Provisioning a boat for a week-long trip could be a challenging endeavour for someone who has to do it for the first time. You might be used to buying groceries for a week for your home, but several specific features of living on a boat should be taken into account when provisioning. The specific conditions that come with living on a boat include: limited refrigeration availability, limited storage space, small size cooking areas, limited space for trash, the rocking motions of the boat, interaction with salt water, high level of humidity (in tropical climates), etc. One should take into account all these factors when provisioning for a week-long boat trip, but where to start? Unless you are planning to make your voyage solo, you should start by talking to your crewmates and decide on the menu for the entire week, don’t forget to ask them if they are allergic to anything.
Letting the charter company do it
Before you run to the grocery store you should be aware of all of your options for your boat provisioning. If you are chartering a boat, then you don’t have to provision the boat for yourself. Even if you charter the boat without a skipper, you can still chose the option of the charter company to provision your boat for you. This option as any other has its ups and downs. It will prove to be more expensive than going shopping by yourself, but it will avoid you the hassle of spending your time and thinking of the logistics to move all the groceries from the store into the boat. In addition, if it is your first time taking a week-long trip, then it would be advisable to ask the charter company to do it for you, as they have a lot of experience and know what type of products you will need, and don’t worry, you can always tell them your drink preference and ask them to get specific items.
Provisioning the boat yourself
This option gives you the advantage of being able to pick each ingredient and meal that you will be having on your trip and getting them at a lower price. If you chose this option you should do a couple of things before going to the store. After talking to your crew, you should create a provisioning plan that will be based on the menu that you all agreed upon. Once that is done, you should do some research into where you can purchase the items that you need and what restaurants are available along your planned route. The availability of this products and the proximity of the stores to your boat will depend on the destination from where you are planning to set sail. One possible way of doing this research is by simply to contact the store manager of the store that you think might be right for your needs and ask him/her if the store has all the products that you are looking for. In some locations, like the US or the British Virgin Islands yachting is so popular that a lot of the stores within the proximity of the marinas will offer their own provisioning plans and have a person designated to help their sailing customers to find everything they need to provision their boat.
The exact nature of the provisions you will choose will greatly depend on your meal preference, and on whether you have decided to eat a lot of the dinners out in the restaurants of the many destinations along your sailing route. A general Provisioning plan should however include a mixture of fresh products, non-perishable and canned goods. When selecting your products you should always think about the space that they will take when storing them and when putting the containers into the trash. Space is one of the main limitations of a boat and one should always keep this in mind when purchasing anything that will go on the boat. An important thing to keep in mind with respect to containers is that cardboard and paper labels can be breeding grounds for bugs, and as such you should avoid bringing them into the boat. With canned goods for example, you can remove the paper label and wash the can with a mixture of bleach and water, and after drying, write the contents of the can on the top lid with a permanent marker so that you can easily see the contents of the can when it is stored in a vertical compartment such as under the sofa or within the floor stowage compartments.
All of these preparations and considerations can be overwhelming for some, and others can survive on just one type of product that they are happy to have all day, every day. In the end the choice is yours!