It’s a really important consideration, as sea or 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.
You also have the issue of wanting to keep your boat free from food debris, as not only is a pain to clean out of deck carpet, but will also end up leading to rat or mice infestation if you don’t take the time to clear up, then leave your boat in storage for prolonged periods.
Ultimately though, you will need boat food storage ideas that aren’t just going to help safeguard your passengers’ health, but also practical and easy.
With that in mind, here are my top ideas on how to store food on a boat.
Keep Hot and Cold Foods Apart
Let’s start with the basics.
To avoid contamination, you should always keep hot and cold food separate. Any raw meat should never come into contact with ready to eat food.
Food poisoning is bad at the best of times, but having it on a boat? That’s an entirely different level of problem which I don’t feel they need to go into too much here.
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: If you don’t want to buy coolers or refrigeration, check out this list of the best finger food ideas you can take on a boat trip.
Portable Cooler Boxes for Boats
Talking of coolers, making sure that your food and drinks are kept cool on a hot summer’s day will make a massive difference to the day’s enjoyment.
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.
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 built-in ice crusher, Bluetooth speaker, USB charger, bottle opener, and LED lid.
Overkill for storing good on your boat?
Possibly, but it’s certainly going to prove a talking point!
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 Bestek electric 30 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.
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.
Gear hammocks are very maritime looking 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.
They are relatively inexpensive too, and small enough to store away without taking up any essential space when not being used. Go take a look at them including the latest prices.
A word of warning though; don’t hang them up against the wall, as one strong wake or wave and you could have a mess of eggs to clear up!
Handy Hint: I recently listed some easy boat food recipes that you can cook up on board if you have the right equipment.
Best Food Storage Containers for Boats
These are 100% necessary when storing food on your boat, even more so if 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 at sea or 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.
Ultimately, it’s down to the space that you have on board, but regardless, buy boat food storage containers that have secure lids, you won’t regret it!
It’s critically important, as pests and critters will be the main source of food contamination on your boat, so you need to take extra steps to ensure all items are safely and securely stored, plus you clean up after yourself.
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 lockers and cupboards (see how to get rid of boat cockroaches)
- Dilute eucalyptus oil with a little water and spray onto the shelves to stop weevils
- The smell of cinnamon discourages ants and scrounging for food
Handy Hint: If your boat has a spider infestation, here are some tips on how you can deal with it.
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 including:
- 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
- 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
Handy Hint: Looking for healthy boat snacks that don’t need any form of refrigeration? Then click here.