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Skipper’s Corner – It’s Time for Eats Onboard!

You’re going on your boat for a day of fishing with the crew, or perhaps a day with family and friends. What’s the best way to handle this on your vessel? Over the years I have observed many dos and don’ts when it comes to dealing with culinary needs for guests. Here are some tips.
A: ICE – You never have “too much” ice!!!! This is essential! Keep your food and drinks in a good ice chest that is very clean and insulated. A poly bag from Food Rite won’t cut it. Fishermen generally combine food and drinks in large filthy coolers filled with ice to keep tuna they caught and bled, fresh. Eventually, all drinks and sandwiches take on a “Pinkish” film. Yep! Very appetizing and bacteria-ising (Newly invented word) You get the idea!
On a pleasure boat, keep spoilable food iced and separate from drinks. Put food in large, sealed food bags. Your sandwiches, especially with mayo, go south fast- keep them out of the sun and in a cooler. The same is true of the bagels with butter and cream cheese you started the day with. All your chips and pretzels don’t need to be in the cooler. But if kept out of the sun, they just taste much better except in the case of Frito’s which quite frankly, I like warm or turbid.
B: MAKE IT EASY! – Don’t overdo your preparation unless you own a yacht like Bill Gates. Do away with canape trays dressed with fresh basil or funky edible flowers. It’s more to do, wash and handle, taking you away from enjoying a day out on the water or trying to unclog the head again. By the way, only once did a guest come fishing on my boat and bring a tray garnished with edible flowers. The abuse he took convinced him to take up competitive knitting. Don’t bring GLASS anything on a vessel. It’s unwieldy, shatters and barefoot guests bleed. Far worse is what glass can do to your gel coat when it’s dropped. It dinks, dings and spiders the surface. While it’s expensive to repair a gashed foot, it’s intolerable to mess up your gel coat. Also-hot soups were great for sailors on wooden schooners a hundred years ago-but drop a cup of chowder on your lap while you’re in your swimming trunks and you’ll consider your sunburn “Cool”!
Pizza is a definite no! An overeager woman tore the lid off the box of a large pepperoni pie with extra cheese. She sat on the overstuffed vinyl transom bench. Just then the captain nailed the throttle. Those blood-curdling screams when the pie met her hungry face haunted me.
C: EATING ETIQUETTE – Just because you’re on a boat relaxing, sunning, entertaining or fishing does not mean you have a free license to be a slob, unless you’ve always been one. No chewing with open mouths. A boat is a small place. A little thing like that becomes annoying. Keep your food IN your mouth. Don’t get someone seasick because you have coleslaw dangling from your beard, swinging with the movement of the boat.
D: CLEAN UP YOUR TRASH – A piece of salami when stepped on, is a surfboard! The perfect ‘Man Overboard” scenario. Just pick it up. (By the way, I have caught blues and keeper fluke on Genoa Salami- only Genoa- and some nice porgies on shrimp from a shrimp salad sandwich.)
Keep food consumption orderly- you’re on a boat, not Citi Field watching the Mets lose! Offer to help the skipper clean the boat when back to the dock. Most likely he’ll say, “Just go, cleaning my boat is therapeutic for me”, which means he’s just sick of you all.
E: CANDY, SWEETS, AND KIDS ON BOATS – This does not work!
Did you get that!! IT DOESN’T WORK! It’s a “one or the other thing”. If you like your Twinkies and peanut M&Ms, go to it. But if there are kids aboard, don’t let any high fructose junk hit the deck. Kids get all jerky, uncontrollable and be flipping your trim tabs up and down like a pinball machine and calling in crazy crap on your VHF. Just DON’T DO IT!
F: SMOKING – If someone lights up a cigarette, vape, or joint, demand it is thrown overboard. If he refuses? Do the obvious! Splash!
Then, as you pilot your way home, light up an illegal “Cubano” for yourself -just to be a buster!

“That’s all folks!”
Captain Eddie