7 Tips to Entertain on Your Sea Ray

Published on December 10, 2021


How to enjoy boating in the off season

There may be a chill in the air but don’t let that slow down your plans. Whether you’re thinking about a festive happy hour with holiday lights or even watching New Year’s fireworks from the deck of your boat, here are some things to remember if you’re planning to entertain guests on the water. It doesn’t matter if you live in a warm climate or not— unless your local waterways are frozen over, there are many ways to enjoy hosting family on a boat.

1) Watch your capacity limit
Once the word gets out that you’re entertaining on a boat, you may have more interested parties than your boat can handle. Follow Sea Ray’s recommended loading parameters and limit the number of passengers. One way to get that right is to ensure there’s a seat for everyone.

2) Decide the itinerary
Wintertaining on your Sea Ray doesn’t mean you have to be under way or go far. You can host dockside cocktails in the slip, drop anchor in the harbor to enjoy dinner or set a short cruise.

3) Dress for the temperature
Hypothermia is sneaky so make sure everyone is warm, dry and comfortable, and has a PFD either on or near at hand.

4) Make provisions for guests
Prepare for the inevitable call of nature. It you have a head aboard, be sure to show everyone how to use it. Otherwise, have shoreside facilities mapped out. Keep an eye on guests who may get seasick, especially at night when visual cues like the horizon are missing. Bring seasickness medicine but beware that interactions can occur with alcohol.

5) Prep the galley for cooking
Meal preparation on a boat can be challenging. Everything is more compact including the stove, refrigerator, sink, grill, prep counters and even the trashcan. Water and electricity may be limited once away from the dock. Stews, pasta dishes and even desserts can be made at the house and reheated aboard with minimal prep time and mess. This rescues the cook from being stuck in the galley, saves water on doing dishes and limits the need for extra ingredients and spices. Manage your prep space and bring proper tools for the job—knives, cutting board, resealable bags, baking dishes that fit the boat’s microwave and a headlamp for grilling in the dark.

6) Watch the time and plan for the end of the party
Give yourself plenty of time to drop or raise the anchor and be ready to motor back before sunset if the plan is to not be out after dark. Whether you’re returning to a slip or a ramp, have a plan on how to end the evening. Loading a trailer at night isn’t easy, so if possible, see if you can stay tied up at a dock until morning. Be sure to keep a good lookout at all times especially if it’s dark or foggy.

7) Decorate responsibly
Keep your boat’s electrical capacity in mind. Don’t overload the wiring or batter banks. Use small LED lighting to minimize power consumption and keep it away from the driver’s line-of-sight to not ruin his/her night vision under way. Don’t use real candles on board; for festive flickering, choose LED candles some of which will last all winter with just a couple of AA batteries.

It’s worth repeating that if you plan to take the helm, it’s never safe to drink and boat, and a BUI will often incur the same consequences and penalties as a DUI. Have fun, but be safe above all else.


Winter doesn’t mean the end of your boating season even if you live in the chilly North. Sea Ray boats can be enjoyed year-round in most circumstances. Prepare carefully, stay vigilant and make adjustments throughout the evening and entertaining on a boat will not only be easy, it will be very special indeed.

Read about winter boating here.

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