Honey The Boat Dog – A Pupdate

Have you wondered how Honey likes being a boat dog?

Here’s a pupdate.

Honey the golden retriever sniffs out adventures on the boat.

As we leave the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, I smell adventure.

Life On A Boat With A Dog

As temperatures lower, Honey has become a highly valuable member of our crew. Especially at bedtime.

Boats aren’t well insulated. And with a morning temperature aboard as low as 48 °F (9° C), Mike and I both seek out Honey the fuzzy heater with our feet.

When we’re underway on a cloudy day with wind, I’m thankful Honey is so cuddly.

Honey the golden retriever cuddles Pam dressed for the cold.

I don’t know who this person is under all the clothes, but I’m happy to cuddle her anyway.

But that’s what we think about Honey being on the boat. What does she think about it?

What Honey Loves About The Boat


Have you worried about Honey getting enough exercise?

That is no problem.

As newbie sailors, we’re reluctant to travel after dark. So we stop somewhere every night.

And to make up for Honey’s confinement on a tiny boat, we take her with us almost everywhere when we’re ashore.

Cohansey River marshes.

The Cohansey River meanders through marshes, leaving little space for playing or walking. Luckily we have the marina and boatyard grounds.

Today we’re in Delaware City, DE. As soon as we settled into the City Marina yesterday, we set out to explore the town. Honey got a long, sniffy walk as she does most days.

We also play fetch with Honey every time we find a large grassy spot to play. And after breakfast and dinner, Honey likes to play fetch with Mike in the cabin.


Honey thinks she’s a lap dog.

There’s nothing she loves more than to crawl onto someone for lovies or a nap.

On travel days, Honey will lean on the leg of whoever is not at the wheel. Or if we’re both busy moving the boat, she’ll lie on the seat behind the helm so she’s poised to go in either direction for when someone sits down and makes a lap for her to sleep on.

Honey the golden retriever dozes behind the helm.

I’ve found the best place to keep track of everyone on the boat. And it’s not a bad snoozing spot either.

Meeting People

If it rains or conditions get dodgy, we put Honey below in the cabin. She’s normally fine with that. Until we pull up to a dock.

Whether we’re arriving at a marina for the night or just pulling up to fuel the boat, Honey lets out an “I’m here, I’m here” bark as soon as she hears a stranger’s voice.

Honey the golden retriever naps in the cabin with Bear as a chin rest.

Bear and I are just fine napping below. Especially when it’s raining. But if I hear a stranger’s voice, I’m up like a shot.

We spent the last week visiting Mike’s animal-loving brother and his family and Honey was in heaven.

Honey’s favorite activity as a boat dog is sitting in the cockpit on a dock, soliciting love from everyone who walks by.

Do you think she might be an extrovert dog?

What Honey Hates About The Boat

There’s a lot of togetherness when you live on a boat that’s 34 feet long by 10 feet wide (10 meters long, 3 meters wide).

But sometimes we have to break up the family. And Honey hates it.

A few days ago, Honey saw Mike go into the shower building at a marina. He returned to the boat when Honey wasn’t looking.

But nothing I said convinced Honey that he wasn’t in the shower any longer. She planted her feet and kept looking at the men’s room door for him to come out.

I finally coaxed her back to the boat where she looked relieved to find Mike waiting for us.

Honey the golden retriever naps under the table to keep an eye on Mike.

If I hang out under this table, you can’t possibly move without me seeing you.

When Mike stayed at his brother’s house overnight so he could get wi-fi to plan the next leg of our trip, I thought Honey would make me nuts.

Amazingly, she was quite content on the boat with just me. She saw Mike step off the boat and had no reason to believe he was somewhere near so she settled in for a girl’s night in.

So when I worry about the resulting problems from being forced to push my husband overboard, I guess that Honey won’t be one of them.

Meander's mast going under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The chart told me the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was about twelve feet higher than our mast. But it sure looks close, doesn’t it?
Good thing we have Honey as an unofficial therapy dog.

Life On Board

Living on a boat is fun.

I love the rocking motion, having a small and tidy space to take care of, seeing new places, and spending time with my husband and Honey.

Honey likes food, playing, and being with us.

As long as the temperatures stay above freezing and we can avoid being out in storms, we all have a lot to be happy about.

Keep looking for more pupdates about Honey’s life as a boat dog.

Photo credit: Marsh at Cohansey River taken by Mike Webster

Your Turn: Do you have any questions about a dog’s life aboard a sailboat? What would your dog love and hate about being on a boat?



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Pushing the hubby overboard, LOL. Torrey looks at the RV as one giant doghouse. Honey is probably the same way.

  2. Duster, in his first summer, loved going for rides in the kayak (he’s too big now), so he’d love the boat. But he’d have to be in the bow, nose to the wind. I don’t think we’d manage to get Zach over the ramp to the boat, so it’d be a non-issue for him.

    I’m glad to read that things seem to be more smooth sailing for you all!

    • I can just imagine Duster with his nose in the air sniffing the wind. I bet smells travel over the wind just like sound does for us.

      Don’t you think Zach would get over his issues with the ramp once he figured out he needed to use it to stay with you? I think that was the key for Honey.

  3. This is fantastic, I’m actually quite envious of the adventure you guys are on.

    Honey looks very content, and I imagine she gets more fresh air than just about any other dog on the planet! :)

  4. Thanks for the update! It looks like Honey has adjusted to life on a boat very well! I don’t think Barley and I would handle that tight space well for very long, but she’d definitely be happy that it would be so easy to keep an eye on me :)

    • I thought that with the boat being so small that we were never out of Honey’s sight she might be content to sleep on the couch instead of in the bed. After all, it’s only four feet away.

      But no. She’d rather be kicked in the middle of the night than miss anything.

      I bet Barley would love to have you around 24/7. :)

  5. Glad you are all enjoying it so far.

  6. It’s so interesting to hear about boat life. I never really thought about traveling at night, but I guess it does sound kind of scary. Is there any sort of heat source? (Other than Honey of course :) )

    • One of the biggest problems with boating at night is that it’s very tough to tell water lights from boats from cities. With experience it gets easier. But I’m a morning person. I don’t feel the need to be sailing in the middle of the night.:)

      And yes, we have a small propane heater in the cabin that does a pretty good job. But I don’t run it while we’re sleeping. For one reason, we also use propane for cooking and I’d hate to run out of fuel when I can just pile on a dog to stay warm. :)

  7. I think I would be headed to the balmy waters of the equator. Why are you not there?

    • We’re working on it. Today and tomorrow we’re lying low because of gale warnings on the Chesapeake.

      At 5 mph, we should arrive in Florida sometime after Christmas. :)

  8. Honey looks like she’s doing really well on the boat! I’ve always wondered if my dogs would like that! My husband is dreaming of a boat some day!

    • I’d love to see what your girls would think of boating.

      We started Honey in a kayak before moving up to the sailboat. But if she hadn’t liked it, we wouldn’t be here today.

      BTW, I love my boat. But you might want to remind your husband that BOAT stands for “bring on another thousand.” Tell him to save his pennies.

  9. I think it could be a boat or a hot air ballon – if you’re there, Honey’s gonna be just fine. Your due diligence is what heightened my awareness to a simple move down I-95 and moving into a new home with the Boys. You researched every single thing in regards to making sure Honey’s adjustment would be seamless. You not only did it for her, you helped us too! Thanks my friend

    • I’m so glad your move went well. Of course you provided the very best experience possible for the pups.

      We’re currently holed up in Delaware waiting out gale warnings on the Chesapeake. But we’re really excited about hitting South Carolina some time in December–my husband because he’s hungry for grits and me because I can’t stand the cold.

      In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the updates as you settle into your new home and pretend I’m already South.

    • Thanks for the pupdate! I’ve missed you y’all!! Blogville seems too quiet when you’re not here. And I miss the pix of Honey. She’s such a Golden beauty, like my Callie was and Shadow is. Something about that Golden, silky, flowing fur warms me from the inside out, kind of like sunshine.

  10. It’s so great to hear that things are going well (though I know it wasn’t easy getting to that point!), and that everyone is settling in to your new life. I’m sure it will get even better when you get to warmer places.
    When I think back to when my hubby had a fishing boat, and we had our dogs Maggie and Kobi, I know how much they would have loved living on a boat. We camped then so were already used to the smaller quarters of a camper, and they enjoyed the boat so much.
    I have a feeling the current crew would feel exactly the same.

    • Sounds like you have some big excitement in your housing situation too. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

      Wishing you lots of luck. It’s hard work to sell a house. I hope all goes well.

  11. Am I the only one that wants to know if Honey has adjusted to doing her business on the boat?

    Glad to hear you are all having a great time! Never a dull moment on the boat!

    • For now, we’re still able to get her to land for potty and play time. But I guess I’m going to have to do a big old bathroom post because I keep getting the same question.

      Of course, I hate the idea of taking pictures to illustrate my post. :)

  12. So cute! I am obsessed with Golden Retrievers. One of the most beautiful, loving breeds out there. Great post.

  13. I believe Missy would have a blast on a boat – both pups have been on a boat once for a day trip on a lake: Missy LOVED it, she was walking around when the boat wasn’t in motion, sitting right next to me when we were moving faster and taking in all the sniffs, her ears flopping in the wind, watch our friend fish, and of course she loved going swimming in the lake.

    Now Buzz on the other hand was much less enthused…he spent the majority of the boat rides lying down on the floor of the boat, seemingly pouting. He’d be his goofy self when we went for potty & play breaks ashore, but once back on the boat he’d reassume his pouting/”blah” position. Of course this was several years ago, and way before his love affair with the chuck-it ball began…maybe his attitude would have been different had we brought that ball along. Who knows?!

    • Sounds like Missy is more scent motivated than Buzz is. Do you find that on land?

      Watching Honey sniffing the air on the boat (and when we used to go kayaking), I wonder if smells cross open water for dogs the way sounds do for humans.

  14. Hm, I haven’t noticed that Missy is more scent oriented than Buzz on land, but she is our little adventure puppy. Buzz can busy himself with his chuck-it ball for hours, while Missy likes to explore. That’s why his recall is so much better & reliable than hers….