How to save money on food and provisioning while sailing
How to save money on food and provisioning while sailing

Discover practical tips and strategies for saving money on food and provisioning while sailing, so you can enjoy your journey without breaking the bank.

How to Save Money on Food and Provisioning While Sailing

Sailing around the world with your family is an incredible adventure, but it can also be a financial challenge. One of the most significant expenses you’ll face is provisioning your boat with food and other essentials. In this article, we’ll explore some practical tips and strategies for saving money on food and provisioning while sailing, so you can enjoy your journey without breaking the bank.

Table of Contents

Planning Your Provisioning

Before you set sail, it’s essential to plan your provisioning carefully. This will help you avoid overspending on food and other supplies, and ensure you have everything you need for your journey. Here are some tips for effective provisioning planning:

  1. Make a list of essentials: Start by making a list of the food, toiletries, and other supplies you’ll need for your trip. Be sure to include items like sunscreen, insect repellent, and first aid supplies.

  2. Estimate your consumption: Calculate how much of each item you’ll need based on your family’s consumption habits. This will help you avoid overbuying and wasting food.

  3. Research prices: Before you leave, research the prices of the items on your list in the countries you’ll be visiting. This will help you budget for your provisioning and identify any items that may be more expensive or difficult to find in certain locations.

  4. Create a provisioning schedule: Plan when and where you’ll purchase your supplies during your journey. This will help you avoid running out of essentials and ensure you can take advantage of lower prices in certain locations.

Buying in Bulk

One of the most effective ways to save money on food and provisioning is to buy in bulk. This can significantly reduce the cost per unit of many items, and help you avoid the higher prices often found in smaller, remote stores. Here are some tips for buying in bulk while sailing:

  1. Choose the right items: Focus on non-perishable items that you’ll use regularly, such as rice, pasta, canned goods, and toiletries. Be cautious with perishable items, as they may spoil before you can use them.

  2. Find the best deals: Look for bulk discounts at supermarkets, warehouse clubs, and online retailers. Be sure to compare prices and take advantage of sales and promotions.

  3. Store items properly: Ensure you have adequate storage space on your boat for your bulk purchases, and store items in airtight containers to prevent spoilage and pests.

  4. Track your inventory: Keep a record of the items you have on board and their expiration dates. This will help you avoid overbuying and ensure you use items before they spoil.

Shopping Locally

Shopping at local markets and stores can be a great way to save money on food and provisioning while sailing. Not only can you often find lower prices, but you’ll also be supporting local economies and enjoying fresh, local produce. Here are some tips for shopping locally:

  1. Visit local markets: Look for farmers’ markets, fish markets, and other local food sources in the areas you visit. These can be excellent places to find fresh, affordable produce, seafood, and other items.

  2. Learn local customs: Familiarize yourself with local customs and etiquette when shopping in foreign countries. This can help you avoid misunderstandings and ensure a positive shopping experience.

  3. Haggle when appropriate: In many countries, haggling is a common practice at markets and small shops. Be respectful and polite, and don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better price.

  4. Buy in-season produce: Purchasing fruits and vegetables that are in season can save you money and ensure you’re getting the freshest, most flavorful produce.

Fishing and Foraging

Catching your own fish and foraging for edible plants can be a fun and cost-effective way to supplement your food supply while sailing. Here are some tips for fishing and foraging:

  1. Learn local regulations: Familiarize yourself with fishing and foraging regulations in the areas you’ll be visiting. This may include fishing licenses, catch limits, and restrictions on certain species or areas.

  2. Invest in quality gear: Purchase a good-quality fishing rod, reel, and tackle, as well as a reliable guidebook on edible plants in the regions you’ll be visiting.

  3. Practice catch and release: If you catch more fish than you can eat, consider practicing catch and release to conserve marine resources and maintain healthy fish populations.

  4. Be cautious with foraging: When foraging for edible plants, be sure to properly identify them and avoid consuming anything you’re unsure about. Some plants can be toxic or cause allergic reactions.

Meal Planning and Cooking

Planning your meals and cooking on board can help you save money on food and provisioning while sailing. Here are some tips for meal planning and cooking:

  1. Create a meal plan: Plan your meals in advance, taking into account the ingredients you have on board and any dietary restrictions or preferences.

  2. Cook from scratch: Cooking from scratch can be more cost-effective than purchasing pre-made meals or eating out. Invest in a good-quality cookbook or find recipes online that are suited to your family’s tastes and the ingredients you have on hand.

  3. Use leftovers wisely: Plan meals that can be easily repurposed into new dishes, and store leftovers properly to avoid spoilage.

  4. Cook in bulk: Cooking larger quantities of food at once can save you time and money. Consider making big batches of soups, stews, or casseroles that can be frozen and reheated later.

Storing Food Properly

Proper food storage is essential for preventing spoilage and ensuring your provisions last as long as possible. Here are some tips for storing food on your boat:

  1. Keep food dry and cool: Store food in airtight containers and keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This can help prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of many items.

  2. Rotate your stock: Practice the “first in, first out” rule by using older items before newer ones. This can help ensure you’re always using the freshest ingredients and prevent waste.

  3. Monitor temperature and humidity: Regularly check the temperature and humidity levels in your food storage areas, and make adjustments as needed to maintain optimal conditions.

  4. Inspect food regularly: Regularly inspect your food supply for signs of spoilage, pests, or damage. Dispose of any compromised items promptly to prevent contamination.

Managing Waste

Reducing waste is not only good for the environment, but it can also help you save money on food and provisioning. Here are some tips for managing waste on your boat:

  1. Compost: If you have space on your boat, consider setting up a small composting system for your food scraps. This can help reduce waste and provide valuable nutrients for any onboard plants or gardens.

  2. Recycle: Familiarize yourself with recycling regulations and facilities in the areas you’ll be visiting, and recycle whenever possible.

  3. Use reusable containers: Invest in reusable containers for food storage and shopping, and avoid single-use plastics and disposable items.

  4. Minimize packaging: When shopping, look for items with minimal packaging or purchase items in bulk to reduce waste.


Saving money on food and provisioning while sailing is possible with careful planning, smart shopping, and efficient food storage and waste management. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can enjoy your sailing adventure without worrying about overspending on provisions. Bon voyage!