Boat Food Ideas

by Mike Schoonveld
Seedless grapes are a perfect boat food.

Seedless grapes are a perfect boat food.

Recreational boating is a popular sport. It's a pastime where family and friends of all ages can meet, spend time outdoors and enjoy the day. Tasty food and drink can only make it all better. Realistically, the sky is the limit when it comes to the best foods to have on a boat and what is perfect for you depends on type and size of the boat, how many boaters are involved and your personal whims. Filet mignon or peanut butter sandwich, the menu is up to you -- but there are some things to consider.

Finger Foods

Unless your boat is large enough to have a galley and a seating area where food can be served on conventional platters and place settings, consider finger foods. Most boaters are more in need of snacks than a full meal so a sandwich, chips, cookies or granola bars can be a perfect boater's menu and don't require plates and place settings to enjoy.


Most boating is done on hot days and in the sun. Keeping hydrated is a key to maintaining your energy level but the water doesn't have to be from a plastic bottle. Fruits are high in moisture, give a quick boost of natural energy and are easy on the stomach. Consider fruits such as grapes, strawberries or others which don't have to be peeled or end up with a core you need to discard. Orange peels, apple cores, watermelon rinds and other fruit leftovers can attract bees or other insects. If you like those fruits, cut them up at home so you don't have to contend with the peels and rinds -- or have to use a sharp knife on a rocking boat.


A cooler with plenty of ice can keep your food and drinks suitably cool most of the day. But why take the chance? Certain foods such as those with mayonnaise, egg or dairy-based sauces can quickly grow bacteria and become toxic. If you really crave an egg-salad sandwich when you are out boating, be sure it stays well chilled. A better idea is to forgo the questionable menu items and substitute them with more stable and heat-tolerant fare.

Foods to Avoid

Some food items are just plain wrong to bring on a most boats. Some, like most soups, are just too messy. Ice cream products will likely melt and be hard to eat. Eating greasy foods such as fried chicken or sausage can promote seasickness. Avoid alcoholic drinks. Studies show the continuous movement of a moving or rocking boat exacerbates the effect of alcohol. Above all, if fishing is to be a part of the day's activities while on the boat, leave the bananas at home. Legend has it that few things bring bad luck on a fishing boat as quickly as having a banana or two on board.

About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.

Photo Credits

  • Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images