Games to Play on a Boat

A boat trip can be an exciting adventure, but traveling by boat has certain restrictions, especially regarding personal space for passengers. Many seasoned boat travelers or cruising enthusiasts plan for personal activities that optimize quality time--for themselves and their companions. When the boat is en route to a destination, time to relax and unwind eventually can become boring. You might want to include some games to extend your enjoyment.


Time spent on a boat is meant to be leisurely and low-key, providing ample opportunities to get to know your boat mates. When choosing games, consider the small area for luggage and bags, confined space available in the berth or common area, rocking motion, exposure to wet or windy conditions and the flexibility of others to participate. The boat owners or crew might provide some games, but don't count on them for everything.

Card Games

Card games provide versatility and flexibility for evening and off-time recreation. Bringing several sets of cards or combining decks allow others to join classic card games such as gin rummy, go fish, crazy eights, hearts or even war. A table or flat surface is often sufficient--adults can even play several hands of poker or blackjack after dinner. Children can entertain themselves with solitaire and memory games using a single deck. Card games are portable, and there are specialized games such as Uno and Skip-Bo.

Board Games

Board games can be fussy, often requiring a board, pieces, cards and other accessories. These components can often get lost or accidentally go overboard. Travel board games, where the board is usually compact and magnetized, are an option. Versatile pieces such as checkers or disks with chessmen imprints can be used on a generic board. There are soft board designs for backgammon, and compact, simplified versions of popular games such as Yahtzee!, Boggle, Scrabble and dominos are also commercially available.

Group Activities

Group activities provide entertainment as well as a way to get to know others. These might not require cards--a few readily accessible items can be used. Classic examples include charades, Pictionary (similar to charades but uses a pad and pen to draw information instead of acting it out) and 20 questions. Group activities can draw others into the game and provide an outlet for children to express themselves.

Ad Hoc

Solo or two-player games can be created using paper and pencil. For example, tic-tac-toe and hangman are classic games for two. Being prepared with printed sheets of Sudoku, crossword or word search puzzles can fill some down time for boat mates who want to relax yet exercise their minds.