The future of music

30 Best Boat Songs (Ultimate Boating Music Playlist)

December 8, 2023
Best boat songs

I’ve picked out the best boat songs, creating an ultimate boating music playlist that captures the freedom and adventure of being on the water.

This article is your soundtrack for sailing, cruising, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of the sea.

Top boat songs

  • “Day O!” by Harry Belafonte
  • “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Jimmy Buffett
  • “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • “Rock the Boat” by The Hues Corporation
  • “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
  • “Boats” by Kenny Chesney
  • “I’m On a Boat” by The Lonely Island
  • “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
  • “Sloop John B” by The Beach Boys
  • “Redneck Yacht Club” by Craig Morgan

1. “Day O!” by Harry Belafonte

This classic tune is the perfect boat party song and one of the best boat songs of all time. 

This traditional calypso-style Caribbean folk song is a must-have for your boating playlist, with its upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics that you can’t help but sing along to.

2. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Jimmy Buffett

This is a great song for anyone looking for an upbeat and lively boat party song. 

It perfectly encapsulates the idea of boating and the feeling of being out on the water: just let go and enjoy the ride. 

Whether you’re boating in the Caribbean, cruising along the coast, or just having fun on the lake, this song will get everyone in the mood for some good boat music.

3. “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

With its memorable chorus and timeless guitar melody, “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is sure to be a hit at any boat party or boat cruise.

4. “Rock the Boat” by The Hues Corporation

This 70s funk song is the perfect addition to any boat party playlist. 

The catchy lyrics and easy-to-dance-to-beat make it one of the best boating songs of all time. 

It’s a great choice for those who want to keep the energy up while on the boat and enjoy some upbeat boating music.

5. “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding

When it comes to boating songs, you can’t go wrong with “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. 

This timeless favorite is a popular choice for boat parties, cruises, and other boating activities. 

The song has a laid-back feel and upbeat melody that make it perfect for setting the mood on the water.

6. “Boats” by Kenny Chesney

If you’re looking for an upbeat boating song that will get your boat party started, look no further than “Boats” by Kenny Chesney. 

This vintage country music hit is one of the best boat songs out there. 

It has a driving beat and catchy melody that will have you dancing around on the deck of your boat while cruising around the lake or ocean.

7. “I’m On a Boat” by The Lonely Island

When you think of boating songs, The Lonely Island’s “I’m On a Boat” probably comes to mind. 

It’s the perfect anthem for anyone who loves to be out on the open water. 

The lyrics are just as fun as the visuals, making it one of the best boat songs ever created. 

From telling tales of being out in the middle of the ocean to taking part in a wild party on a yacht, this track will have everyone singing along in no time.

8. “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot

The poignant “Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald” by the Canadian folk singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot is a classic boat song that tells the tragic story of the sinking of an iron ore freighter on Lake Superior in 1976. 

The haunting lyrics reflect the ominous circumstances surrounding the accident and the sadness of those left behind.

9. “Sloop John B” by The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are an iconic American band whose music has been enjoyed by generations of fans.

Another classic song by The Beach Boys is their 1976 single “Sloop John B” 

This song is a cover of a traditional Bahamian folk song that was first recorded in the 1920s. 

The Beach Boys’ version of the song became one of their most popular hits and remains a fan favorite to this day.

10. “Redneck Yacht Club” by Craig Morgan

Country music star Craig Morgan has had a long and successful career and is loved by many fans. 

One of his most beloved songs is “Redneck Yacht Club”. 

The song was released in 2005 and became an instant classic.

The lyrics of the song speak to the idea of a weekend getaway with friends, hitting the open seas on a boat, and forgetting all their cares.

11. “Sailing” by Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross is one of the greatest contemporary songwriters, and his classic track “Sailing” is an iconic boat song. 

The lyrics speak to the joys of freedom out on the open waters and the relaxation that comes with being surrounded by nature.

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

Boaters and music go hand-in-hand, and no one knows that better than Jimmy Buffett. 

His classic hit, “Son of a Son of a Sailor”, is a must-have on any boat playlist. 

This upbeat track tells the story of a sailor whose love of the sea has been passed down through generations.

13. “Buy Me a Boat” by Chris Janson

Boating enthusiasts of all ages are sure to love the country-rock track “Buy Me a Boat” by Chris Janson.

This upbeat and feel-good song has been featured on the soundtracks of popular films. 

“Buy Me a Boat” is an instant classic that’s sure to bring good vibes to your boating adventures. 

So, put on your best Hawaiian shirt, grab your sunblock, and let “Buy Me a Boat” by Chris Janson provide the soundtrack for your next cruise.

14. “Boat Drinks” by Jimmy Buffett

This amazing tune from Jimmy Buffett is the perfect song for boating. 

With its upbeat, fun-loving vibes and catchy melody, “Boat Drinks” is one of the best boat songs out there. 

It’s perfect for any boat party song or boat cruising song and will get you in the mood to enjoy the water.

15. “I’m On A Boat” by The Lonely Island

The Lonely Island is back with a nautical-inspired banger. 

Released in 2009, “I’m On A Boat” quickly became a fan favorite and established The Lonely Island as one of the most innovative hip-hop acts of the decade. 

With its witty lyrics and upbeat production, “I’m On A Boat” is sure to get your boat rocking.

16. “If I Had a Boat” by Lyle Lovett 

Lyle Lovett brings us a catchy melody and thoughtful lyrics with “If I Had a Boat”. 

Listeners can’t help but be drawn into his musings and imaginings of being free on the water. 

Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had a Boat” is a great addition to any boating playlist.

17. “Sail Away” by David Gray

Get ready to set sail with David Gray’s “Sail Away”. 

This classic single, released in 1998, is the perfect song to kick off your boating playlist. 

The soothing, acoustic guitar is accompanied by Gray’s magical voice, which will leave you in a peaceful state of mind. 

Sing along as he croons about adventure and exploration, and you’ll soon find yourself lost in the beauty of the open seas.

18. “Where The Boat Leaves From” by Zac Brown Band

Released in 2006, Zac Brown Band’s song “Where the Boat Leaves From” is a true country classic and perfect for boating. 

The lyrics capture the feelings of someone coming to terms with heartbreak, and the narrator in the song realizes that the only way forward is to find peace on the boat that leaves his hometown.

19. “I Was on a Boat That Day” by Old Dominion

The song tells the story of someone reminiscing about a day spent boating, describing the beauty of nature and the people on the boat. 

It’s sure to be a hit when added to any boat playlist, as it’s a great choice for music for boating and an ideal addition to any list of best boat songs.

20. “Ship Faced” by The Cadillac Three

The Cadillac Three’s song “Ship Faced” is a great addition to any boating playlist. 

With its classic rock riffs and catchy chorus, it’s sure to get your feet tapping and your head bobbing. 

The lyrics tell a story of an epic day out on the open waters, and the upbeat tempo will have you singing along in no time.

21. “Boat Ride” by Brian Kelley

The song is a mellow track with an infectious melody and lighthearted lyrics that will have you feeling the groove. 

With its smooth-sailing guitar licks and gentle vocal harmonies, it’s sure to get your blood flowing and have you ready for a fun ride in the sun. 

So crank up the volume and get ready to cruise as you listen to this feel-good anthem from Brian Kelley.

22. “Fishin’ In The Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 

“Fishin’ In The Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is a fun, uplifting tune about a night out on the water, and it was an instant hit when it was released in 1987. 

The song became a number-one hit on the US Country Singles chart and earned Nitty Gritty Dirt Band awards including a Grammy nomination for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

23. “Sailing” by Rod Stewart

The classic song “Sailing” is a signature hit from the legendary artist Rod Stewart. 

Originally released in 1975, the single topped the charts in multiple countries, including the US and the UK, and earned Stewart his first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance. 

It has since become an international anthem of sorts and a timeless classic, immortalized by its relatable lyrics and lighthearted melodies.

24. “Come Sail Away” by Styx

One of the all-time classic boat songs is “Come Sail Away” by the rock band Styx. 

Released in 1977, this song went on to become a No. 8 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was even inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 

With its upbeat sound and inspiring lyrics about sailing away to the Caribbean and discovering a new land, “Come Sail Away” is sure to get you in the boating mood.

25. “The Downeaster ‘Alexa’” by Billy Joel

With its upbeat tempo and vivid lyrics about a fishing boat captain’s struggles, this song is perfect for making your ultimate boating playlist. 

It has become an anthem for those who love to go boating, providing a source of music for their boat party or cruising.

26. “Sail On” by Commodores

The Commodores is an American funk and soul band, which was at its peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

They released their classic hit “Sail On” in 1979, and it quickly became a staple of music for boating. 

This song offers a perfect blend of a steady, upbeat rhythm and smooth lyrics that make it a great boat party song and the chorus evokes a sense of adventure.

27. “Boats ‘N Hoes” by Huff ‘N Doback

Huff ‘N Doback are a comedic duo made up of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, and “Boats ‘N Hoes” is one of their most well-known songs. 

The song appears in the 2008 comedy Step Brothers, which stars Ferrell and Reilly as two grown men forced to share a bedroom. 

The song was written by Ferrell, Reilly, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone, all of whom also appear in the film.

28. “For A Boat” by Luke Bryan

Released in 2021, it quickly became a hit and earned Luke Bryan multiple awards. 

The song is positive and features lyrics about looking for a carefree life, living off the sea, and spending time with loved ones. 

Whether you are cruising down the river, partying on a boat, or just enjoying good boat music, this song has everything you need to make the most of your boating experience. 

It’s definitely one of the best boat songs around!

29. “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett

This song was released in 1977 and is a testament to Jimmy Buffett’s talent. 

“Margaritaville” has become an anthem for people all over the world who enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of soaking up the sun, having a drink or two, and living in the moment. 

The song was even nominated for two Grammy Awards! If you’re looking for the perfect song to kick off your summer boating playlist, then “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett is an absolute must-have.

30. “Water” by Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley is an American country music singer-songwriter who has achieved immense success in the genre, with over 30 Top 10 singles and 21 No. 1 hits. 

He has won numerous awards for his songwriting, performance, and production, including 3 Grammys and 14 Academy of Country Music Awards. 

“Water,” a song from his 2009 album American Saturday Night, earned him two CMA nominations. 

The song’s positive message of being free and unbounded by life’s troubles resonates to this day.


Whether you’re a fan of country, rock, or anything in between, there’s no denying the importance of having the right music for boating

Boating songs can add energy and excitement to your boat party, make a sunset cruise extra special, and turn any boat trip into an unforgettable experience. 

These 30 best boat songs will make the perfect addition to your boat playlist. 

So turn up the music, get out on the water, and enjoy these upbeat boating songs. 

Similar Playlists:

Songs About Bikers

Songs About the Beach

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

Songs about parents
Previous Story

35 Best Songs About Parents of All Time

Best patriotic songs
Next Story

50 Best Patriotic Songs Worth Adding to Your 4th of July Playlist 

Latest from Entertainment & Playlists