Summer is finally here; it’s time to rock the boat and make some waves. Grab your flip flops, swim trunks, sunscreen and a handful of friends, and get ready to party. But first things first: can you trade in your current boat and get hold of one of these 5 best big party boats? Something like the X44 or the Wider 42 offers plenty of sunlounger space, fold-down side panels for extra floor area and outboard engines, of course, to keep the cockpit clear for guests. Alternatively, there's the slightly less extravagant Six perfect party boats – a list that offers a slightly wider price range in answering the question of which type of boat is best suited to entertaining friends and family on the water.

However, assuming you're just daydreaming, like the rest of us, then perhaps there is something you can do to transform your boat into the ultimate party barge?


Kick your feet up

Rafting up and partying afloat

Drift away on a water raft or catch some rays on the sunpad of the boat—whatever you do, enjoy yourself.

If you can find a warm, sheltered spot on a hot UK summer's day, then you may find life on board a crowded boat gets a bit too hot, so the obvious answer is to move the party to the water.

Take a look on eBay or Amazon for a variety of straightforward lilos and inflatable seats, but for something a little bit special, you will have to look at the vast array of options available in the USA. It won't be cheap – especially with import duty – but it will be worth every penny and nobody you know will have anything like it here in the UK:

We featured the Sea-doo mega inflatable island in Christmas presents list last year. Or there's the Sea pool from our list of Superyacht Toys. But if none of those options tickle your fancy, how about Wow Sport’s Octo Island Floating Table, pictured below, which will seat six around the table with a couple dancing on top.

Wow Sports Oct Island inflatable table and chairs set.

Wow Sports Octo Island inflatable table and chairs set.


Good eats and good times

Preparing party food on deck or down below

Who's hungry? Keep your guests coming back for more with the help of our food prep tips. Photo by Bennington Marine.

The obvious go-to when it comes to party food usually starts with firing up the grill. If you’re lucky enough to have a built-in grill on board your boat, then you’re good to go. If you don’t happen to have one, it doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Here's a selection of accessories to help you cook, store and serve anything from a full dinner to a few bowls of nibbles.

Portable Grill (Marine Super Store has a great selection that might spark your fancy).

The legendary Boat Blender (now sadly no longer sold).

Dometic refrigerated cup holders.

Yeti Cooler & Accessories (Number 9 on our list of 10 great Christmas presents last year).

Yeti box

The ultimate coolbox: doubles as a seat, general storage and comes with a vast array of accessories.


Hit the lights

Mood lighting: Sea Ray 280 SLX

With these lights aboard the Sea Ray 280 SLX you'll be sure to party the night away. Photo by Sea Ray.

When the sun goes down, the party is just getting started. Since it’s probably not the best idea to light up tiki torches, there are other alternatives to help keep the lights on. For owners with boats like the Sea Ray 280 SLX, the built-in cockpit lighting that extends through the interior all the way to the exterior bilge vents will be sure to set the mood (for superyacht owners the LED lighting options are even more extravagant). But fear not, you won’t be left in the dark if you don’t have any built-ins.

For all you avid campers and outdoorsmen, grab your favourite battery-powered lantern and bring it along—it may not be fancy, but it’ll do the trick. And don’t forget about your basic household flashlights or even your iPhone flashlight. To add some colour, think about bringing a pack of assorted glow sticks or bracelets.

If you’re really looking to light up the night, take a look at our guide to using LED lighting on your boat.


Pump up the jam

Mastercraft: music built in

Nothing like riding the waves on the back of this Mastercraft while listening to your favourite tunes blaring through the speakers. Photo by MasterCraft.

Now, let’s talk tunes. If you really want the right kind of sound, you’ve got to have at least 6,000 watts and a sub-woofer. As an alternative, consider adding one of Fusion’s Signature Speakers or Kenwood’s Digital Media Receiver with built-in Bluetooth. If you need help making a decision, check out our 10 top marine audio visual gadgets and don't forget the option of adding a wakeboarding tower for the full effect. See 10 ways to upgrade and improve your powerboat.


Drinking and boating: stay on the right side of the law

Boat drinks: limit alcohol intake

Raise a glass to good times, good friends, and a great Memorial Day weekend. Photo by Roozbeh Rokni.

Regardless of what you’re listening to, what you’re drinking, and however you decide to transform your boat into your party platform, don’t forget to stay safe while you’re out on the water. You should always have a designated captain who will stay sober and look out for the passengers. You can never have too much fun, but it’s no fun when someone gets hurt or gets in trouble. Party safe, party on, and happy summer holidays!

For more ideas for fun in the sun, see: Summer fun: Silly Boat Race footage or try and keep up with Lenny Rudow from USA and his 6 crazy ways to have fun on a boat.