Dog Dad of the Day: Joel Anders

Get acquainted with first mate Joel Anders and Radar, the adventurous and energetic German shepherd–border collie mix

Anders and Radar on the private yacht he works on. Photo by Steven Martine
Anders and Radar on the private yacht he works on. Photo by Steven Martine

Joel and Radar

A life filled with adventure has been a goal for Joel Anders ever since he was a young boy fishing, camping, and snowboarding in southern Oregon. When he was in college, he lived in Australia for a spell, and upon graduating he decided that an industry that would allow him to continue to travel was a must. As it happened, he met a girl who was a chef on private yachts, and the seed was planted: He would work on boats.

He got his sea legs on a sailing school vessel in Baja, Mexico, learning the ropes as a low-paid volunteer. He used that tall ship experience as a springboard to land his first job on a private yacht in Southern California in 2009, and he’s been sailing the seas ever since. He went from working as a deckhand on 150-footers to first officer on 100-plus-footers to captain on smaller vessels, traveling to places like Maine, the Pacific Northwest, the Bahamas, and Florida. When he got a mate’s job on a yacht based in Palm Beach about a decade ago, he decided to stay. 

Today, the 38-year-old is first mate on a 120 Trinity ABS-class yacht, and he also captains smaller boats and water taxis to Peanut Island as a side gig. With a steady career based in the area, he decided to plant roots and buy a home near Lake Park in 2020. He also realized it was time to do something else he’d been wanting to do for a long time: get a dog.

“I was never really able to have a dog because I was always traveling around, and finally I could,” he says. “I wanted an adventure dog.” He heard about a dog that had been living on the streets in Arkansas, where the neighborhood was taking care of him. A rescue in Rhode Island eventually took him in, and Anders happened to be working on a boat in New England that summer, so he went to meet the dog. “As soon as I met him I was like, ‘This is going to be my dog,’” he recalls.

Anders and Radar on the private yacht he works on. Photo by Steven Martine 1
Anders and Radar. Photo by Steven Martine

The German shepherd–border collie mix was super friendly, full of energy, and had “big, goofy ears.” He had already been named Radar, which seemed to suit him. “His name is really appropriate,” says Anders. “His ears are always up—he’s always alert and has a track on me. Plus, you know, working in an industry that uses radar…”

The new pals quickly bonded over a love of exploring, and Anders takes Radar everywhere—to alfresco dinners in the area, on hiking trips in places like Moab, Utah, and on day trips with friends on his boat. Now 3, Radar wasn’t a natural old salt like his human dad though. “He used to be scared of water, but now we get halfway to Peanut Island on the boat and he’s gone,” Anders says of Radar’s new obsession with swimming. “He has definitely acclimated to being a Florida water dog.”

This summer, Anders is planning to buy a camper and “do the van life thing” for a bit, just him and Radar living their best lives. And there is no one else he’d rather have as a copilot. “He’s a generational dog,” he says of his buddy. “They say you’re lucky to have one truly amazing dog in your life, and that’s Radar. He has one of the best demeanors of any dog I’ve ever met.” 

Dog’s Life: Radar

Best talent: “He’s really good at catching stuff in the air. Honestly, he’s better than a lot of shortstops! He’s also extremely fast—like 30 mph top speed.”

Favorite spot at home: “The couch by the big window in the living room. He likes to keep an eye on the neighborhood.”

Favorite treat: Starbucks Puppuccino

Cute quirk: “He’s quite the leaner. If he likes someone, he really leans into them to the point where he’s knocking them over.”

Nickname: “Meatball is his number one—just because he’s a big ball of meat. He’s like 80 pounds. And I call him Radar Rad because he’s rad.”

Dream doggie trip: “I’d love to take him to Patagonia. He would be completely free and just be able to wander all over.”

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