Just had a quick quesiton that some live aboards may be able to help me with. Next summer my husband and I are taking our Sabre 34 Targa out through the Great Lakes and down the east coast to the Bahamas. We'd like to take our dog, an 8 year old greyhound with us, but think we might come into issues with her bathroom needs. We'll probably be stopping 2 or 3 times a day when traveling to take her to shore for walks and bathroom breaks. Has anyone encountered this problem if there are no public areas around? What is the protocol if it's time to go and there are only private homes around?
I would appriciate any help and suggestions.
First off, congrats on your decision to head off into the great unknown.
As background, we've completed the loop aboard our Vagabond 39 with both a dog and a cat aboard.
Traveling with pets can be a great comfort as well as a major challenge.
Looking back, here's what we'd recommend:
1. MOST IMPORTANT: Begin trying to train your dog to relieve herself topside on the decks -- we've got an agreed upon area at the foredeck. The sooner you start, the greater your chances for a breakthrough. This is likely to take some time, particularly with a headstrong animal. Simply wash the urine overboard, and bag the poop for your next shoreside garbage run.
2. You likely won't have any major challenges getting your dog ashore (assuming you have a dinghy) until you get to the mouth of the Hudson. From there (Sandy Hook) until you get to Cape May (Delaware River) you're likely looking at an outside/coastal trip of several days -- this will depend on how tall your rig may be, as there are a couple of low bridges along the inside passage of the Jersey shore. There are couple of places you can duck in for a night (Massaquan & Atlantic City), so a morning walk and an evening walk could be doable.
3. Once on the ICW, your options again open up. Staying at a marina would be easiest on the logistics of getting the pooch ashore. Anchoring is easier on the wallet, and selecting an anchorage close to a public boat ramp is the most convenient way to get ashore.
4. For planning purposes, it's useful to have a good cruising guide that includes info on pet shore access. We found Skipper Bob's guides to be hard to beat. I'd recommend "Anchorages along the ICW" as well as "Marinas along the ICW."
Hope this helps,