to be in the way or be washed overboard.

Toilet-training – Cats can generally be encouraged to use litter boxes when on board, as it is reasonably familiar to them but dogs are a more challenging proposition. They will quickly view the vessel as their floating ‘home’ and be disinclined to relieve themselves there. Litter boxes and ‘pee-pads’ can be useful, especially for puppies, but might be a bridge too far for older pooches. Feed them less before long stretches on the water and be prepared to seek land regularly. 

We hope this article has given you food for thought and some useful tips on how to care for pets on board your luxury yacht charter. It may seem fraught with issues and potential problems at times but that needn’t be the case if you plan ahead and keep an open mind. In fact, it really can represent the ultimate in bonding with your beloved animal friends as you experience the trip of a lifetime together. 

Contact Us


Simpson Yacht Charter has been specialising in all aspects of yachting throughout Asia since 1984 and has a reputation for the highest-quality services, the most incredible vessels, and unmatched depth of expertise and knowledge. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments and our professional, experienced team will be only too happy to help in any way they can.

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