Boat Food and Drink Accessories: Coolers and Grills
When it comes to boat trip food and drinks, coolers and grills are essential accessories to have onboard, especially for daylong and overnight trips. You're going to get hungry and thirsty, so a grill will come in handy for a proper meal, while the cooler speaks for itself.
Here's a quick look at two boat accessories that deserve much love for helping to keep boat passengers and crew fed and hydrated: boat grills and coolers.
Boat Refrigeration: Coolers
Refrigeration is the simple act of making something colder than it would be if it were left in ambient temperature. Carrying a cooler or ice chest on board qualifies as boat refrigeration, but depending on the length of your trip, it might not be an adequate means of keeping food edible.
Coolers are designed to cool foods and drinks for short periods of time. If you need refrigeration for trips longer than 8 hours, consider installing a marine or portable refrigerator and/or freezer on your boat to ensure everything stays cool.
If you’re limiting refrigeration on your boat to just a cooler, make sure to get a cooler mounting kit for securing it from sliding off the boat. And just for convenience, get a connectible cooler tray to have cold drinks readily available out on the water without having to climb back onboard every time you want a refreshment.
How Much Refrigeration Does Your Boat Need?
Refrigeration keeps food edible longer by slowing its bacterial growth. The colder the refrigeration temperature, the less the bacterial growth. And of course, the more refreshing the drinks.
Refrigerators are designed to cool and preserve foods such as fruit, vegetables and pre-cooked meals in a chilled state. However, raw meats don’t last as long when refrigerated and must either be cooked within a couple of days or kept in a freezer.
Coolers, on the other hand, use ice packed into an enclosed space so that when food touches the ice, it absorbs some of the food’s heat. But as it does, the ice begins to melt. The cooling process is “powered” by the ice. Standard coolers don’t have an external power source, so consider a permanent refrigeration system for longer trips and for unexpected emergencies where you may be stranded out at sea.
A cooler of 100 quarts or larger should be enough to keep food and drinks cold for a while, or to preserve your catch until you’re back on shore.
Overnight trips, weekend cruises and longer journeys in general need a permanent refrigeration system. There are several types of marine refrigeration systems available that are powered by the boat’s electrical system when on the water and by shore power when moored. Self-contained and portable refrigeration units are easy to install and come in various sizes and capacities. Or consider converting an icebox on a boat into a fridge.
When you think of food and drinks on boats, don’t forget the grill. It complements the cooler for making boat trips more enjoyable experiences. Whether you’re doing a daylong or overnight trip, having a grill on board allows you to enjoy hot meals in the comfort of your boat. Even if you’re not staying in your boat overnight, just anchoring off an island or near a sandbar can keep the party going with a cookout on land.
Consider buying a stainless steel grill that’s light and portable, and allows you to grill on your boat’s deck, on a dock or nearby land. For easy storage and transportation, seek out a grill that has fold-away legs to grill on the go, and has a sizable cooking surface area and maximum airflow to prevent blowouts.
Being able to cook real meals also helps intoxicated boaters sober up better than your typical cooler snacks. And if you’re ready to eat your catch of the day, you don’t have to wait to go home before enjoying your prize.