Best Sandwiches for the lake

Useful Food Tips For Boating

Snacks for the Boat …… (What Else You Might Need?)


We have owned boats with and without refrigeration on board. What your boat has on board, obviously can completely change your approach to eating on the water. You can also invest in a portable cooler box that are ideal for boating, some of which also double-up as tables, you can see and example here.

We covered the our top foods for boating out on the lake. Now here are other items you probably want to have on your list before your day on the boat.

  • Plastic zip lock bags
  • Aluminum foil
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic drink coolers with spouts
  • Portable cooler (can keep things hot as well as cool)
  • Thermos flask for hot water (or keeping hot dogs warm!)
  • 12v beverage warming device (stick it in your mug for a hot drink)
  • Garbage bags

How to Safely Store Food on a Boat

Lake, river, and sea water don’t mix well with food and can be a major cause of sickness, even food poisoning. Obviously the hot sun can also cause food to go bad as well.

So what about storage?

It’s a really important consideration, as lake water comes with a lot of contamination risks, and when you throw in a beating sun on a hot day, it’s a recipe (no pun intended) for a nasty bout of food poisoning. If you have been in the lake community very long, you have probably heard the stories.

If is also important to keep your boat free of food crumbs & debris. Cleaning your boat from sun baked foods can be a pain attempting to get them removed from boat deck carpet but you must do it. If not it can lead to rat and mice infestation, so taking the time to clean up after every outing is important if you leave your boat in storage or on the dock for long periods of time. And end of the season scrub down is recommended before putting your boat in storage for the winter.

This little hand vac has been worth its weight in gold, you can click the picture if it is something you should consider for keeping your boat tidy from food debris.

The goal for food and boating really comes down to proper food storage. You need proven methods that will not just safeguard your family and friends, but are not over complicated, practical and easy.

With that in mind, here are our top ideas on how to store food on a boat.

Separate Your Hot and Cold Foods

Let’s start with the basics.

Make sure raw meat never comes into contact with ready to eat food. It is really that simple. We use one or different colored containers and assign a particular color for raw meat. The only thing that ever goes in this container is raw meat. The last thing I ever want on my mind is food poisoning on the boat.

If you are using a cooler, then it can be used to either keep cooked foods warm, or cold foods at an optimum temperature for a few hours. Don’t combine food types and use two different coolers.

Handy Hint: I

We realize that not everyone wants to grill on their boat, that is why we focused primarily on boat snack foods in our  food article. Not everyone wants to invest in coolers, refrigeration, or small grills for their boat.

We use the Bunker Grill because it takes up no space on the cabin floor and is perfect for our days on the lake.

You can check the current price on this Boat Grill here.







Portable Cooler Boxes for Boats

Speaking of of coolers, if you haven’t figured it out yet, you will. Making sure that your drinks, snacks, and food are kept cool on a hot summer’s day will make a major impact on how your family will enjoy the days at the lake.

As we have mentioned previously you need to use Marine coolers. It has occurred to me, that some reading this article may not be clear on what a marine cooler actually is. Simply, there are specialized marine coolers on the market which come with longer ice retention than standard camping coolers. It’s an essential feature for hot days on the water.

One of the more popular marine cooler boxes would be the Yeti Tundra range. They come in a variety of sizes including the Yeti Tundra 45 marine cooler. Browse through their range on Amazon to find the right sized for your needs. They come with and without roller wheels and other options.

There are coolers, and then there is something like the Coolest Cooler on Amazon. You need to look at this as it comes with a speaker, USB charger, bottle opener, and LED lid. There are also larger coolers available too.

Overkill for storing food on your boat?

My husband and I love the Yeti, our kids are Coolest Cooler fans and their friends think it is the bomb. According to Leroy’s mom Leroy told her “They have a dope Cooler, its like from Mars or something”. She said Leroy had a great time with us on the lake but when he got home he couldn’t stop talking about the bluetooth cooler!

Ziploc Freezer Bags

If there’s one food storage item we could never do without, it’s plastic Ziploc bags. I could possibly do without anything else at a stretch, but these are 100% essential.

You can re-use them, you can place hot or cold foods in them (but kept apart of course) and can pack them down into a cooler box. Virtually everywhere sells them, but if you do need a supply then head on over to Amazon to stock up.

It also pays to have a permanent marker to hand if you need to label what’s what. Permanent markers such as Sharpie pens will be waterproof too, so ideal for boating conditions.

Portable 12v Boat Fridge

Depending on how big your boat is, you might not have a fridge on board. You can pick up portable fridges though which will run off a 12-volt power supply, making them perfect for boating trips which are going to last more than one day.

The VBENLEM 55L Portable Refrigerator 58 Quart doesn’t just work as a fridge, but also as a food warmer, so definitely worth a look. Check this portable fridge out on Amazon. This is a good value fridge!

Plastic Storage Bins

Cheap plastic bins are a simple and easy way to organize and store food on your boat. You can slide them into lockers or a larger fridge if you have one on board.

For storing food, you should choose plastic bins that are ventilated so airflow can pass through, plus something that strong with a solid base and easy to clean.

A good recommendation here would be the Sterilite baskets with titanium inserts. You can buy a 6 pack on Amazon.

Boat Food Storage Hammocks

For longer boating trips, chances are you are going to be taking more than just simple to prepare food and could include fragile items such as eggs. Food hammocks look very maritime and serve a great purpose too as they can hang from the ceiling, storing food items within easy reach of the cook, and out of the way of harm. Obviously these handy boat hammocks have multiple uses. You can learn more about these handy inexpensive hammock by clicking here.

Best Food Storage Containers for the Lake and Boats

I have done it the hard way, and the easy way. In my opinion storing food for your boat in the proper vented food containers is the only way to go. When storing food on your boat, your goal is not just to make it easy, you want to stop critters, pests, and moisture contaminating your supplies.

The best ones to buy are the boxes with lockable lids, as they won’t pop open in transit, and will be far more secure when you’re on the lakes. For storing food in your boat’s refrigerator, these produce saver boxes with ventilation are very good and tend to keep things fresh. I realize that ultimately, it’s down to the space that you have on board, but if you are going to take food on board, buy boat food storage containers that have secure lids. Take it from someone who learned the hard way, you won’t regret it!

Pest Contamination

It is well documented that that if you have food contamination on your boat, pests and critters will be the main cause, so you need to take extra steps to ensure all items are safely and securely stored, plus you clean up after yourself. Did you hear that kids? 🙂

The most common critters are going to be insects such as cockroaches, ants and weevils. Here’s what you might to consider to keep them away from your food.

  • Cockroach and ant traps in cupboards (see how to get rid of boat cockroaches)
  • Dilute eucalyptus oil with some water and spray onto the shelves to help stop weevils
  • The smell of cinnamon discourages ants that are scrounging for food

Handy Hint: If your boat has a spider infestation, this product will take care of that

Securing Your Food

No matter how well you stack and arrange things in cupboard and locker spaces, things are going to slide around.

You can help mitigate any damage or accidents by utlilizing items such as non-slip shelf paper and even bubble wrap to help pad out storage against breakages.

Stopping Food Contamination on Your Boat

I’ve already touched on a few tips on how to store food on your boat, and free from contamination, but there are many more things that you can do. Yes, I realize these are common sense answers, but sometimes, friendly reminders help us all.

  • Keep food preparation surfaces clean
  • Don’t re-use plastic Ziploc bags that held raw meat
  • If grilling meats, use a meat thermometer to ensure fully cooked we keep one in our boat bag.
  • Don’t cross contaminate with used utensils from one food to another
  • Disinfect any surfaces immediately after cutting raw meats
  • Clean your hand regularly with a hand sanitizer

Boat Snack Shopping List


We hope these tips and ideas make your time on the lake as enjoyable as possible. Eat good, drink plenty of water, be safe and most important enjoy your family and friends.