Boat-themed parties are a lot of fun to throw. Invite your guests to a day at sea (or pretend you’re near the sea) with a nautical flair. It’s a great theme for both children and adults of all gender. The best way to throw this party is in areas near water, lakes, oceans, or a swimming pool. But even if you’re nowhere near water, there’s no reason not to go for this theme!
Here are some great ideas for throwing a boat-themed party:
For a boat-themed party, the party area must look as if you’re at sea. You can add elements that will make guests feel like they’re near the water, and there are so many options to choose from. Here’s a list of ideas:
Nautical theme backdrop
The best way to make permanent memories of your party is to set up a backdrop where you and your guests can take photos. A boat-themed photo backdrop would be perfect for people to take pictures in front of. It sets the theme of the party, and it’s so easy to set up.
Boat-themed pennant banners
Pennant banners are cheap but effortlessly set the theme of any party. You can buy nautical-theme pennant banners to hang in your party area. You can use it to decorate tables, entryways, walls, and other areas of your party area. You can make it look more festive if you string it across the ceiling.
A simple yet impactful way to decorate for a boat-themed party is to drape fish netting from the ceiling and against the walls. It can serve as a backdrop for your buffet table or photo booth, or simply decorate it with boat-related elements like mini anchors, starfish, sailor’s hat, and so on.
Another way to decorate your party walls would be hanging some life preservers and anchors around the room. You may also want to hang mini sailboats or use them as a centerpiece for tables. A rustic steering wheel would also be a charming addition to your display.
The good thing about these items is that they are not like the disposable décor you can find at parties. These can serve as home decorations if you want a nautical theme for your interior.
Photo booth props
If you’re setting up a backdrop, at least provide nautical-themed photo booth props. While hiring a photographer for a professional photo booth is ideal, most of the time, it’s more practical if you simply have a background to pose on and some props to use because everybody brings their own camera anyways.
If the party celebrant is obsessed with steamboats, you can display a replica or a toy as a centerpiece for the table. You can build your own model steamboats or buy a puzzle replica to build for display! Any route you go, it will surely be a conversation starter.
Another fun way to set the theme is to use an automatic bubble machine in the shape of a dolphin or a whale! Besides being cute, these machines can release bubbles throughout the party, just like the air bubbles from a submarine underwater. It will be a hit if you have young children at the party!
Boat cupcake stand
If you want to serve cupcakes in a cute way, showcase them in a boat-themed cupcake stand.
Food and Drinks
You don’t want your guests to feel stranded at sea with nothing to eat in a boat-themed party! If you need ideas for party food and treats, here you go:
An obvious must for a boat-themed party is food that you can catch on a boat – seafood! When you invite guests, they will expect seafood, so go all out. You can serve some salmon, sushi, mahi-mahi, mussels, oysters, crab, shrimp, or anything that dwells in the water. You can also serve other items like pasta (pasta with shrimp would be excellent!), stuffing, salad, and other side dishes so your guests can mix and match.
If you have the budget for it and if you’re hosting a formal dinner party, serve your guests some lobster as the main dish! If you’re looking for a lighter seafood taste, try breaded fish like salmon or halibut and serve it with a tasty sauce. Breaded fish will also be a wise choice if you have picky young eaters on the guest list.
Beachside or poolside cocktails
Try serving drinks that evoke the feeling of being by the sea at your parties. Cocktails like margaritas, mai tais, and Pina Coladas will remind your guests of sunny days spent at the ocean or poolside. To keep it on theme, use fish cocktail picks.
A shrimp cocktail is a great appetizer for a boat-themed party. Offer plenty of dipping sauce to serve with it.
For a casual party, some appetizers and pizza would be enough. Buy some pizza bagels (or make your own), and label them as life preservers!
No party is complete without a sweet treat. Serve cookies cut into nautical shapes like starfish, sailboats, anchors, steering wheels, shells, fishes, etc. If you prefer to bake your own cookies, use boat-themed cookie cutters to shape your cookies. Decorate it with colored frosting for some picture-perfect dessert.
If you’re celebrating a birthday, make sure there’s a cake for everyone to enjoy. Here are some cake ideas:
Get a cake decorated with blue icing, and top it with a toy boat and other sea-themed decorations.
Make a two-layer round cake and cut a hole in the middle. Frost it with alternating red and white stripes to make it look like a life preserver.
Make a cake look like a sandcastle. Cover a cake with beige or brown icing to ice your cake, then add some beige sprinkles or crushed graham crackers to make the sandy texture. Decorate with chocolate molded into sea-themed shapes.
If you don’t want to do slicing and want to lessen the use of plates, then serve cupcakes! Nowadays, it’s trendy to serve cupcakes arranged to form a certain shape. You can serve cupcakes arranged like an anchor with blue frosting on top.
Bake any cupcake in the flavor of your choice. Top it with white cupcake frosting, then finish with sprinkles and candy melts molded in the shape of a fish. Or you can simply order store-bought cupcakes with frosting color that fits your theme, then top it with boat-themed cupcake toppers.
Being at the boat by the sea can evoke lots of emotions from people. So, try to evoke a feeling of fun and excitement by playing and hosting these awesome boat-theme activities at your party:
Let your guests feel like real sailors by setting up a temporary tattoo station. Provide nautical theme tattoos and let the guests have at it!
Treasure hunt or scavenger hunt
Make your own pirate treasure map and divide the guests into teams. Use clues to point to items or locations inside or outside your home. Make it fun using rhyming riddles so they can work out the brain while working out the body. The first team to find the missing treasure wins! You can give some exciting prizes for the winners to motivate the guests to do their best and be competitive!
If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with younger kids at your party, have them make some sand art. Set an art station at your party with tables and bottles of sand in different colors. Then, allow the kids to put and layer the sand in the artsy bottles in any design they want. Have them take their creations home as a favor.
Looking for a fun and active game you can do? Host a crab race! Split up the guests into at least two teams, then have them crab walk (walking on all fours with stomach facing upwards) from one finish line to the other. Once they return, the next person on the team must go. The first team to have every member finish the race wins!
The easiest way to thank your guests for coming to your nautical-theme party is to give them party favors to take home with them. These are some party giveaways you can put in your goodie bag for both children and adults alike: