10 Tips for Attending a Concert by Boat

If you love the water and you love listening to live music, nothing could be better than attending a concert by boat.

Attending a concert by boat is a unique way to listen to live tunes, and it’s so much fun that we named it one of the top Summer Boating Activities for Your To-Do list. It’s also quite a popular way to attend a concert, and there are a surprising number of musical venues that are accessible by water all across the country. There are even some concerts put on solely for attendance by boat. Naturally, being fully prepared will only make the experience that much more fun. So, the next time you’re getting ready to go cruising for tunes remember these 10 tips for attending a concert by boat.


1. Boating safety comes before all else, so always dedicate someone aboard to be the sober skipper of the evening.

2. Be prepared to anchor your boat.  There will probably be a number of boats in attendance and possibly an entire fleet, and drifting around where other boats are anchored can get dangerous.

3. When you choose where to anchor, be sure there’s enough room between you and the nearest boats to swing on the anchor lines without coming into contact. Just how much distance is enough? This is to some degree a judgement call, but remember that in calm conditions you’ll have out a scope of around 7:1. So in 10 feet of water your boat will be swinging on 70 feet of line, and you have to assume that other boats will have out around the same amount.

4. Once you’re safely at anchor, shut down your engine(s) and any loud accessories your boat may have, like a generator. Even if they don’t seem loud to you, the noise they make may interfere with the experience of the other maritime concert-goers.

5. On most boats you’ll want your stern to face the music, so the cool tunes aren’t hindered by a windshield or cabin as you relax in the cockpit. If your boat settles the wrong way in the wind and/or current, you may be able to adjust position by running the anchor line to a spring cleat. Setting out a second anchor from the stern can help maintain the proper position, too. Just remember that you can only try these tricks in calm conditions. If there are waves around, it can be unsafe to have the anchor line secured anywhere other than the bow cleat.

6. Many boat-accessible concerts will continue on after dark, so prior to pushing off the dock make sure all of your gear for boating at night, like anchor lights, flashlights, and navigational electronics, are charged up and in good working order. If you don’t have experience being out on the water after dark, be sure to take a look at our Night Boating Tips

7. Don’t shine powerful spotlights on other boats attending the concert. It can be blinding for the boaters on the receiving end of that beam of light.

8. Be sure to carry an extra blanket and/or towels. Temperatures are usually cooler aboard a boat than they are on land, and especially if there’s a breeze, it can get surprisingly chilly even in the middle of the summer. So keeping a blanket and/or towels handy can be a lifesaver.

9. Pack plenty of munchies and drinks. Remember, you won’t be able to walk over to the concessions stand and what you bring with you will be the only food and drink available.

10. Consider taking your time about leaving when the concert is over. After the music stops, there will likely be a mass-migration of boats leaving the venue. And just as traffic congestion on land can make departing a concert difficult, the same sort of heavy congestion can occur on waterways. Particularly in restricted areas with tight channels this can lead to rather chaotic conditions as all the boats try to depart at the same time. Waiting a few minutes can make for a much more pleasurable, stress-free cruise back to the dock.

BONUS TIP: Have fun! After all, that’s why you got a boat in the first place, right?

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