5 Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving on a Boat

Here’s the plain and honest truth, as undeniable as the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic itself: Thanksgiving 2020 will be unlike any other Thanksgiving in all of American history. But, for boaters, what everybody else is interpreting as bad news may actually turn out to be good news.

celebrating thanksgiving on a boat

Here's five simple reminders if you're considering hosting Thanksgiving dinner on your boat.

5 Reasons for Boaters to be Thankful this Thanksgiving


1. Keep It Small

According to guidelines for holiday celebrations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the safer way to enjoy Thanksgiving this year is with a small outdoor gathering of local friends and family in a location where COVID-19 rates are low, and where attendees can maintain at least 6 feet of socially distanced space between them.

That sure sounds like the cockpit or flybridge of a midsize boat, for a gathering of four to six people.

2. Utilize Your Outdoor Spaces

Indeed, many boats about 35 feet length overall or bigger have outdoor spaces where chairs can be positioned at least 6 feet apart for a group of four to six people—especially if those people are, say, two or three couples, and those couples can place their chairs closer together, in a two-by-two arrangement.

The same fresh-air breezes that all boaters love at anchor will be present during a Thanksgiving meal on board, and the boat owner can feel safe knowing that nobody will want to come inside the boat’s enclosed spaces at all.

3. Plan Your Meal in Advance

hosting thanksgiving on a boat

That last bit, about people staying in the on-deck areas, is in turn ideal for anyone cooking Thanksgiving dinner aboard.

Galleys aboard boats are notoriously small, and cooks are always wishing that guests would give them a bit more space. This year, more than ever, that space will be sacred. It can be devoted entirely to plating individual portions, to avoid sharing utensils or buffet-style interactions.

5 Tips for Cooking on a Boat


4. Remember that Boating is the Best Social Distancing Activity

And here’s the best news of all: The CDC also says that after hosting a gathering where you are with people, you should take extra precautions, including avoiding being around any other people, for the next 14 days.

Think about what happens when everyone leaves the boat once the Thanksgiving dinner is done. You’re there alone, perhaps with your spouse, in the perfect socially distanced environment. Could there possibly be any better excuse for a two-week cruise aboard your boat, to a remote anchorage in a beautiful setting?

5. Enjoy Yourself—and Give Thanks

It’s the ideal boat-based plan not only for a great Thanksgiving, but also for a great post-Thanksgiving getaway. Yes, yes, we know—the pandemic means this year’s holiday season is shaping up to be a real turkey. But if you have a boat, there’s a chance to add some pretty nifty trimmings to this holiday.

Being able to have a Thanksgiving celebration this year is good. All the rest that comes with boating is pure gravy.

Read Next: Holiday Gift Guide for Boaters

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