22 Best Boat Songs- The Ultimate Boating Party Playlist

The 22 Best Boat Songs: The Ultimate Boating Party Playlist

Written by Boatsetter Team
May 7, 2021

Boating songs really bring out the best in everyone. There is nothing like having some relaxing music in the background or even blasting from the speakers of your Boatsetter boat rental. Some songs are true classics, and there will be the ones where everybody knows the words. Other songs are a bit newer, but we’re pretty sure your crew will get into them quickly enough. Just crank up the volume and enjoy your sunny days on the calm water. It is impossible to cover boating songs in great detail, but here are a few of the most popular ones.

1. “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys


You don’t really have to be anywhere near the Florida Keys to enjoy this tune, but it sure helps if you are. Listen to the enticing Caribbean steel drums and lie back under the clear sky on your comfortable deck. Just forget all about the problems that might be waiting for you on land and simply enjoy some afternoon delights, cocktails, and moonlit nights.

2. “Sailing” by Christopher Cross

“And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity… oh, the canvas can do miracles/Just you wait and see/Believe me.” This popular and peaceful song from 1980 will certainly take you away from all of your worries and really set the scene for your next sailing vacation.

3. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett

Country star Alan Jackson and living legend Jimmy Buffett give you all kinds of reasons to start an early day of drinking. We think you will find that on a boat, it is so much harder to feel any kind of guilt about pouring “something tall and strong”, whenever in the day the mood strikes you.

4. “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett


Another cracking tune by Buffett, this is the song that inspired his massive empire and an entire lifestyle of beach-related fun. Sailors young and old will forever be glad to spend time searching for that lost shaker of salt.

5. “Boats” by Kenny Chesney

Following in the sandy footsteps of Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney is a newer country artist with a lot of summery songs that can go well with boats, including this really relaxing tune about “vessels of freedom.”

6. “Banana Boat (Day-O)” by Harry Belafonte

Way back in 1956, famous Jamaican-American singer Harry Belafonte put out this well-known song about the lives of dockworkers, and by now, almost everyone knows how to sing “day-o!”

7. “Sloop John B” by The Beach Boys

This song was originally a traditional West Indies folk song called “The John B. Sails” that the Beach Boys revised in 1966. The song is about John B., an old sponger boat whose crew often got drunk when they came into port. Not surprisingly, the boat crashed and sunk off the coast of the Bahamas in about 1900.

8. “Rock The Boat” by Hues Corporation


This 1974 disco hit “Rock The Boat” is sometimes considered the first disco song to top the Billboard Top 100 charts. The catchy song compares some of the ups and downs of being in a relationship to time spent on a boat.

9. “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding

Recorded in 1968, this classic dedicated to the dock is ideal for a sunset sailing cruise. Listen closely to the song, and you’ll hear the soothing waves in the background while you are “wasting time”.

10. “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” by Kenny Chesney

Chesney’s clever play on the popular “no shirt, no shoes, no service” saying might become one of the anthems of your next boat trip. Just don’t take his advice when you pull into port, or you may not get served after all.

11. “How Deep Is Your Love” by The Bee Gees

This soothing and relaxing melody will leave you with long-lasting memories of the blue sky, the water, and a bunch of white sails flapping away in the distance “on a summer breeze”.

12. “Sunshine and Summertime” by Faith Hill


When this song comes on the playlist, you’ll probably think all about the barefoot ladies and people getting crazy on the boulevard. Just pull out your colas and ice-cold beers for a big boat party on the water.

13. “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys 

A popular throwback song that every American can get behind when they can’t wait till June, this famous hit has been the very epitome of summer since the Beach Boys released it in 1963. This song is probably best enjoyed in California, where you can sail around Alcatraz, enjoy a sunset tour beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, or stroll around Fisherman’s Wharf and soak up the atmosphere.

14. “Soak Up The Sun” by Sheryl Crow

Another thing to soak up is some sun. When there is not a cloud in the sky, just rub on some tropical sunscreen and turn up the volume on this hit from 2002. And if the boating lifestyle doesn’t get everyone in your crew to lay back and relax, sing louder when Sheryl Crow tells “everyone to lighten up.”

15. “Son of a Son of a Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett

Boating skills are often passed down from generation to generation, and Jimmy Buffett sings about that in this catchy song from 1978. Some of the best lines are at the end of the song, with “the sea’s in my veins, my tradition remains.”

16. “And It Stoned Me,” by Van Morrison

This is about two young guys on their way to the county fair. It starts raining, but it doesn’t bother them. They wait it out, and they’re happy but just don’t want it to rain all day. They hitch a ride to the creek for some fishing and swimming, then head home and meet their neighbor for some moonshine.

17. “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” by Alan Jackson


If you are taking a trip to a “little lake across the Alabama line”, put on Alan Jackson’s 2002 story of a boat “built out of love.” For Jackson, the boat is a “piece of my childhood that’ll never be forgotten.”

18. “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills & Nash

According to Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1982, their many years of sailing under the Southern Cross became a really helpful way to get over some of their most difficult relationship problems.

19. “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison

Simply listen to Van Morrison’s amazing melodies and evocative lyrics to feel like you’re in a movie about boating. Lie back, smell the sea, feel the sky, and let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.

20. “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot

If you are looking to learn a bit of history while enjoying your music, this song might be just perfect for you on the water. It recounts the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald freighter, a large ship that came to a watery end during a powerful storm in November 1975.

21. “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles


This famous song does not actually try to tell a specific story, and some of the lyrics are hard to understand, but the blue skies, a sea of green, and a yellow submarine make this tune the closest thing to a Beatles boating song there is.

22. “Come Sail Away” by Styx

This song starts off as a quiet piano ballad before the guitars kick in near the end. Styx band member Dennis DeYoung wrote the song because he was feeling a little depressed about lower than expected album sales. Over the years, the song has become a famous one and it has been featured on adult cartoons like South Park and Family Guy.

Now it’s Boat Rental Time

Get ready to take full advantage of beautiful natural scenery, iconic city skylines, and amazing music as permanent backdrops of your boating trips. You are sure to make strong memories, take amazing photos, and go back home with even greater love and appreciation of the water. Whether you prefer cruising along tropical shores or floating down a peaceful river, you will be sure to make some amazing memories as you enjoy your favorite playlist on the boat deck.

To get started enjoying your time on the water, it might make sense to rent a boat instead of buying one. Boatsetter is a peer-to-peer boat rental company that helps you to do exactly this, with a wide range of fabulous boats to choose from. At Boatsetter, we help all kinds of regular folks rent the types of boats that they would never be able to afford alone.


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