Hot? Don't just have a cold drink for happy hour -- jump in the drink! Here's a few tips to make it a great time.

Happy Hour IN the Water

It’s that time of year when it’s HOT!  We cruised in the Sea of Cortez for four full summers, plus one in El Salvador.  Lots of days when it was in the high 90’s or over 100.  And no, we didn’t have air conditioning.

What we did have was plenty of water.  Swimming was our number one way of cooling off.  We’d get in several times a day.

Hot? Don't just have a cold drink for happy hour -- jump in the drink! Here's a few tips to make it a great time.And this extended to happy hour.  Rather than invite friends onto our boat, it became traditional to invite them off the boat!  Sometimes we’d sit in shallow water just off the beach; more often, it would be off the stern of someone’s boat.

A few tips:

  • Put a line or two off the stern that people can hook dinghies to — this gives a “clear space” near the boat for socializing, as well as something to hang onto.
  • If it’s windy or there is significant current, you might want even more lines out for people to hang onto.  Tie a fender on the end of each one so that they float.
  • Hot? Don't just have a cold drink for happy hour -- jump in the drink! Here's a few tips to make it a great time.Noodles are great for giving a bit of floatation, but you can also use throwables or even sit on a PFD.
  • Life belts (which aren’t legal PFD’s) are a good option for those who weren’t confident swimmers as they stay on securely, versus a noodle that you can slide off of.  There are a couple of designs available on Amazon (see one; see the other).  A number of people also used these when snorkeling.
  • It can be tough to serve snacks in the water — some tried putting treats on a boogie board or throwable, but things still spilled or got water in Hot? Don't just have a cold drink for happy hour -- jump in the drink! Here's a few tips to make it a great time.them.  The good news:  when it’s hot, no one really cares about eating!
  • Remember safety:  try to keep an eye on everyone and make sure no one drifts away and can’t make it back; watch out for those who might overindulge; and remember that if people are somewhat dehydrated, alcohol will hit them harder.
  • Got cockpit speakers?  Crank up the tunes, but not so loudly that you can’t converse . . . or hear a cry for help!
  • Be sure to have a swim ladder off the boat for anyone who doesn’t have the upper body strength to pull themselves into a dinghy from the water.
  • Everybody brings their own drinks and keeps them in their dinghy.  Cover the cooler with towels and anything else to keep them as cool as possible.
  • For mixed drinks and wine, insulated mugs work really well — my favorite one won’t spill (don’t use the same one as you use for coffee — it will pick up the coffee taste!); wine “sippy cups” are also popular.
  • Can cozies for the beer drinkers!
  • Want to keep that cool feeling?  Plan a cold dinner and do all the prep before going to happy hour so all you have to do is pull it out and serve.  One of my favorites is gazpacho, with a few crackers and cheese.  See other meals for hot days.

Got other tips or ideas for a great happy hour in the water?  Tell the rest of us in the comments!

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  • Dave Tew
    Posted at 31 July 2013 Reply

    We enjoyed floating down marsh creeks with the current eating cold sliced watermelon from a cooler… at least until jetskiers made it too dangerous. Pure heaven, but hard to get cold melon while cruising I´d imagine.

  • So Many Beaches
    Posted at 01 August 2013 Reply

    We´ve used our SUP as a bar/snack table and it´s been awesome!

  • Sheryl Shard
    Posted at 12 June 2014 Reply

    We’re cruising in the Bahamas at the moment and have been experiencing some very hot humid weather this week. I enjoyed your article and discovered some fun new ideas for keeping cool. Thanks Carolyn!

  • Wm Jones
    Posted at 14 July 2016 Reply

    Hot weather survival tip #1: if you absolutely positively just have to sit in the water drinking adult beverages with friends… sit upstream.

  • Connie Smith
    Posted at 14 July 2016 Reply

    We tried the Yeti coozies and glasses. While they were little expensive, they sure do live up to their word on keeping drinks cold (or hot).

  • Jan Bogart
    Posted at 14 July 2016 Reply

    Tervis tumblers rock!

  • Lynn Becker
    Posted at 14 July 2016 Reply

    That’s the way to go!

  • Nat
    Posted at 15 July 2016 Reply

    This is a great idea for keeping the drinks cold without having to reach in and out of the dingy.
    Cheers 🙂

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