How to Provision for Your Offshore Trip
Preparing for a day out on the water often means packing a cooler full of sandwiches, chips, fruit and drinks. It’s easy to think of what will get you through a day or two, but what if you plan to be away much longer than that? Would you know how much food and drink to store on your boat to get you through a week, or more, away from shore? Here are some things to consider as you plan provisions for a longer offshore trip.
Start With the Basics
Provisioning may be one of the biggest puzzles boaters face, but there are a few basic considerations that can help with your planning. First, figure out how long you will be offshore and when you’ll be able to purchase food again. Then, establish how many people you will be feeding during that time. You may also want to consider the types of appetite you and your traveling companions have — do you typically graze throughout the day or do you prefer to have a few heartier meals? What about your shipmates?
Also, depending on how many people will be on passage, the entire crew may not have the same meal time. With on and off watches, some of your crew mates may be on their sleep shift when you are ready for a meal. This could translate into smaller meals for one to two people instead of bigger meals for three or four. It may be helpful to be flexible with meals and schedules, as you (or a shipmate) may be preparing food for only one or two people at a time.
Consider Your Galley and Abilities
Before heading to the store, you may want to think about both your cooking abilities and the kitchen on your boat. If cooking is just not your thing or standing in a galley below deck for extended periods of time brings on seasickness, you may want to keep it simple — basics, like sandwiches or soup, may be a good option. You could also prepare a few easy-to-heat or premade meals, such as pasta or casseroles, before departure. You can simply warm them in the oven and won’t need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking.
Keep Food Fresh
Even if you love spending time in the galley preparing gourmet meals, there is still the potential problem of fresh food spoiling before you have the chance to eat it. You can use the Department of Agriculture’s FoodKeeper app to research the expiration of perishable foods and the best way to store them to maximize freshness. If you’re unsure if you are able to properly store your perishables, check with the Center for Disease Control on proper food storage temperatures and other safety tips.
Having nonperishable foods onboard may also be a smart choice as you will have more items that are packaged to have a longer shelf life. Don’t be afraid of canned meats either — adding your favorite spices and vegetables can make a tasty meal.
Have Fresh Water on Board
Fresh drinking water is an essential part of provisioning, regardless of the amount of time you’ll be spending on the water. Some boats are equipped with a water maker (a way to desalinate sea water into fresh drinking water), which allows them to fill their water tanks even away from shore. If your boat is not equipped to do this, you’ll need to bring water with you for your trip. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine generally recommend women get 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water each day, while men should get 3.7 liters (125 ounces). While you may get some water through food or other beverages, these amounts are a good guideline for how much water to carry per person for each day of your trip. If you are unsure of how many days it will be until you can provision again, err on the side of caution — it is better to have more drinking water than you need than it is to run out.
Planning provisions for an offshore trip can feel daunting, but a little planning and preparation you can help you enjoy some tasty meals while out on the water.