Have you ever considered hosting your next holiday party on a boat? You can elevate the party-going experience by taking the festivities to your nearest river or lake. You’ll give guests stunning views to complement the fun food and activities during their time on open waters.

Read on to find the complete guide to hosting holiday boat parties!

Figure Out Your Holiday Party Budget

Before you get knee-deep in planning, map out your budget first. After all, you don’t want to go overboard with spending and wipe away that Christmas bonus! How much you’re willing to spend also will dictate how many people you invite.

Account for items like the boat rental, food, beverages, and party decorations. You may need to factor in waitstaff or other personnel who will be there to assist. And you’ll need to hire a DJ or band if you want live music.

When you determine your priorities, you can look for places to save money. For instance, streaming music from a playlist would be far cheaper than hiring a band. And going with cans of beer would cost less than a menu of elaborate cocktails and wine.

Determine a Boat Party Theme

If you’re looking for easy holiday party ideas, use a theme as your focal point. For instance, you could go with an Under the Sea theme anchored by a seafoam green color scheme, bright fish, and steel drum music. Keep the colors consistent on your invitations, and ask guests to dress the part for your party.

Or capitalize on the holiday atmosphere and create a Christmas barge with candy canes, evergreens, and wicker reindeer. Partygoers will love seeing tufts of faux snow on the boat deck. String up some holiday lights to cement the sense of Christmas cheer!

As another option, go with a casino theme to see everyone dressed up in formal wear. Tuxes, slinky dresses, and perfectly coiffed hairstyles will keep the mood polished and fun. Just be sure to mention any wardrobe requirements in your invitation!

Plan Party Food and Drinks

Any partygoer will expect food and drinks, and you don’t want to underestimate how much you’ll need to have ready. Spend some time mapping out a menu that doesn’t blow your budget.

Work with a caterer or beverage manager to determine the quantity, and aim for a few options to appeal to different tastes. Go with finger foods, like mini quiches, to encourage movement and conversation. Alternatively, set up a taco station so people can assemble their own tasty treats.

And while you’re at it, you’ll need some games or other activities to keep the atmosphere lively. If you live in a scenic area, consider making a narrated tour of the city skyline part of the event. Or for a low-key event, park the boat in open water for some swimming, fishing, or dancing.

Send your guests home with a little party favor at the end of the event, too. You could go with a gingerbread cookie from the trendiest new bakery or some letterpress stationery. 

Include a handwritten note expressing gratitude for your guests, whether they’re close friends or employees. Your guests will appreciate the extra touch. And you might just find yourself on their guest list sometime soon!

Hosting Holiday Boat Parties Includes Safety Considerations

If any guests are leery of spending a few hours in the middle of a lake, you can reassure them with proper safety protocol. By ensuring that you have enough life vests for each person plus plenty of inflatable boats, you’ll provide the necessary safety measures.

Have first aid kits ready, as well as clean bathrooms and plenty of visible hand sanitizer. Make sure that you rent a boat with a stable railing, too, to prevent falls.

Using boats for parties is a lot of fun, but weather can blow apart even the best plans. Check the weather regularly and communicate it to guests as the event approaches. Speak to the boat rental company about your options to rebook or cancel if bad weather looms.

If the weather looks sunny and calm, it will be smooth sailing. But if a threatening storm blows through town, share that, too. Your guests will appreciate knowing that you’ve rescheduled the party or moved to solid ground.

Make a Holiday Boat Party Checklist

Ultimately, the best approach to party planning is one that is structured and detailed. In other words, you’ll want to create a checklist complete with assigned tasks, deadlines, and helpers. When you can delegate even some responsibilities, you won’t feel overwhelmed as the party date gets closer.

Be sure to add boat rental to your checklist on the front end. You want to be sure you can secure the right size boat to accommodate the number of guests you’ve invited. And you want to choose a rental package that gives you the amenities you need to ensure smooth sailing.

For instance, you may want a good sound system or atmospheric lighting for a nighttime party. Or it might be critical to have a few service staff present to help with serving food, cleaning, or directing guests. Be clear on your priorities and don’t be afraid to shop around.

Pursue the Best Holiday Party Ideas

Hosting holiday boat parties is a fun way to enhance any standard festive party. You can host a themed party to keep your activities, food, and dress code cohesive. And with an organized approach to planning and safety, you’ll keep your guests comfortable when you set sail.

Need more tips to make your parties a blast? Stop by our website for more informative articles on a range of topics!