Handbook for Caribbean Cruising

Volume 1: Eastern Caribbean

Pets Aboard

Pets Aboard

Some cruisers cannot imagine leaving their dog or cat behind when they make the decision to cruise the Caribbean.  In 5 simple words, Do Not Bring Your Pet!

Leave your pet at home, find a caring relative who will take care of your beloved animal or make other arrangements for your pet.  Having a pet onboard a sailing vessel borders on severe animal cruelty!  It is one thing for a human to be confined in extremely close quarters, assaulted by environmental hazards, thrown about a cockpit in rough seas and fight the elements in order to survive but to subject your pet to these things is despicable. 

Ok, so you want to disregard the safety of your pet and bring them along.  Here is what to expect.  Most governments will not allow your pet ashore in the Eastern Caribbean.  Trinidad is a prime example of this.  Trinidad will not allow your pet to step one paw onto Trinidadian soil.  If your pet were to touch the soil in Trinidad and anyone notices, your pet will be inhumanely disposed of immediately.  This is not a pleasant thought but it is the law in Trinidad.

We know of one couple who had their very small dog sail with them all the way from
Florida to Trinidad, knowing the rules very well before they made their decision.  They religiously kept their pet confined to their vessel so as not to break the law.  Upon arrival in Trinidad they wanted to fly back to the United States for a visit and take their dog with them.  The authorities dealt with this situation as follows:

They were required to have a government veterinarian examine the dog onboard the sail boat to determine if the dog was healthy and issue a health certificate,

The same veterinarian will physically take the dog to the airport immediately prior to the flight and the veterinarian will place the dog on the plane.

Upon the dog’s return to Trinidad the veterinarian must meet the incoming flight and take possession of the dog (failure of the veterinarian to meet the plane will result in the dog being immediately flown out of the country on the next available flight to ANY destination) and

The veterinarian will accompany the dog to the boat and physically place the dog on the boat.

The cost for this service was $850.00 (or about $150 per pound)!!!

Obviously it is your decision but you have been warned.  There were two articles about sailing with pets in the Caribbean in the November and December 2005 “Caribbean Compass”.  The articles presented both points of view concerning pets onboard.