Nautical cocktail party

5 Tips To Plan The Perfect Nautical Cocktail Party

Nautical cocktail party

There’s something about the water that makes relaxation come easy. Studies suggest that living near open blue spaces like the sea or sky reduces stress levels. What also knocks the edge off? A bit of the hard stuff.

Why not combine your stressbusters by throwing a shindig on your ship? Here are 5 tips on how to plan a nautical cocktail party that will earn you your captain’s stripes.

We will cover everything you need to know, from deciding on the menu to planning the activities and games. So sit back, relax, and get ready to plan the perfect nautical cocktail party!

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1. Plan Your Food Menu First

Table with cooked seafood

Before planning the food menu, you should think about how many people will be attending your party. Planning an elaborate meal might not be necessary if it's a small gathering. However, if more than 20 guests are in attendance at your event, planning out the menu is essential!

If you’re going with finger foods only while you mix and mingle, why not have your local bakery craft cookies in anchor and boat shapes? You can arrange your fruit and veggie tray in the shape of a tropical palm tree.

Are you going for a full 4-course sit-down meal? If so, why not delight your guests with gifts from the sea? You can go with clam chowder, which makes an elegant appetizer—you can’t go wrong with lobster tails as the main dish. You can also serve Onigiri, Japanese rice, seaweed balls, sushi, oyster dishes, and other seafood dishes.

The most exclusive cocktail parties resemble symphonies, with each course choreographed to harmonize with the other dishes. So make sure that your cocktails would pair well with your menu.

2. Serve Up Some Seafaring Suds

Group of friends drinking cocktails

A cocktail party comes by its name, honestly. If you want to throw a nautical soiree to remember, you need the best beverages. A few bottles of your favorite white, like pinot grigio, sets off most seafood dishes well. Champagne also pairs beautifully with the white flesh of fish. 

Combining your cocktails and your seafood-centric menu could make or break your party! There are plenty of recipes to choose from that will make any nautical cocktail party planning a breeze. Here are just a few examples:

  • Martin Cate’s Mai Tai

Mai Tai

If you're a fan of tiki cocktails, you're going to love this one. Martin Cate, the owner of Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco, has come up with his own version of the Mai Tai, and it's delicious.

The drink is made with Denizen Merchant's Reserve rum (which is faithful to Trader Vic's formula), orgeat, rich simple syrup, lime juice, and orange curacao. This drink surely won’t disappoint.

Get the recipe here.

  • 10-Calorie Oceanside Fizz

An up-close image of the 10-Calorie Oceanside Fizz

Boat parties mean bikinis—and people watching their weight. The 10-Calorie Oceanside Fizz is the healthiest way to get your buzz on.

This delicious cocktail drink will have you feeling light and free without adding any extra pounds! It is the perfect alternative for those who want their drinks boozy but not heavy.

Get the recipe here.

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3. Keep It Close to the Shore

Grilling on the boat

You adore aquatic life and would live on the water if you could. However, your guests might not all share your sea legs. They might get a little queasy if things start to get choppy. 

Therefore, keep it close to shore. That way, your guests can head to the beach to regain their equilibrium instead of throwing up all over your boat’s brand new upholstery or carpet. 

Also, it's essential to keep the yacht or boat close enough so that guests can quickly board. Not only will this make guests enjoy the cocktails and the ocean, but it also gives those with no swimming experience an opportunity to enjoy your ocean-themed party without getting smothered by the sea.

4. Plan Some Water-Themed Fun

2 girls playing sand volleyball

What's a party without some fun games? Plan ahead and have some water-themed games ready for guests to enjoy. This can include anything from floating ring toss to seeing how many cups of ice water you can balance on your head.

If you're near the shore, it means that you and your guests can enjoy a fun sand volleyball game, too! However, if you decide to set sail for the open waters, take the fun with you. You can have a jumping contest to see who makes the biggest splash if you have a playful pontoon with an upper deck.

Indoor boat games are a great way to keep the guest entertained too. You could play beer pongs, board games, trivia contests, or battle of the sexes! Also, there's no better way to get in the mood than with nautical songs in an ocean-themed party.

5. Make Sure to Clean Up After

Man cleaning his yacht

The worst part of nearly any party is the cleanup. If you don’t have a crew to swab the deck for you, make sure to plan what cleaning materials you should be bringing. It's also good to use green materials that won't damage the seas.

  • Use eco-friendly disposable dinnerware. Find dishes and flatware made from sustainable bamboo—this way, you'll also feel good about using a product that doesn't damage the environment while enjoying your party.
  • Provide enough sorting bins with labels. This will help your guests know where to throw away their trash properly.
  • Prepare natural cleaning agents. Any chemicals you use to clean the boat can potentially harm marine life. Opt for natural ingredients like baking soda, distilled vinegar, and water solution to get the job done without harming any creatures in the process.

After the party, make sure to take all trash floating on the ocean as you start cleaning your deck. Do not leave any trash behind as it is harmful to both human beings and marine life. It can also damage boats or clog engines if not disposed of properly.


A seaside party combines the relaxing properties of water with mixing and mingling. There’s no better recipe for a stress-busting day of fun. If you have a boat, why not invite your friends and loved ones to join you for a social night at sea?

Heed these tips for planning a nautical cocktail party to earn your “host with the most” captain’s stripes! Are you planning to throw your own nautical party? What fun activities are you planning? Share it down below!

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