I know the girl who did it and we still tease her and her parents about it to this day.
So this passes the test that Snopes reporter was not able to do since I do know the exact names of the people involved along with many of their relatives. The girl gets quite put out when anyone brings it up and her father got quite a ribbing since his crew thinks its a hoot that a US Coast Guard Officer could make such an error while showing off his sailing skills to his family.
The glossy photograph of their daughter asleep with the "dog" cuddling up with her in their hotel room which her mother put in my hand went quite a ways towards sealing the authenticity of the event. There were also photos on the boat when they scooped the "dog" up out of the ocean, bathing the "dog", etc, etc.
So yes seriously.