Groceries for your Yacht
Are you about to stock your new yacht full of groceries for the first time? If so, check out our helpful guide to filling your fridge and pantry shelves before sailing off for weeks or months at a time.
The following tips are for boaters who plan to set sail for more than just a few days. The items listed below are a great place to start if you’ve never done something like this before.
Staples and Other Non-Perishables
Staples in this case refer to non-perishable items that can be used in many different ways. Some suggestions include:
- Rice and oats
- Beans and lentils
- White and brown sugars
- Powdered milk for coffee, tea, or cereal
- Cereals (if you have the space!)
- Canned goods such as soups, veggies, and sauces
Pro Tip #1: Avoid packing bread with you and instead opt to buy it fresh whenever you can make it to a supermarket or local bakery. Bread doesn’t fair well in the humid environment of boating. Things like English muffins, tortillas, and bagels will likely work out a bit better than a loaf of sliced bread.
Pro Tip #2: For staples and snacks, shopping in the bulk section can be a huge money saver.
Pro Tip #3: Depending on where you’re headed, you might be able to score staples like beans and grains at your destination port for cheaper than you would buy them for at home.
Snacks are essential for all different types of boating. Skippering a boat, swimming, and other watersports definitely work up an appetite, and hearty snacks can really save the day out there. So definitely bring all your favourite snacks on board.
Some snacks you might want to take aboard your boat:
- Nuts and dried fruits (trail mixes)
- Granola bars and energy bars
- Fruit snacks and fruit leathers
- Pudding cups
- Chips and popcorn
- Chocolate (in some regions good chocolate can be hard to come by, so stash some of your favourite chocolate bars)
Pro Tip #4: For your storage solutions, remember to pack resealable plastic or glass containers, Ziploc bags, and chip bag clips to keep things sealed up and protected against the open sea air.
Spices & Condiments
Be selective about which condiments you bring on board. Fridge space is limited, as are some cupboards. However, the shelf life on many condiments is pretty good, so it can be worth it to spare some space for all your favourite flavour enhancers. Choose items you’re particular about cooking with, and any special items you don’t think you’ll be able to find in other countries.
Some basic condiments include:
- Cooking oil
- Grilling sauces
- Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise
- Soy sauce
- Curry powder
- Peanut butter & jam
- Salt & pepper
- Oregano & basil
- Powdered bouillon cubes (chicken or beef stock)
Pro Tip #5: Portion off small amounts of spices you already own into small Ziplock bags for compact storage and to avoid having to buy duplicate bottles of anything.
It’s possible to pack fresh produce on board your boat. Choose things that will last you longer than a week or two, such as apples, oranges, citrus fruit, onions, and garlic. Avoid bananas, berries, and avocados. Truly fresh produce can be obtained from the ports of the regions you visit, depending on where you’re going.
Some cheeses keep for many weeks, making them a relatively safe choice if there is room in the fridge. Butter, eggs, and yogurt also keep for awhile and would make sense to bring if you enjoy those foods.
Pro Tip #6: The more fresh food you can vacuum-pack, the better!
Yachting can be thirsty work, so in addition to your favourite coffees and teas, be sure to bring enough non-alcoholic drink choices on board to keep life interesting while you’re away. Again, it all comes down to personal preference, but things like pop, juice, hot chocolate mix, and non-dairy milk are all nice to have on board. For ease of packing, consider drink crystals, which can be easier to lug around than flats of juice.
Depending on your method of obtaining fresh drinking water on board, you might also choose to have a flat or two of bottled water around. Each person on board should have access to no less than 1.5 litres of fresh drinking water per day.
Pro Tip #7: If your yacht does not have a wet bar with an ice box or mini fridge in the cockpit, have a cooler on deck to keep drinks cool and accessible throughout the day. This also helps avoid having to open and close your galley’s fridge all day, which can draw a lot of power.
Grocery shopping in order to stock the pantry includes cleaning supplies like:
- Dish soap, hand soap
- Dishcloths, paper towels
- Scrubbies for pots and pans
- Garbage bags
- Laundry soap
- Toilet paper
- Broom and mop
You can pick all these items up at the supermarket, so be sure to add them to your list. View our full boating equipment checklist.
Grocery shopping for your boating trip differs a lot depending on who will be on board with you. If it’s just going to be you and another person, things are more straightforward, since you know what you like and what your partner likes and generally how much food you both will go through during your trip.
However, if you’ll be entertaining guests, or bringing small children on board, things get trickier. For instance, kids will be tough to gauge because they will likely have larger appetites while they are out on the boat and getting tons of exercise during various water sports. The best way to ration is to plan ahead, write down how many people on board multiplied by how many meals required, and then you have something to start with.
It can be helpful to include your guests in this planning phase, perhaps by delegating some meal responsibilities. Coordinate ingredient lists and don’t worry if it feels like you’re overthinking it – getting your food right is so important and will lead to everyone having a memorable trip.
Pro Tip #8: Research make-ahead meals that might be nice to bring if your yacht has a freezer. Some online resources have recipes for bag meals, which involve tossing everything you would toss into a slow cooker into a freezer bag until you are ready to go.
If possible, get a list of any dietary restrictions and special diets of people who will be boarding your boat with you. Run the menu by guests beforehand if possible. Asking everyone’s preferences before setting sail helps avoid awkwardness and people going hungry until the next port.
To fill in any gaps, visit various ports to stock up on the all the fresh fruits and veggies, meats, cheeses, and breads each region is known for. You might also find that you can catch some of your meals if you remember to bring your fishing gear!
Final Tip: Many grocery stores offer delivery services nowadays, allowing you to arrange a drop-off of all your groceries for your boat right to your marina of choice!
For more things you must bring with you while boating (besides food!) check out our blog post on Sailing Essentials – What to Bring on Your Boat.
When it comes to packing the best foods for an extended boating trip, we hope the above list helps you determine what is most important to bring. Many of the yachts for sale at Van Isle Marina come with more than enough storage space for you to leave plenty of staples on board year-round. We also have storage lockers available to further assist with your boating supplies while you moor with us.