Next level your boat trip with provisions for an amazing dinner!

The boat trip. Those three words transport us. Plotting the course, dreaming of the passages, and planning provisions. If cruising is your favorite pastime, then dinner on the boat is the ending to a perfect day. Take your boat trip to the next level with provisions for amazing dinners — built from a quick visit to a farmer’s market, thoughtfully packed cooler, and if you’re lucky, a fresh catch.

I’ve been excited to share a professional tip I overheard at the boat show last winter. Some salty charter captains were chatting about packing frozen, vacuum-sealed proteins that are fully cooked via the sous-vide method. This conversation set me off into a whirl of recipe planning.

Cooler Packing Smarts

Using fully cooked and sealed frozen foods as packing ice in the cooler is just brilliant. It means little to no wasted cooler space. Because the packages are fully sealed, you don’t have to worry about water leaking into your other ingredients. And, there are so many options for beautifully seasoned, sous-vide meats ranging from steak and lamb to chicken and roasts.

Once thawed, the portions simply need to be removed from the bags and seared on a hot BBQ grill or pan, whatever suits the moment. The captains at the boat show chatted at length about sailing all day, setting anchor and tucking into a gorgeous prime rib twenty-five minutes after setting the hook. (Winning!)

Sous-Vide Know How

Sous-vide isn’t difficult. However, it does take a little time and planning. For this trip I made up a couple steaks and chicken skewers, just to get familiar with the process and take some photos. If you plan to marinate your meat, do so prior to vacuum sealing. This is especially important with chicken, as you want it to really soak up the flavor. I love marinating chicken in pickle juice. It makes for an amazing chicken sandwich.

Many chefs like to put butter, rosemary, and garlic in the bag with steak. That can be good, but I prefer steak to be very straight forward with a ground salt and pepper rub. For pork and beef roasts, you’ll want to give them a thick layer of spice rub and herbs to intensify their flavors. Remember, if you don’t love your protein, you can have another glass of wine and eat the side dishes. The trip will still be a fun memory and breakfast is only a few hours away.

The time-consuming element of preparing sous-vide is that the cuts all cook at different times and temperatures. You’ll have to set aside time for making meals throughout the planning period of your boat trip. But let’s be honest, spending time in the kitchen thinking about provisions for your boat trip will just start that dream cycle again. Ahh, the boat trip.

Get to Dinner in Style

What if you’re thinking of taking several local trips this year rather than one long haul? Local boating is a great way to spend the weekend. You can meet your dinner party goals by having your guests take a seaplane flight to a local cove like Poulsbo, Port Ludlow or even Andrew’s Bay on Lake Washington.

My husband, Mike, and I recently hopped on a Kenmore Air seaplane to do just that. Our friends simply gave Kenmore their coordinates. Then, we hopped on a quick scenic charter with our fully loaded cooler. The flight was stunning and the experience of stepping off a seaplane into an awaiting dinghy was so quintessentially Northwest we were spoiled before we’d even fully settled in.

Our hosts had a batch of Pirate Pucker ready for our arrival — ensuring we were greeted with a celebratory toast the moment we boarded. Then, the four of us settled in for a fuss-free, slow sunset dinner cruise. It’s an evening we won’t soon forget.

Sous-Vide Steak with Peanut Noodle Salad

Sous-Vide Steak with Peanut Noodle Salad

  • Season steaks generously with salt and pepper or spice rub of choice.
  • Vacuum seal steaks. Up to 2 small steaks per bag.
  • Fill a tub with plenty of water and secure sous-vide.

Do a quick internet query on timing and temperature based on the thickness of your cut.
Once sous-vide is complete: freeze to use later or cut out of bag for immediate enjoyment.

When ready to serve:

  • Allow the steak to come to room temp.
  • Sear the steak on a hot pan or grill.
  • Top with a knob of butter and enjoy with any side dish. 

Peanut Noodle Salad

This dish is also seriously delish over rice.

  • Package of cooked fettuccini noodles (or a few cups of cooked rice)
  • 5 cups julienned veggies such as cabbage, carrots, radish and peppers (use a mandolin)
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 1 cup boiled salted peanuts


  • 1 TBS crushed or grated fresh ginger (substitute with powder or frozen cubes if you can't get fresh)
  • 1 TBS crushed fresh garlic (or frozen cubes from Trader Joe’s)
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter or crushed peanuts
  • Juice from a lime
  • ½ cup mirin, sherry or fruit juice
  • 2 slugs of soy sauce
  • Sugar or sweetener to taste
  • 3 TBS sesame or olive oil
  • Hot sauce or chili flakes to taste

In a blender, blend all ingredients together until smooth. Toss pasta, veggies and dressing and serve with sliced steak. Alternatively, quick sauté veggies and serve over rice with steak, pour dressing over the top. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds.

Pirate Pucker

Pirate Pucker

  • 3 cups squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  • 3 cans of soda water (unflavored or citrus flavor)
  • Jarred cocktail cherries and their juice
  • Optional: vodka
  • Garnish: mint leaves, limes, umbrellas

Mix together the lemon juice, simple syrup and soda, set aside for multiple uses. Put 3 to 4 cherries and one spoonful of cherry juice at the bottom of a glass. Fill glass with ice. Add vodka if using. Top with the lemon soda. Garnish at your whimsy. 

Boat Transfer Tip

Seaplane Boat Transfer

In order for a successful transfer, your vessel must be no taller than 9 feet from the water’s surface. This ensures it won’t hit the wings. Generally speaking, this means transfers happen using a dinghy. However, kayaks, sea-doos, stand-up paddle boards, and canoes have all been used.

Contact the Charters Department

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