If you’re heading out for a day on the water, bringing enough food and drinks is essential to keep everyone happy, whether boating with young children or seasoned adults. No one wants a hangry crew member onboard the boat.

Easy Recipes for Grilling on the Water Recipes

Plan a cookout on the water if renting or chartering a boat with a barbecue on board! It’s such a fun way to prepare food while on the water, and nothing beats a freshly grilled burger or seafood skewer while relaxing on your boat.

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Easy Food to Grill on the Water

  • Hot Dogs
  • Hamburgers & Cheese Burgers
  • Fish like shrimp and salmon
  • Kabobs

Grills for boats can be charcoal, gas, or electric, and each type requires special considerations when you’re grilling out on the water. Make sure you have enough propane, charcoal, or the correct electrical hookups before you push off to sea because your grill won’t work without it once you’re out on the water.

For the perfect burger or brat, don’t forget spatulas and other grilling supplies for your on-water cookout and toppings and condiments! Ketchup, mustard, relish, chopped onions, and buns are essential.

Rules for Grilling While Boating

  1. Only use the grill when the boat is anchored or docked. It’s very dangerous to grill while underway, not only for the grillmaster but for other passengers on board.
  2. Keep the grill away from any flammable materials and boat fabrics.
  3. Never leave the grill unattended when it’s on and running. Keep children away from the grill.
  4. Make sure you position the grill (for charcoal grills) so that no embers or lit charcoal can fall on boat surfaces or near flammable materials.
  5. Never dump ashes or coal overboard after grilling. Secure them in a garbage bag or waste compartment and dispose of them properly once on land.
  6. If using a propane grill, make sure to double-check the gas connection before you light it.
  7. Turn the grill off as soon as you’re done using it, and let it cool before you start cruising again.

Pre-Packaged Meal Options for Easy Boat Day

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Nothing compliments a boat day like a charcuterie board. Get creative and mix and match your favorite cured meats, cheeses, nuts, crackers, veggies, fruits, jams, and more! Or save yourself some time and pick up a pre-made charcuterie board from your local supermarket.

Pre-made sandwiches are a crowd pleaser for both children and adults, they are easy to wrap and bring along, and eventually eat on the water. Pasta salads are another great, cold option that is a refreshing fuel source for hungry kids and adults.

More ideas for easy food to pack that doesn’t require cooking includes bagels, muffins, and pastries, which are awesome choices if you’re going boating in the morning hours and want to bring brunch food onboard. Brunch on a boat is ideal for a special occasion!

When it comes to boat day snacks try to look for pre-packaged snacks that are easy to travel with such as jerky, chips, snack mixes, crackers, and granola bars. Think about what you’d bring hiking or on another outdoor adventure - portable and easy-to-eat is the way to go.

Kids Friendly Boat Meals & Snacks

Sandwiches are an easy meal to put together that your kids can enjoy on the boat. The great thing about sandwiches is that there are so many variations. Cold-cut sandwiches are a popular option and you can add some veggies and condiments to spice it up. We recommend packing the veggies and condiments in separate containers so that your sandwich doesn’t get soggy. Wrap each sandwich individually to ensure that it remains fresh and doesn't fall apart during travel. Peanut butter and jelly is another simple and easy sandwich option loved by many. To complete this meal, add any bag of chips, granola/energy bars, or any other pre-packaged snack that your kids love. To stay organized, you can pack a meal for each child in a brown paper bag, to make everything easier once you’re on the water.

Most importantly, be sure to pack tons of fluids for your day on the water. Staying hydrated is essential and many children can become dehydrated easily when out in the sun all day.

Bring a combination of water and your kid’s favorite juices, sports drinks, or soda.

Vegan and Vegetarian Boat Snacks

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Fruit & veggies platters are not only a great way to have healthy options onboard, but fruit and vegetables also offer extra hydration, which is necessary when you’re out in the sun on the water all day. Vegan and Vegetarian dips such as hummus, guacamole, and salsa are great snack options when paired with chips and vegetables. Pre-made salads and veggie wraps are fantastic meals to back for dietary restrictions as well.

If you’re bringing dips that need to be refrigerated, make sure you have ample ice to keep them cold during the day.

Foods to Avoid for Boat Days

During your boat day, you’ll want to avoid bringing food and drinks that tend to cause a mess. Avoid things like chocolate, ice cream, or anything else that melts in the sun. Red wine, kool-aid, and other bright-colored drinks are a no-go when it comes to a boat day because they are likely to stain the boat interior/surfaces. Steer clear of sticky candies or other food that is hard to clean up.

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Tips on Packing Food for a Boat Day

When packing the essentials for your boat day don’t forget to bring plates, cutlery, grilling tools if you plan to use the barbecue, and supplies to clean up any spills or messes. Stick to boat-friendly food and snack options for an easy clean-up and hassle-free boat day. Have a trash bag onboard that is secured to the boat and deep enough to put in the trash while keeping it protected from the wind. Careful preparation will make it so much easier to have an enjoyable picnic on the water.


Have fun, stay hydrated, and don't forget the best snacks for your boat day.

For more inspiration check out our easy one-dish meals for boat trips!