Can You Have a Grill On a Boat? Safety And Types Of Grills

The dream weekend getaway for most people is going out with their boat and enjoying the water environment and great weather. And even more, people can agree that a slice of hot sizzling meat straight from a grill will make the experience even much better. But many are skeptical about grilling on a boat, whether it is permitted and how to go about it. So, can you have a grill on a boat?

Can You Have a Grill On a Boat? Yes, you can grill on a boat. It is legal, but you always need to ensure that you are using the right gear and being safe while at it.

This article comes in handy with all you need to know about all types of grills that you can use on a boat. It does also highlight the safety tips that will ensure that you avoid all possible accidents.

Our TOP recommendation of grill that you can use on a boat Magma Newport 2 Infra Red, Gas Grill

Is Using a Grill on a Boat Legal?

To answer the question – can you have a grill on a boat? You need to understand a few things involved in boat grilling.

Boating has been the go-to option for many who want to have fun and spend some time with friends and family out in the water for a long time. But at the end of the day, you will certainly be hungry and carving some real food and not the snacks you brought along with you. For this reason, the grilling option is widely accepted and has been a popular food preparation opportunity for boaters.

Lucky for many outdoor enthusiasts, grilling on a boat is permitted on the condition that you adhere to the particular requirements set by your local authorities. You will be surprised to learn that some manufacturers have specialized in making specific grill models well suited for use in a boat.

Can You Have a Grill On a Boat? Safety And Types Of Grills

These grills have a unique design that allows them to sit onto mount brackets or clipped on the rail to ensure maximum security.

The main concern here is your safety and that of your passengers with the burning grill on board. Sticky situations can easily be avoided if you use the proper fuel type and that your grill is securely mounted.

If the grill is not securely mounted, it could result in anything from as minor as spills on the deck to injuries and even cause a boat fire. You can only expect to have issues with the authorities if you put your and other people’s lives in danger.

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Can You Use a Charcoal Grill on a Boat?

Essentially, barbecuing and grilling are the same. However, some people associate barbeque with charcoal as the heat source while cooking. So, that’s a NO if you want an answer for the initial question, ‘can you have a grill on a boat?’ In truth, charcoal grills are not recommended for use on a boat, and with good reason.

Charcoal grills may work excellently, give an excellent taste, and are even comparatively inexpensive. Your freshly caught fish or steak will taste best when cooked over charcoal. But it is best suited for people with a great deal of patience. The popular charcoal grills for use in boats are the small, round stainless steel that you can mount by clamping on a handrail.

Some even feature an adaptor slot that you can attach to a rod holder. Also, charcoal can be found almost anywhere, making them a convenient option as well. Their major downside is seen when it comes to storage and the danger of open flames.

Ideally, the charcoal needs to be dry all through to fire up, and you cannot guarantee this while on a boat. Furthermore, charcoal can get messy and quickly get into your food if you are not careful. Since small quantities of ash may not be harmful, not many will appreciate such debris in their food.

And when it comes to safety, it is quite a hassle and time-consuming trying to put out the charcoal grill, whereas other grills are designed with an easy shutdown mechanism. Charcoal tends to remain red hot for a while, a potential fire hazard, and can also melt a hole in the boat.

Therefore, it is possible to have a charcoal grill in your boat, but you should think twice and go for the other alternatives given the reasons above.

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What are the Different Types of Grills Suitable for Use in a Boat?

Now that we have canceled out charcoal grills for use on a boat, you might be wondering the options you have. If you are considering grilling on a boat, there are several factors that you need to have in mind. And one of them is the type of grill to use.

Typically, the ideal grills that you can install in a boat should be fitted with safety mounts that safely mount on the boat. The most recommended grills are the electric and propane models. Let us take a closer look at them.

Propane Grills

If you are thinking of the golden-standard boat grills, then propane grills are a sure bet. These grills come in a wide range of sizes, from the small compact units ideal for family use to the larger units for approximately 20 people. They are highly suitable and regarded as boat-friendly given their ease of operation and portability.

Moreover, they do not need storage space as charcoal would, and they last relatively longer. If your propane grill is securely mounted on your boat, you need not worry about any accidents, as would be the case with a charcoal grill. Also, many boaters opt for propane grills since their fuel is cheap and easily accessible.

Although they are a great choice, propane gas grills also come with hazards. Generally, gas is denser than air, and therefore, the propane gas should not be used above an open companionway or locker. The reason is that in case of any leaking gas, it will fall to the lowest point and potentially cause an explosive mixture.

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Electric Grills

Another good option for boat owners is the electric grill. They make an excellent option for boats that feature electric ports for many reasons. Most of the electric grills are usually built onto the boat and can therefore not be detached.

Firstly, electric grills are an affordable option and very user-friendly. They are ideal for those who go out with their boats often. Furthermore, they come equipped with many safety features and can be easily adjusted.

Electric grills can be used virtually anywhere, even in places where gas and charcoal use may be prohibited. It is also a safer choice since no flames are produced. However, one noticeable downside of the electric grills is that they do not deliver the best tastes of your food.

Also, in the long run, electric grills could be pricey because of the electricity they need. They are limited to boats with an AC source.

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Safety Tips When Grilling on a Boat

Safety should always be a top priority when considering grilling on a boat. There is no better feeling than enjoying delicious barbecues straight from the grill while on a boat. And since you do not want anything to destroy the moment, it is always advisable to be safe. Here are some of the safety tips you need to apply while doing so:

  • First, ensure that you carefully read and understand the manual. The manual always comes in handy to help you understand everything from the assembly to some safety operation tips. If there is anything not clear, you can always contact the manufacturer for clarification.
  • Next is to grill in an open area above decks. Generally, barbecue grills are designed for use in well-ventilated open areas. Do not attempt grilling in an enclosed area or below in a galley of the boat.
  • Ensure the grill is securely mounted before you can operate it. Whenever you are in the market for a boat grill, look for models specially designed for boats or those that can be mounted onto the boat. For instance, portable camping grills are not recommended for boats since they can easily tip over or slide around.
  • Ensure that you test the grill’s durability before you can fire it up. Anytime you buy a grill, you need to ensure it is tested for quality and durability.
  • Another thing is, you can only grill if the boat is static so you can avoid it from tipping over. Also, at no point should you leave the grill unattended when operating it. You can equip your boat with a method of fire control, particularly near the grilling area, like a fire bucket, fire blanket, or fire extinguisher.
  • Use the adequately designated grilling utensils to avoid burns due to splatters and pops. Also, the barbecue utensils such as forks and tongs should be long-handled for your safety. Once you are done cooking, ensure that you put it out.
  • During operation, always put on grill-safe clothes. And these are excluding any speedos, thongs, bikini wraps, and the likes. Loose and baggy clothes are also not recommended when grilling since they can easily catch fire.
  • During operation, always ensure that the heat and flames of the grill area in the downwind direction from yourself and flammable objects.

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Can you have a grill on a boat? Yes and No. It all depends on the type of grill you want to use, with the yes option going for the propane and electric gas only. Now you have everything you need to know about having a grill on your boat for your next adventure. Grilling on a boat can be an excellent experience as long as you maintain the safety standards. But if you are still not sure, it would be best to contact the local authorities and inquire about the boating regulations before you can go ahead and have a grill on your boat.


Hi, I’m John who owns multiple different boats and i love all kinds of water activities. From boating to fishing, from scuba diving to windsurfing, from water tubing to snow tubing.

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