Boat Cooking Tips
Cooking and eating at sea is similar to camping on land-except that a boat is always moving. The boats movement when underway or even moored, and the limited space for food storage and preparation can present a challenge for a waterborne chef and passengers on any vessel.
With a bit of planning and if you follow the tips below, day trippers or people who charter boats can plan an extended cruise and can eat like a champion when cooking or serving food and refreshments on board a boat.
Foods and Beverages to Bring for a One-Day Boat Trip
If you are considering a one-day trip with a runabout or a day sailor, planning of food and beverages is not a big deal, as the voyage length is comparatively short and the boats are generally not equipped for cooking. But your passengers will appreciate food, snacks and a beverage that are simple easy, filling and spill proof.
Another issue to consider is human nature during the voyage of any length. When you are at sea, the abundance of fresh air, sun and wind, and even cold in certain climates, make boaters much hungrier than they would be at home either watching TV or at their computer. Whether it's a day trip or an extended cruise, you need to keep the simple fact in mind. It'll help keep full stomachs and satisfy your passengers on a voyage. Here are some tips to help a one-day Voyager plan for food and beverages.
Use premade, hearty meat or vegetable sandwiches that have the condiments already added and are precut and individually wrapped. Make sure you label them this is a great way to save time and effort on board.
Let passengers know that you're bringing food or refreshments for the trip and then provide guidelines for what and how much so you can avoid duplication.
Prepackaged or individual sized snacks and sweets are quick ways of energy boosters and hunger relief.
Bringing assorted fruits is a great idea but make sure that if they need peeling you store them in resealable bags. You can always buy inexpensive, space-saving prepackaged fruit smoothies.
Beverages always add significant weight and affect the boat balance and handling. To make sure you save space and weight, use recyclable trash and sturdy, plastic bags and store in an unused bait well or locker.
Use a 2.5-gallon water jug with a spigot and bring plenty of cups rather than individual water bottles.
By the smaller individual bottles if you have to go that direction. Make sure they are only 8.5 or 12-ounce containers.
Stow all your liquids in a hatched cooler on the boats deck for easy access.
Use dry ice or ice packs instead of frozen water.
Use biodegradable waste like apple cores and fruit peels for your composting when you reach the shore.
When you're at the dock, dispose of all trash responsibly.
Foods and Beverages to Bring for Extended Boat Trips
When you are chartering or embarking on an extended cruise, provisioning the vessel and making sure that onboard cooking is plentiful there are important issues to remember. There are added concerns of food freshness, stowage, surveying and safety. Two words cover the multitude of issues: planning and simplicity.
Use time when you're anchored or docked to prepare the sandwiches, salads and other menu items.
Make sure you have checked the passengers diet restrictions and tastes. When you're on the open ocean it's not the time to find out the passengers are allergic to certain foods.
Think one-pot meals from beef or chicken stews to pasta and vegetable casseroles. Typically passengers like stick to the ribs types of meals that are filling, easy to serve and neat and easy to clean up. Hearty soups are also popular depending on your weather and locale.
Between all meals, serve healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, trail mixes or energy bars.
Make sure you check the galley equipment before you buy food to see if there are coffeemakers, toasters, microwaves or freezers because they might not be aboard due to power restrictions.
Make sure you securely stowed all food items with gear mesh nets strung from the overheads near the galley. These are an easy and inexpensive way to stowe the snacks and fruits.
If you are cooking underway, wear bib pants as part of foul weather gear to protect against any accidental scalding from an unexpected wave or boat wake.
Don't forget that the world's largest and free fish market is just overboard. Bring along your basic fishing gear and fish cleaning utensils.
Bring your favorite kitchen tools from home, as charter boats do not typically equip themselves in full detail. It's just usually bare bones and the heavily used kitchen utensils and knives can typically be dull.
Purchase off brand paper products and canned goods at your homeport grocery store or warehouse stores because the savings are considerable. Costs for everything are steep in marina and foreign port stores.
Purchase liquids that can be stored at room temperature and use examples such as Tetra-pac juices.
Make sure you use perishable foods first and use canned foods as the voyage progresses.
In the US and foreign waters, biodegradable waste which are food scraps that can readily decomposed can be dumped overboard with little restriction.
Fuel, cooking and food orders can bring on motion sickness even for the heartiest of sailors. Make sure you bring motion sickness tablets or wristbands and some stomach soothing medicines like Pepto-Bismol. Make sure their motion sickness bags available and all on board will be very grateful.
Food and Equipment Safety on Boats
A critical issue on any cruise of any length or extended trip is passenger and boat safety especially when galley equipment or grills are used.
Have the charter representative or owner make sure their galley equipment operation has been checked before departure and briefed the passengers on how it all works in any emergency shut off valve in any fire extinguisher location.
If you have a stovetop that is equipped with gimbal or other hardware, understand how the equipment works to keep pots and other items from moving while underway.
You will need to closely follow instructions for cooking on a rail mounted gas or charcoal grill. Make sure when it's in use you have a fire extinguisher within reach.
Make sure you look out for sharp utensils as they can become dangerous if launched by an unexpected vessel movement.
Make sure you are picky when buying the fruit or vegetable or even seafood or meat in a foreign port. Use smell, touch and site to determine what is edible.
Bringing those fruits and vegetables and meats that you purchase during a foreign country back into the U.S. can result in serious fines or vessel quarantine. Make sure you eat them or dispose of such items long before entering U.S. territory waters.
Storing and Recycling Nonorganic Trash on Boats
Make sure to drain all empty containers and spray with disinfectant to eliminate any residual odors before you stow it again.
To conserve space you need to collapse or crush any water bottles, cans and boxes.
On the dock make sure you separate and recycle onboard trash responsibly.
As you can see food and refreshments during the voyage of any length can either make or break the trip. The kind of food and beverages that are available as well as cleanup and food and equipment safety are all important issues to consider. Make sure to include menus that are simple, imaginative and easy to prepare, eat and clean up. The crew and the passengers will be very appreciative of the captain and the cook.