Tips for Grilling on Your Boat

Boating is a fun way of spending time on the water with your friends and family. But after a tiring day of adventure, it’s certain that you will all feel hungry and it’s not cool if you’re just going to eat cold sandwiches for a snack. This is why it’s essential to have a griller on your boat.


Outdoor grilling has never been more popular as a food preparation opportunity, especially for boaters. It’s not just because there are lots of onboard grills available in the market but also because boat models in the present time come with standard or optional built-in grills. If you want to grill some barbecue on your next boating adventure, here are some tips that you may find useful.

Types of Boat Grills

If you want to try grilling on your boat, there are some things you should consider. First is the kind of griller you will put on your boat. Just like inland, there are three basic forms of boat grills which are charcoal, gas, and electric.

  • Charcoal Boat Grill

Steak or freshly caught fish cooked over charcoal is the best, however, this method is only great for people with a lot of patience. For boats, the most popular charcoal grill is the small, round stainless still grill that can be clamped onto any handrail. Some models also have an adaptor slot to attach on a rod holder.

When you use a charcoal boat grill, make sure that it is swung clear of the boat when lit to avoid any hot ashes to fall onto the boat deck and cause damage, or worse, start a fire. Charcoal grills work well and it’s easy to use because no additional starter fluid is required. They also cost less, making it a good choice if you don’t plan to grill onboard very often. However, the downside is that the stored fuel must be kept dry, and it also takes up a lot of space on the boat.

  • Gas Boat Grill

Gas or propane grills that are made for boats are now widely used. They come in different sizes, from small compact units that are great for family use to larger ones that can serve about 20 people. It is the go-to choice for many boaters because fuel is cheap and easy to find.

Though it is a great choice, gas boat grills have their own specific hazards as well. Gas is known to be heavier than air, therefore, you should not use a gas grill above an open locker or companionway. It’s because any leaking gas will fall to the lowest point which can result in an explosive mixture.

  • Electric Boat Grill

You can have an electric grill onboard if your boat has a consistent source of AC power which can either be from shore power or a generator. Most electric grills are built into the boat, usually on the flybridge. And unlike smaller gas and charcoal grills, electric grills can’t be detached.

The only dilemma about electric boat grills is the price, which is much higher compared to gas grills, as well as the amount of electricity it needs. What’s great about it, on the other hand, is you can use it in grill places where charcoal and gas might be prohibited. Also, it is a safer choice because it does not have any flame.

Safety Tips

Nothing beats having delicious barbecues onboard that are fresh from the grill, but you should also remember to be safe. It’s because being careless with the grill on board may hurt you or even cause damage to your boat. Here are some of the general precautions that can be applied when using any type of boat grill.

  • Read the manual: It’s important to read the grill’s manual first because it will help you find information on everything from assembly to safe operation tips. If something is not clear on the manual, you can clarify it to the manufacturer by giving them a call.
  • Grill above decks in an open area: Remember that barbecue grills are made to use in open and well-ventilated areas. Never try to grill down below in the galley or in an enclosed area in your boat.
  • Make sure the grill is mounted securely before using it: It’s better if you use grills that can be mounted on the boat. Portable and camping type grills are not advisable on boats because they can easily slide around or tip-over.
  • Never leave the grill unattended: When you’re grilling, never leave the lit grill unattended. You should also keep a method of fire control near the grilling area such as a fire extinguisher, a fire bucket, or a fire blanket.
  • Use proper grilling utensils: To avoid burns due to pops and splatters, make sure to use long-handled barbecue utensils like tongs and forks.
  • Wear grill-safe clothes: Avoid wearing thongs, speedos, and the likes while grilling. Wearing baggy, and loose clothes, as well as bikini wraps, are also not advisable when grilling because those clothes can catch fire.

Boat Grill Recommendations

If you’re looking for a good boat grill to take on your next boat trip, here are some of the best ones that we recommend.
Where to Buy
Extreme Marine Products Boat Grill
Magma Marine Kettle Gas Grill
Kuuma Elite Gas Grill for Boats
Magma Marine Electric Grill
Char-Broil Portable Grill

1. Extreme Marine Products Boat Grill

Very Easy – Brackets come pre-installed in the box with the Grill.

This is a good looking, durable, and easy to use boat grill. It comes with a solid mounting bracket perfect for open rails where you can mount it. You do not need any other tools to install it securely on your boat because the brackets it comes with are already pre-installed. It has a 145 square inches of grilling surface, enough to serve your whole family.

2. Magma Marine Kettle Gas Grill

Swiveling, windproof turbo venturi & control valve virtually eliminate blowouts, places the fuel valve where it’s safe and convenient.

This is a great grill to use when boating because it has a swiveling, windproof turbo venturi and a control valve which can eliminate blowouts. It is made of 100 percent mirror polished stainless steel which is easy to clean. Its lid can also be rotated and it acts as a windshield during gusty wind conditions.

3. Kuuma Elite Gas Grill for Boats

Stow N Go 316 Elite Gas Grill features 316 Square Inches of Cooking Surface Stainless Steel Construction Includes Lift & Clean Liner Warming Rack Integral Folding Legs for Tabletop Use Stay-cool Handle Latching Lid Built-in Thermometer & Piezo Igniter.

This is a large gas grill for boats where you can grill many foods at the same time. It can also be mounted on your boat’s railings. It is a great choice if you often invite many friends and family members to have an onboard grill party.

4. Magma Marine Electric Grill

Designed for today’s eco friendly boater who doesn’t want to substitute quality for cost. The “Cabo” is 120V / 1500W electric grill made entirely of 18-9 mirror polished marine grade stainless steel.

If your boat has a reliable source of AC power, this electric grill is a great choice. It is a durable, stainless steel electric grill that will enable you to grill barbecues onboard safely.

5. Char-Broil Portable Grill

Cast aluminum firebox and lid with dual stainless steel latches and temp gauge, High-impact frame with legs and carry handles.

This is a road worthy and built to travel grill that is perfect to use on boats as well. It also does not flare-up because its system is powered by infrared. It also does not use propane that much. This is an inexpensive grill that has an impressive performance.

We hope this will help you pick the best grill for you boat that will enable you to cook delicious barbecue while on board. Also, do not forget the safety tips we shared, for you to have a fun and enjoyable boating adventure.