Boat Grills FAQ

If you're reading this, chances are boat grilling just might be for you. Tired of appetites cutting fishing trips short? Ready to reinvent your hosting possibilities with deep sea fishing? Drawn to the endless joys of personally bullying the ocean by parading around fire above it? Before you weigh anchor, grilling on a boat requires a lot more forethought than your landlocked cookouts. No need to fret: we checked in with our sales center experts for the most common boat grill questions around, then consulted qualified industry professionals. Get confident in your boat grilling know-how by reading our advice below!

Have a question we didn’t get to here? Our boat grill experts are standing by for just that reason, so give them a call at 1-877-743-2269 today!

Do I need to mount the grill on my boat?


Yes. Mounting a boat grill not only complies with basic safety measures, but prevents your burning grill from tipping over. Let’s explore that: if you’re lucky, you’re left with a frustrating mess and some boat detailing work. If you’re not, you’ll cause serious injury to yourself, guests, and quite potentially a boat fire. We haven’t crunched the exact math ourselves, but we consider mounting your marine grill easier and far less expensive than dealing with costly repairs and hospital bills.

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How do you clean a boat grill?


This depends on the requirements in your owner’s manual, but we can suggest basic guidelines. After each grilling session, and while the grill is still warm, remove the interior components and scrub food residue away with heavy-duty scrub pads, soap, and warm water. A brass wire brush may work well with hot grill grates, but tougher spray-on cleaners can help with burnt-on residue. Avoid contact with electronic components. Rinse with fresh water when finished. Use nothing harsher than a soft cloth on exterior metal to prevent scratching. Dry parts before storage, and use a cover between sessions for best results.

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How often do you clean a boat grill?


Clean your boat grill after every use (the sooner, the better) and prior to long-term storage, just as you’d expect with the grill in your outdoor kitchen at home. It’s a great idea to completely disassemble and clean the entire boat grill at least once per year; if it sees heavy use during season, more often than once is advisable.

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Do boat grills require assembly?


Most boat grills do require assembly upon arrival. The good news is that these grill assemblies are generally simple procedures and can typically be done in under half an hour. For example, the Magma Marine Kettle gas grill arrives in 12-15 pieces (depending on model) — and that includes the bolts, lock nuts, and hex wrench.

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Do I have to use 1lb propane gas bottles?


In short, yes. Despite what forums may tell you, using anything other than small, disposable propane canisters (or pre-regulated low-pressure propane and valves) on a boat is in violation of American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) guidelines. Furthermore, larger refillable propane tanks can sacrifice performance or control valve and regulator integrity by clogging the orifices.

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Can I use butane gas with a boat grill?


No. Only use the fuel type recommended by your owner’s manual. While butane might make an attractive shortcut for a couple of reasons, recall that colder temperatures (including wind chill, possibly) will dampen if not outright ruin its cooking efficiency. The day you fire up the grill for a boat of hungry guests and realize your butane gas won’t cut it is a day you won’t shortly forget.

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How well do boat grills work when it’s windy?


Unless your sailing vessel features great canvas coverage above deck, we find boat grills — like any other grill — aren’t the most wind-durable machines on their own merits. That’s not to say there aren’t solutions. For starters, facing the lid away from the wind while opening and closing will shield your burner. Cooking with a solid griddle will inhibit the wind while saving flaky food from slipping between the cracks. If all else fails, infrared boat grills don’t use flame burners. In fact, they consider breezes adorable and will laugh at a stiff gust directly to its face.

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Can I use a boat grill while underway?


It is never a good idea to interact with a safety hazard on an unstable surface. If the water gets rough while someone’s flipping burgers, there’s no guarantee that the hot cooking grate won’t incite a panic by bouncing out of place — or that the propane tank won’t disengage. Wait until you reach your destination before firing up the grill. Besides, who wants to be the one standing over a burning grill at 30 knots on thudding waves, let alone twice that speed? That sounds an awful lot like “pulled the short straw” to us.

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Do I need to stow my boat grill when not in use?


To ensure longevity, always stow the boat grill between excursions onto the water. Though your owner’s manual will always supply firm guidelines for stowing, here are some best practices that will be generally universal: always disconnect the fuel canister from the valve, unthread the boat grill completely from its mounting bracket, and stow boat grill and removed components in a clean, dry area to protect from spider web obstructions and possible corrosion. Also, never store the grill or any flammable fuel below decks. If the gas leaks, you want it going somewhere else than “further into an enclosed space.”

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Do boat grills include mounting hardware?


Generally speaking, no, boat grills do not include mounting hardware. However, we supply resources (such as our Magma Grill Mounts comparison article) to choose the most appropriate mounting kit for your use case.

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Can I use a boat grill on a pontoon boat?


Observe basic safety precautions, and you can absolutely grill on a pontoon boat. Note that some marinas have their own rules and regulations to deter open flames and grills.

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Do marine grills need to be covered when not in use?


Yes, you need to cover your marine grill between uses — and you should want to, anyway. A marine grill boat cover is the fastest and simplest protection you can wedge between that beautiful grill finish and the saline elements out to wreak utter havoc upon it.

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Won’t grills rust on a boat, especially in salt water?


While that’s true of most grills, boat grills are specifically engineered to withstand salty, humid environments where the sun meets the wind and water. In fact, that’s a prime example of what makes the investment worth it. Think of it this way: in nearly all cases, a rock-solid of durable sneakers offers far better performance and practicality than hiking boots. But when you’re an hour into climbing a slope for that excellent view, you’ll wish you had the boots instead.

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Can’t I just use my portable grill on a boat?


No. Not only do rough boating conditions and harsh elements jeopardize the condition of your portable grill, the simple act of bringing one onto a water vessel often immediately invalidates the warranty. Suitable mounts are incredibly rare, if they even exist, and you’re likely to rattle the mechanisms apart with the sheer strength of the boat thudding against waves. Portable grills simply aren’t built for maritime environments — save the tailgating grill for the tailgate, and invest in a proper boat grill.

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Why are boat grills so expensive?


We find boat grills to be a relatively economical investment for any budget. Frankly, due in part to their superior materials and capability to shrug off rugged saltwater conditions, we’d expect them to be more expensive. Especially compared to portable grills, dedicated boat grills will vastly outpace and outlast them in maritime environments 10 out of 10 times.

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Is it legal to grill on a boat?


Boat grilling is a perfectly legal practice, barring special requirements or regulations from the authorities in your area. In most cases, all you need to do is abide by basic safety concerns (such as securely mounting your boat grill). Note that other nearby vessels are well within their rights to call in local boating authorities if your party overwhelms theirs with excessive smoke, noise, and general antisocial behavior. Alternatively, you can take the opportunity to make some new friends! You’ll already have something in common — boating — and next time, maybe they can bring the New York strips.

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