Yacht Charter packages offer a wide variety of options from luxury cruising with a full crew to no crew at all. My most recent charter package included a great Captain but no cook so we had to provision the boat ourselves and this article will provide valuable insight that I learned along the way.
Provisioning a boat is no harder than grocery shopping for your family but it take a little extra planning and creativity. Provisioning should be one of your last activities before setting sail so plan accordingly. I recommend planning your major stops before provisioning because the number of shore meals will effect the provisioning requirements. Before we get started there are some things to consider:
Refrigeration: Many smaller yachts do not have refrigeration and others only have refrigeration when the boat is hooked up to shore power so youíll want to find out if you will have any form of refrigeration. Ice takes over where refrigeration ends and a 5 pound bag of ice will last 24 to 36 hours. You may need up to 25 pounds of ice each day if you both beverage and food coolers.
Kitchen: Not all yacht kitchens are created equal, if possible I recommend that you conduct a kitchen survey so you know what youíre working with. Do you have a stove, a colander, spices, glasses, plates, coffee percolator, grill?
Water: When youíre at sea (even if the ambient temperature is low) you will need a minimum of 2 liters of water each day. How much water do the yachtís tanks hold and is it drinking quality water? Remember that the water tanks will also be used for showers, cooking, and washing dishes.
Perishables: Everything gets wet at sea so donít expect an opened package of crackers to stay fresh for longer than 24 hours. Mold forms on bread within days and most perishables will likely have a shorter life than youíre used to.
Alcohol: Iím not a drinker but I remember from college days that you always need more than you think, so make sure you bring enough for more than your first night.
I recommend a 4 step approach to provisioning your yacht for a week long trip. Longer trips require much more planning so that wonít be covered in this article.
1. Get non food items out of the way first. Youíll need paper products, trash bags, soap, sunscreen, charcoal (if required0, basic medicines and a first aid kit.
2. Plan simple meals with ingredients that can be mixed and matched. Determine how many meals will be prepared on the yacht and then come up with meals that everyone will enjoy. Know how many people you will be feeding and plan accordingly. Cooking on a boat can be cramped and challenging so I recommend minimizing dirty dishes and planning meals with that can be served twice (we grilled steaks for dinner and then had steak sandwiches the following day for lunch). Meals prepared with fresh foods will go first and canned / dried foods will be better towards the end of the week. Make sure you have spices, oil, butter, milk and other basics.
3. Buy plenty of drinks and snacks. Nuts, Cheese, Crackers, and Fruit are always my favorites. Pringles stay fresh because of the can so they are a good option if you are a chip eater.
4. Plan a re-provisioning stop because things always run out.
Hopefully these suggestions help alleviate the stress of provisioning a boat so that you can spend your next vacation enjoying the Yacht and the smell of the sea. Bon Voyage!