Boat Dogs

Capt. Samantha Zeher- Island Jane MagazineSome of my favorite charters are ones where a customer brings along their dog. Some dogs are super excited and jump right on the boat, while others need a little bit of encouragement to get on. Once aboard, the excitement for them begins!

To start, there are tons of new smells. If you have ever watched a dog’s nose, they are constantly sniffing the air, the ground, tree; whatever they are around. As they sniff around the boat, they get more comfortable and our boat tour begins. Typically, every dog loves to be posed somewhere with their nose faced into the wind and ears flapping, no matter where they are on the boat. Some will stand on the step to the bow with their ears flapping and tail wagging, while others will find a comfy seat to lounge on for the ride. You can see in their facial expressions that they are having a ball.

I have customers bring their dogs on any one of our tours, the ecotour, sightseeing, sandbar trips, etc. Dogs are always welcome! I even have a few customers that come back yearly with their dog for different activities. I have made a ton of furry friends over the years. For example, there is Garth who is a yellow lab and Ink who is a Scottish terrier. These two dogs belong to 2 separate customers but both groups love to snorkel. It is fun to watch how the dogs interact with their owners while the owner is in the water. Garth watches his owners get in but once they are away from the boat he comes to find a spot in the shade to snuggle up in for a nap until they come back. Ink on the other hand watches in excitement as his owners get in to snorkel, but the moment they hit the water he begins to bark like crazy until they are far enough away he can’t see them. Then he looks at me as if I made them disappear, he will jump into my lap or sit next to me but has to be touching me until they come back. It is interesting how the two dogs react differently.

Capt. Samantha Zeher- Island Jane MagazineWhile driving around the bay side exploring the mangroves I always have the thought of a dog jumping off the boat when we get to the mangrove island with the birds. Fortunately for me this has only happened with my dog on the boat. I took my dog Reef, who is a yellow lab that loves to swim, for a tour with me one day. I didn’t think to keep him close to me when entering the mangrove channel with all the birds. I take reef for boat rides all the time and he is great. Well, once in the mangroves with all the birds flying around Reef just couldn’t resist it, splash! Next thing I know my dog is in the water, chasing down the cormorants. I kept calling his name and telling him to get back on the boat, but he was in his zone. Finally I was able to get his attention and he got back on the boat. At the moment it was not funny, but looking back I should have known better.

Owner of a sightseeing eco-tour business out of Islamorada. Samantha grew up playing on the waters off of Lower Matecumbe. She learned to fish and snorkel at a young age. She loves being on the water and enjoys educating people about the importance of the marine environment.

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