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Packing a boat lunch - Best lunch foods to pack for a day on the boat

Published April 16th, 2021 by Bernardo

Sinking your teeth into a fresh sandwich crafted from a soft hoagie bun with crisp lettuce and tomatoes, filled with thinly sliced deli meat is the epitome of satisfaction during a hot, sandy, salty day on the boat. It seems to fill the stomach and gratify the tastebuds in ways that a sandwich on land never can. What happens though, if you bite into a soggy sandwich when you’re expecting a delightful meal? How do you avoid such abhorrent disappointment on what was supposed to be your perfect day on the water? Let’s explore some foods we can pack aboard dayboats along with strategies to make sure your meal is easy, clean, convenient, and lasts fresh through lunchtime!

How to craft the perfect boat sandwich

Sandwiches seem simple, and they truly are if you don’t over-complicate things. They make for the perfect meal on the go, as they offer carbs, protein, healthy fats, and vegetables if you wish. First, let’s start with the bread. You want to opt for a firm bread that will hold up all day and offer a filling base for the fixings. Choose rolls such as hoagie rolls, sub rolls, hard rolls, or even Hawaiian rolls if you would like sliders. Next, go easy on the mayonnaise and mustard. Saturated bread will leave you with a lackluster sandwich. Next, we are just going to add meat and cheese. That is all. For the optimal meal, choose fresh-sliced meat, like turkey or ham, and cheddar cheese from the deli counter rather than pre-packaged lunch meat from the refrigerator aisle. To keep both the veggies and the bread crisp, we are going to package tomato slices and romaine lettuce in separate containers. Wait until it’s time to eat, then assemble the vegetables.


When bringing snacks aboard, it is important to make sure you pack foods that are easy to eat without being too messy. Keep in mind that you will have to “pack out” any waste you bring aboard and clean the boat when you’re done. For this reason, it is good to limit the lightweight trash you bring along, like napkins and chip bags.

Fruit is a filling, refreshing snack to pack, as there is no risk of it getting soggy. Fruit will also provide hydration and much-needed carbohydrates. There is nothing more repulsive than swimming at a sandbar, just to find someone’s chewed-up apple core floating beside you. For this reason, choose cut fruit such as melon, pineapple, and grapes. Vegetables are another fantastic option, as they are nutritious and filling without running the risk of getting waterlogged. Try to pack them in a reusable container that won’t easily fly away in the wind.

Snacks like goldfish, pretzels, sandwich crackers, and cookies (avoid chocolate chip) are great, too, and provide a quick bite when you need something small to refuel. Just remember to pack away the discarded wrappers in a dedicated trash area, such as a hatch or bag that has a closure.

Packing your cooler

Now, how do you pack snacks and meals in your cooler? By all means, do not drop everything directly on top of the ice! There is a specific manor to icing your foods to keep everything appetizing. The bottom of the cooler should contain ice and drinks. Make a layer of ice, position your canned or bottled drinks within, and top with ice to fill in all the crevices. Next, add your containers of wet snacks, like your cut fruit and vegetables, atop of the ice.

Now comes the secret trick to packing your lunch perfectly. Take your sandwiches and pack them in individual lunch baggies. Now, place them in a plastic container with no lid. Place them directly on top of the upper layer of ice. This way, your sandwiches will stay cold but ventilated without directly touching the ice. This adds an extra layer of protection and ensures your sandwiches will never touch the wet ice.

What to avoid

There are several items you may wish to avoid on your boating adventures. One item is glass. Avoid foods packed in glass, like pickles or drinks. These are still great items to bring along, but be sure to repackage them in plastic containers to avoid breakage and a potential hazard to your family. Also, avoid soggy sandwich fillings like chicken or tuna salad. Some salty mariners may suggest you leave the bananas ashore, but if you’re not superstitious, you can leave these fears ashore instead. Avoid items that require utensils to eat if you do not have a full galley to avoid packing extra items.

You will naut be disappointed

With these tips in mind, you are sure to pack the perfect meal for your passengers. Whether adult or child, your whole crew is sure to enjoy the filling and fresh lunch you brought aboard. For all your boating needs, as well as support and guidance for getting out on the water, make sure to contact Nautical Ventures at any of our five Florida locations in, Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Sarasota, and Tampa Bay.

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