For some pet owners, their canine or feline crew member is also part of the family and so feeling that they are welcome is key to a positive marina experience. TransEurope Marinas conducted a quick survey amongst members to see how they approached the topic.

A good many marinas had taken the initiative to install dog litter bins with bags and offer local advice for pet owners. Ancora Marina, up in the Baltic, shared images of their smartly-signposted dog park and others described their onsite chandlers selling lifejackets for pets. Most offered a bowl of drinking water for dog visitors and a surprising number of members, including the staff in VY Nieuwpoort also kept a bag of doggy treats in the cupboard!

Marina Punat in Krk Island, Croatia however, is certainly an example of those that go the extra mile – not just to accommodate pets, but also to ensure that non-pet owners are also duly considered.

“According to the survey results, at a quarter of our guests takes his or her pet boating. In restaurants, we observed several dogs not kept on leads, with owners either allowing them to sit on chairs or holding them in their lap while eating; a potential source of annoyance for other guests. As the number of pets in the marina grows, we thought hard about what we could do to improve conviviality in our leisure areas.

We facilitated an attractive walking path for walking pets and whilst most owners are respectful, some owners don’t control their dogs and omit to clean up after them, despite our having installed special bins just for this purpose.

As we didn’t want just to start issuing bans and orders, we have decided on a “softer” and, in the long run, more efficient way of introducing rules, making clear to our guests how we expected owners with pets to behave in the marina.  We set up “pet zones” on the terraces, with bowls and water, special blankets, etc. There are baskets with paper bags and plenty of signs on the lawns, where we ask the guests not to let dogs free. Pet owners are given designated areas of the restaurant with indications set out on the tables. To allow dogs to cool off in the summer heat, we even created a pet shower and swimming pool.

We regularly ask our guests for cooperation through our newsletters, bulletins, posts on social networks and via personal contacts and conversations and believe that this is the best means to achieve a happy balance!”

As a summary, here is a brief list of recommendations:

  • Inform new visitors about your policy regarding pets (ideally also visible on the website) so that everyone understands.
  • Add details on local vets, pet shops, dog parks, etc.
  • Offer dog litter bins and bags and identify areas where dogs can and can’t play.
  • Check whether the chandlers might consider stocking lifejackets for dogs and cats

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Photo credits:

  • Dog bathroom – Marina Punat – Photo credit: Srdjan Vrancic / CROPIX
  • Walking path – Marina Punat