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.

The Best Breakfast Foods to Bring onto a Boat

An overhead photo of breakfast pastries and coffee.

A boat day calls for a delicious and energizing breakfast to kick-start your day of adventure. Here are some fantastic breakfast options that are easy to prepare and enjoy on board:

  • Fresh Fruit: Pack a variety of seasonal fruits such as berries, melons, and grapes. They are refreshing, hydrating, and provide essential vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Breakfast Burritos: Prepare hearty breakfast burritos filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage, and vegetables. Wrap them in foil for easy handling and portability.
  • Overnight Oats: Prepare a jar of overnight oats the night before your boat trip. Mix rolled oats, milk (or yogurt), and your choice of toppings like berries, nuts, or honey. In the morning, grab the jar and enjoy a nutritious and filling meal.
  • Muffins and Pastries: Bake some homemade muffins or pastries ahead of time. Opt for flavors like blueberry, banana nut, or cinnamon swirl. They are easy to grab and munch on while enjoying the scenic views.
  • Breakfast Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh fruits in a portable container. It's a quick and satisfying option that provides a good balance of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.

Enjoy these breakfast delights while sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea. Remember to bring some disposable plates, bowls, and utensils for convenience.

The Best Lunch Foods to Bring onto a Boat

After an eventful morning, it's time to refuel with a delicious and satisfying lunch. Consider these boat-friendly lunch options that are easy to prepare and enjoy while on the water:

  • Sandwiches and Wraps: Prepare an assortment of sandwiches and wraps with different fillings such as turkey, ham, roast beef, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Wrap them individually to maintain freshness and ease of consumption.
  • Pasta Salad: Opt for a refreshing pasta salad packed with vibrant vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and olives. Toss them with your choice of pasta, dressing, and herbs for a flavorful and hearty meal.
  • Skewers: Create colorful skewers using a combination of grilled chicken, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and chunks of pineapple or bell peppers. They are not only visually appealing but also easy to eat and share.
  • Wraps: Roll up tortillas with grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, and a zesty dressing. These handheld delights are perfect for a boat lunch, as they are portable and mess-free.
  • Snack Platters: Prepare a variety of bite-sized snacks like cheese cubes, deli meats, crackers, and sliced fruits. Arrange them on a platter for a grazing-style lunch that everyone can enjoy.

Don't forget to pack some refreshing beverages, such as bottled water, sparkling water, or flavored drinks, to stay hydrated during your boat excursion.

Easy Recipes for Grilling on the Water

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.


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.

Easy Pre-Packaged Meal Options


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, like:

  • Beef jerky
  • Chips
  • Snack mixes
  • Trail mixes
  • 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. And the great thing about them is that there are so many variations. Cold-cut sandwiches are an especially 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 the 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 reusable bag to make everything easier once you’re on the water.

Most importantly, be sure to pack lots 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. Try a combination of water and your kid’s favorite juice, sports drinks, or soda, depending on your dietary preferences.

Vegan and Vegetarian Boat Snacks


Fruit & veggie platters are not only a great way to have healthy options onboard, but offer more hydration than many other types of snacks, 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.

The Best Drinks and Cocktails for a Boat Day

When it comes to beverages for your boat day, refreshing drinks and cocktails can enhance the overall experience. Here are some delightful options to consider:

  • Classic Mojito: Mix fresh lime juice, mint leaves, simple syrup, and rum for a classic mojito. Pack the mixture in a container and bring along some ice and sparkling water. Assemble the cocktail on board for a refreshing and invigorating drink.
  • Fruity Sangria: Prepare a pitcher of fruity sangria by combining your favorite fruits, such as oranges, apples, and berries, with red or white wine, a splash of brandy, and a touch of orange juice. Let the flavors meld together in the refrigerator overnight, then pour it into individual cups with ice when you're ready to enjoy.
  • Paloma: Mix grapefruit juice, lime juice, and a splash of soda water with tequila for a zesty Paloma cocktail. Pack the juices and soda water separately and combine them with tequila over ice when you're ready to indulge in this refreshing beverage.
  • Mocktails: For non-alcoholic options, create delicious mocktails using a combination of fresh fruit juices, sparkling water, and garnishes like mint or citrus slices. Some popular choices include virgin mojitos, fruity spritzers, or a refreshing cucumber and lime cooler.
  • Infused Water: Stay hydrated with infused water that adds a burst of flavor. Prepare pitchers of water infused with slices of lemon, cucumber, or fresh herbs like mint or basil. These hydrating options are perfect for hot boat days.

Remember to drink responsibly and ensure everyone on board is of legal drinking age. If you plan to consume alcoholic beverages, designate a responsible driver or consider hiring a captain for the day. Additionally, always check the local boating regulations regarding alcohol consumption to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone on board.

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, colored juices, and any other bright-colored drinks are a no-go when it comes to a boat day, too, because they are likely to stain the boat interior/surfaces.

Steering clear of sticky candies or other food that is hard to clean up is a good idea, too.

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!