Welcome to Pets Aboard! Chesapeake Bay Magazine's page devoted exclusively to our cruising critters of the Chesapeake.

Add your seafaring pet to the Pets Aboard gallery:

• Send a photo (or several) of your four-legged cruising mate to [email protected]. Include all the information you like, including your pet's name, your name, your boat's name and type, and where you and your pet(s) enjoy cruising.

• Share your stories about cruising with your pet with our readers. Where does your pet stay when the going gets rough? What's your pet's favorite cruising spot? Silly, serious, or informative-tell us your "tail."

Email [email protected] or write Pets Aboard!, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, 601 Sixth Street, Annapolis MD 21403.


This is Ms. Maggie and she loves cruising the Magothy River and Bay waters aboard her Albemarle 24.

Her People: Scott McGregor and Brie Collard of Frederick, MD.


Skyler, our Rhodesian Ridgeback (a.k.a. Lionhound) aboard our appropriately named Cruisers 3575 "Lionhound" at Kings Creek Marina in Cape Charles, Virginia. Kings Creek and Cape Charles are Skyler's and our favorite cruising destination.

Enjoy the Bay, John, Gail and Skyler


Sally, our Rhodesian Ridgeback standing watch at the helm station aboard our Cruisers 3575 while in port.

Enjoy the Bay, Gail and John

Koko & YumYum

Little princesses KoKo and YumYum aboard m/v Growltiger. Homeport, LaTrappe Creek


Larry is a 10 year old rescue dog. He is living the dream in Crisfield, Md. He loves his 19 foot Mako, which is docked at his house near Jones Creek, a tributary of the Big Annemessex River. His crew members are Mark and Irene. Larry is always on high alert for fish and crabs. Larry loves the water.

Jake the Cat

Meet "Sailor" Jake, our almost 19 year old Siamese cat. He has been cruising with us for about 18 of those years ranging from our original homeport of Newburyport, MA downeast to Searsport, ME and south into Long Island Sound. Now home ported in Cambridge, MD he has been aboard from Havre de Grace to Albemarle Sound, NC. Most of his and our cruising is now limited to the Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries.

This picture was taken in May '14 in Dun Cove, Tilghman Island. When underway he stays below in the cabin, usually in the v-berth, but when anchored, moored or in a slip he has the run of the boat and does several laps around the deck every afternoon for exercise. He has been the best sea gull and tern protection we've ever had.

Fair Winds and no following seas,
Mary & Jim Campbell
s/v South Wind
Island Packet 32


Our dog Mitchell loves sailing or just hanging out on "his" sailboat Marlee at the Yankee Point Marina in Lancaster, VA.

From Lee Dale

Maggie & Woody

This is Summer, Maggie and Woody enjoying a relaxing day aboard our Stingray "Salty Paws", at Sue Creek.

From Jill Reyes

Winnie & Lizzy:

Winnie and Lizzy aboard CLOVER leaving Cather Marine, Colton Point MD August 17, 2013. Looking forward to a visit to St. Clements Island in the Potomoc River.

From Fred Millhiser

Nala Enjoys the Ride!

This our dog Nala on a cruise from Breezy Point to Smith Island in our Scout Abaco 242.  She is not that fond of the boat but seemed to be enjoying it this time.  She stayed in this position looking out over the stern at the bay for a good part of the two hour ride.

From Dennis Raulin

Boating Border Terriers:

Jake is 4 and Kimi is a year and a half. In the first picture, Jake is "driving" the Kingfisher. The other is at Lake Lure, NC this summer "navigating" a paddle boat with my wife Sharon and three of our grandchildren - Owen, Luke and Maria.  Whenever the paddle boat would leave shore without Jake he would swim out to catch the boat so he could ride along. 

This picture is Jake (left) and Kimi (right), enjoying the day on our 27 foot Harbercraft Kingfisher called Coast2Coast.  We live and boat on the York River near Gloucester, VA.
From John Watts

Bo Duke:

We rescued Bo Duke from the local SPCA here on the Eastern Shore of VA. He is a 3 year old male lab mix with a purple tongue who absolutely loves cruising on the boat, kayaking, and paddleboarding. We regularly take him out on Onancock Creek (as seen in the paddleboarding photo) and paddle to our favorite beach spot at Ware Point. He has better balance than his owners on the board and has never fallen off! Crab pot floats must be avoided while paddling with him because they are his favorite toys and he will jump off to attempt to retrieve them!
We encourage your magazine to give a shout out to local shelters and SPCAs in the Bay watershed! From our experiences always owning rescue dogs, they seem to have amazing character and are extremely appreciative of getting a chance at living life on the Bay!
From Curt, Sara, and Bo Duke Smith
Onancock, VA

Dave & Karla Scanlan's Yellow Lab:

Our 7 yr old yellow Lab, NothingToMeNow Fredo Scanlan, on our boat called the Special K, which is an Osprey Fisherman. 

We live at Grandview on the Bay which we purchased in 1998 and ever since have been exploring the joys of Mathews County, home to the 3rd oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay and over 200 miles of shoreline! Fredo simply loves cruising on Mobjack Bay and the East River past the last of the Chesapeake Bay Country's tide mills.  He's in heaven with the wind in his face...and even more so when it's swim time!

Chessie in the Bahamas:

Chessie is a half lab half golden retriever from Annapolis. This fall she navigated the ICW from Annapolis to Miami on a Tartan 30 where she waited for a weather window to cross the stream. Now after 2 months in the islands she is headed north for the summer with Ted Hale an Maggie Lumkes.

Captain Seaweed:

This Newfoundland's name is Captain Seaweed and this is how we had to get him from the dinghy into the main boat, or out of the water when he went swimming.
The sailboat as a 33' Hunter named "In Deep" that we docked in Havre deGrace and sailed throughout the upper Chesapeake bay.
From Barry Bauman. The girl in the picture is Barry's daughter, Khrystina Bauman.

Stella, from William Linaberry:

This is a picture of our lab mix Stella. She is relaxing at the stern of our 45' Sea Ray, Wave Alert Too, as we cruise down the Miles River. She is fearless walking up and down the gunnels as we travel at full speed. On hot days she plunges off the swim platform into the bay to cool off. She is a courageous member of our crew that we couldn't do with out.

Cooper, from Kevin Cross:

Here is a picture of my dog Cooper aboard my fishing boat. This picture was taken on the James River near Richmond. Cooper loves to be on the boat and will hop right on the front so he can be the first to see whatever lies ahead.

Mickey, a boating Cairn Terrier, from Pam Sowell:

I hope you enjoy these pictures of our cairn terrier Mickey. He loves being on our boat and of course being the center of attention!

First day on the boat. On the way home from picking up our new family member, Mickey, we stopped by the boat to make sure he knew all about it and was introduced to the boating life early.

This is a picture of our cairn terrier, Mickey and our two granddaughters. We were putting on their jackets, getting ready for a day on the water, but something caught their eye on the dock behind the boat. They couldn't resist taking a look, and I couldn't resist snapping this picture. Mickey had just graduated from a smaller life jacket to this next size which was a little big for him but he didn't seem to mind!

This was taken on the deck of our boat while waiting for the fireworks to begin at James Creek Marina, Washington DC.

Mickey at Aquia Harbor for the End of the Summer Cruise.

Lizzie the aspirant tug boat captain, from James & Pamela Hoffman:

Lizzie, our Dachshund, is 11 months old. We picked her up at 8 weeks from a very loving family in Elizabeth City, N.C., and the first place she spent the night with us was on our boat. We own a 1993 Cruisers 3675 Esprit Express and a 19' Swan Point center console, both of which we keep at Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, Maryland. Our cruises are all up and down the Chesapeake Bay area, whenever and as often as possible. There is absolutely no reason to think that we will be leaving without Lizzie in hand. I have raised or had Dachshunds off and on for a big part of my life, but have never seen a dog as wild over the water as she. Underway, she is right in the middle of it all, and when she grows up she wants to be a tug boat captain or a cruise boat captain. (Hope she makes it!!) She has brought more smiles and laughs to us than can ever be imagined, especially when she hits the sandy beach. Then she is really out of control. You can tell how much she loved boating by the SMILE on her face.

Lizzie on our dock in Crisfield her first day as part of our family.

Lizzie LOVES boating in Crisfield!

Maggie the Lab, from Jill and Andy Reyes:

This is our Lab Maggie onboard our Stingray "Salty Paws." She can be found most weekends swimming in Sue Creek, Middle River, and Hart Miller Island.

Chum, at Ganeys Wharf on the Choptank River, from Chris Gill:

This is our dog Chum enjoying a guided kayak tour of the upper Choptank River where we live. Even though she looks quite regal, her "eats everything" lab tendency is showing with the piece of seaweed hanging out of her mouth.

These two were taken last summer when Chum was a pup. My husband John was teaching her how to retrieve and the second is our son Zach taking Chum for a paddle. Again, both on the Choptank at Ganeys Wharf.

Some fan photos recently added to our CBM Facebook page:

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup - Carneys Point, NJ - napping at Cabin John Cove, MD.
From Linda and Alan Gerace >>

Our Rottie, Benelli, on board the Skippers One at Weavers Marine in Essex, MD.
From Kelly Klinedinst Skiptunas >>

Our Rottie puppy, Thompson, watching the seagulls on board the Skippers One at Weaver's Marine.
From Kelly Klinedinst Skiptunas >>

Lola aboard Brandywine
From Mark Cline >>

Ruby in the dink!
From Elizabeth D'Wolf >>

Shelby having fun at Northumberland Plantation, VA.
From Beverly Beavers >>

Angel & Molly : Living the Good Life on St. Leonard Creek

Ann Femina writes:

These are our golden retrievers-Angel, 7 years old, and Molly, 2 years old. They love to go for boat rides on St. Leonard Creek in Calvert County. We use a ramp to help them onto the boat from the pier. As soon as they see that ramp come out of the boat shed they go crazy. We usually cruise to a sandy beach and let them play and swim at the beach. Angel uses the ski platform to slither into the water, but Molly takes a graceful leap from the back seat. They each use the ski platform to climb back into the boat.

They love their life on the water. For Molly, it's quite a departure from the start she had. She is a rescue from a puppy mill, where she spent the first 8 months of her life. She was going to be a breed dog. By a lucky turn of events she landed in a golden retriever rescue and subsequently into our lives. Angel was already an old pro at savoring the good life, and she has helped Molly evolve into the spoiled dog she is today. Molly still has some trust issues and anything new scares her, but she watches Angel and takes her cues from her.

If Molly could talk I think she'd say that living on the water and going for boat rides is way better than life in a puppy mill.

Pictured here, Molly and Angel aboard, playing in the water with owner Jim Littleton and living the good life on the Bay (that's Molly all smiles in the rear).

Frankie loves boating!

This is Frankie, the Minnick family's 20-month-old lab-plott hound mix. Frankie joined the family from a shelter in December 2007. Frankie has a beautiful brindle coat and a sweet lab face. Frankie and the rest of the Minnicks live in Frederick, Md., and boat out of Podickory Point on their Grady White Offshore.

Initially, in the summer of 2008, Frankie was tentative on the boat, but quickly realized it was the best time to be had on four legs on the entire planet. Now, Brooks Minnick says, Frankie loves to run and play on Dobbins Island and at Broad Creek, and to sneak treats while tethered to a back table at Waterman's. His favorite Bay toy is a stick firmly attached to an old crab pot float, which he leaps into the water for time after time. Frankie has also become comfortable with launching himself off the 3-foot-high gunwale anytime anyone from the boat jumps in to go swimming. He's a true water dog.

Frankie wears a harness when he's on the boat, which makes it easier to help him up onto the swim platform when he returns to the boat. Anybody got a good design on a puppy swim ladder?

Meet Beans of Sunchaser

Owner Kelly Chase writes:

"When we first got Beans, my Dad (John Chase) was upset that we came home with a dog, but by summer time, when we brought Beans out on the boat, Dad began to really love our dog. Now, my dad would never leave the house without our dog. He even bought a dinghy for Beans, that he now calls The Beaner Boat.

"Beans enjoys traveling to Fairlee Creek and Whortons Creek. When we are underway, Beans tends to fall asleep to the hum of the engines. When we arrive at out destination, Beans is always eager to jump into the dinghy and go for a ride or go swimming! We have a 42-foot Regal named Sunchaser.

Snook Beaulieu of Eastport

Here is Snook, who boats out of Eastport, Annapolis. Snook's owners, Chris and Debbi Beaulieu rescued Snook in 2002, and she took to boating, fishing and lounging after her first day on the boat! She will be approximately 9 years old this October and is staying young and fit by swimming in the Bay.

Nate and Koko on NautiDog

Nate and Koko have been boating on the NautiDog since they were 8 weeks old. The NautiDog is a 46-foot Chespapeake charter-boat style boat outfitted for family use. The NautiDog's homeport is Solomons, Md., at Spring Cove Marina.

Owner Sally Bibro says Koko, on the left, is in charge of boat security, and Nate specializes in all manner of boating ball games: ball overboard, ball in the bilge, etc.

Lucy the Ship's Puppy

Here is Lucy on her first sail. Lucy is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the ship's dog for Bill Glossner's Carpe Ventum. Lucy, Bill, family and friends sail out of the Magothy River. Lucy was 3 months old at the time of these pictures. She didn't know what to make of this sailing thing, so she decided to sleep most of the trip.

Klondike plays it cool

This is Klondike, Troy and Renee Bardwell's 90-pound yellow lab mix. Klondike loves to anchor in coves where he can swim and chase after all the ducks. The Bardwells' 1999 30-foot Wellcraft "Martinique" Cabin-Cruiser Let It Go accommodates Klondike with a custom swim platform and plenty of room in the air-conditioned galley for resting on those really hot summer days.

When the Bardwells, who boat out of Rock Hall, first got Klondike from the pet rescue, all their friends told them that he'd just love their boat and the water. But the first few times he was aboard, they had to get in the water and float treats and cookies to coax him in. After a few unsuccessful times out, he finally went for the bait. Now the only way they can get him out of the water is with more treats and cookies.

"Whoever said that pets are a lot smarter than the owners, were absolutley right!" the Bardwells say.

CJ's Story

by Ted Tait

Nine years ago this summer, I was in Rehoboth Beach for the weekend. While browsing the shops, I came across a clothing shop. Outside, tied to a fence post was a young Golden Retriever, with a sign that said "please give me a good home." He was a quiet thing, and not very energetic considering his young age, but very sweet. Getting a dog was the last thing on my mind for this trip, or at all for that matter. I didn't even know if the hotel I was staying at would allow a dog, so I decided to sleep on it.

That night, my dreams were full of puppies. My unconscious had decided for me. If he was still there today, I would take him back home to Washington with me. Indeed, he was still there. I went inside to talk to the owner, a young kid who said he lived in a place where he was not allowed to have dogs. I offered to take him. The kid obviously loved him, but was not prepared to take proper care of him. He agreed to let me have him, and asked where my leash was! I said, "You don't have a leash for him?". Obviously the answer was no.

So a quick walk down the street to one of the little beach town specialty shops for a handmade, fancy $20 leash. This dog was off to a pampered start from me! The young boy gave me some of the dog food he had been feeding him-it was sample packs of adult dog food, and they looked rather old and stale. No wonder this puppy was a bit skinny not very energetic, he wasn't getting a proper diet.

My new dog hopped into the back of the car, along with the luggage, and we headed back to D.C. He stared out the back of the hatchback the entire way, as if taking a last look at his old home. I decided to call him CJ, which he quickly responded to. After some proper food and visits to the vet for a few minor issues, he perked up nicely.

That same summer, I bought my first boat. CJ didn't always enjoy the noise and vibration of the engine, but he loved going swimming, and still does. Getting CJ was one of the most spontaneous decisions I have ever made. It has also proved to be one of the best. He has a knack for reading moods and trying to do what I ask of him. He took to house training quickly, and manages on the boat just as well. On land he prefers to be let off the leash to do his business up in the woods near our home. I release him and say GO, and off he runs.

Two summers ago, we were on one of our many boating vacations. During this two-week trip, it rained nearly every day. You might remember that summer of flooding everywhere. Although some friends were concerned with us being on a boat in all the rain, I did explain that with everything flooded, at least I was safe floating above it all in the boat. We stuck to marinas on the stormier days. But one evening promised to be less trouble than most, and we decided to anchor out. But it was still a bit drizzly, and taking CJ to shore in the dinghy really felt like a chore that night. Instead I got a bright idea. I discovered that the water near the shore went from deep to shallow very quickly, very near the shore itself. So I backed the boat quit close to the shore line, put his swimming vest on him, and told CJ to GO! He jumped off the boat, swam to shore, did his business, and swam back, just as if it were one of our trips to the woods. With the vest on, it was a simple job to hoist him back aboard and dry him off. He was happy, and I was happy and dry!

I continue to use this training now and again when we are at a deserted shoreline and I can't bear the trip to shore. The next step is to try and train him to use the swim platform. He did it once on his own when he could not hold it any longer. I hope to encourage that! Even if that training never takes, he's the best friend I could have ever hoped for. And boating-well we all know how great that is! Thankfully, the two seem to work well together for me.

How to Build a Trawler Dog Lift

by Ralph and Celeste Yost

My wife Celeste and I began trawler-shopping in January 2007 and soon recognized that cruising with Striper, our 45-pound Portuguese water dog, might present a problem in getting her on and off the boat and into the dinghy while anchored. We felt it important to have a boat layout that allowed the dog to be with us and to move about the boat on her own, so we looked at several basic boat designs, including pilot-house trawlers and trunk-cabin trawlers.

The pilot-house trawlers offered the ease of allowing the dog to simply walk from the deck level through the stern door onto the swim platform and into the dingy. However, they also had a fly bridge that required climbing a ladder, something the dog could not do on her own-and she is too large and heavy for us to carry up and down the ladder. The trunk-cabin trawlers offered a fly bridge with relatively easy access for the dog, but the trade-off was that the trunk cabin trawler has a deck level about three and a half feet above the water. This meant that our challenge was to figure out the best way to get her to and from the dinghy from deck level.

Before we took delivery of Say Good-Bye, our 1982 41-foot DeFever, we read many articles and books and talked with other cruisers traveling with pets. We gleaned a lot of great information, but really nothing that would quite work for us. We considered a ramp, but the placement of the steps-and the davits that protruded from the transom just above them-made it a poor choice. We were stymied until I suddenly realized that we could simply transport Striper in much the same way that livestock are offloaded from ships. We could use a customized reinforced doggie life jacket and a block and tackle system on the boom to hoist Striper up and over the stern rail, drop her down to the swim platform, where she could make her own way into the dinghy.

Here's the technique we devised:

The life vest we purchased is a Fido Float Life Vest from www.arcatapet.com for just under $20. It's a padded floatable doggie life vest with mesh underbelly support that zips up the back.(Other well-made vests will no doubt work as well.) The dog steps into two front leg holes in the mesh underbelly and the vest is zipped snugly. The original design of the vest had one woven adjustable strap handle sewn onto the front of the vest near the collar and a second strap handle located near the hind leg area. The front strap goes around the dog's chest, forming a "handle" on her back near her head, but lifts her from underneath. We had The Ship's Tailor (a local canvas and sailmaker) add a woven adjustable strap just in front of the dog's hind legs, going around her belly area, thus reinforcing the second "handle" on her back near her tail. This modification affords total support from underneath and distributes her weight evenly between the two handles. The woven straps are adjustable to fit comfortably.

We feed a heavy line with spliced eyes at both ends through both handles of the vest and attach both line eyes to a shackle. Using a block and tackle attached to the boom, we attach the snap shackle to the two eye splices of the lifting line. Then I go down to the swim platform, where I control the 4:1 block and tackle that hangs from our lifting boom. I carefully hoist the dog from the aft deck up and over the stern rail, then lower her to the swim platform. My wife assists from the deck level by ensuring that the dog is guided up and over the stern rail so I don't snag her legs on it! A lightweight Rubbermaid container lid approximately 2 feet by 3 feet is all that's needed to cover the slots in the swim platform, allowing her a solid place to touch down. The line is unshackled and removed from the life vest and attached to one of the davits temporarily while we are ashore. Striper gets a dog treat, then hops into the dinghy and we're off. This method is safe and efficient . . . and best of all, Striper likes it!

One caution for dog owners. Don't just lift your dog with the boom and expect the dog to cooperate. Training is essential so the dog knows what to expect. We started by putting her in the vest, then manually lifting her a few inches off the deck. allowing her to hang while holding her. We rewarded her with a treat, petted her and verbally reinforced the good behavior. We repeated this several times so that she associated getting into the vest and being lifted with a fun and rewarding activity. Next, using the block and tackle, we lifted her higher to the level needed to get her over the stern rail. Again we reinforced the maneuver with a reward and repeated it several times. Finally, we went for broke and lifted her up, over and down, disconnected the apparatus and she hopped into the dinghy.

Your dog will soon learn that the process enables her to go with you in the dingy where more fun activity takes place, like exploring the land areas, beaches, the essential personal relief . . . and of course, all those dog treats!

Photos by Betsy Barron Photography; www.thebetsy.com