For most of us, just getting out on the water in our boat is all the recreation we need. The wind in your hair, sun on your face, maybe a cool dip overboard before enjoying a nice lunch … what else do you need?

But we realize that some people love games. Card games, board games, any kind of competition. Some people are just made that way!

So for those kinds of uber-competitive types, we found a few ideas of games to play, or take onboard, the next time you get out for a day or an afternoon on the water. And if you don’t want to play … you can volunteer to be the referee. Whistles are optional.

Ball Games

Most sports start with a ball. Thrown, batted or kicked. On a small boat, that would appear to be a problem. But look around–all that water is like a big playing field!

We saw this simple, inflatable Lob the Blob game on Amazon for about $20. Float the target off the stern and see who can land the most blobs in the 10-inch hole. Good for all ages and levels of sobriety.

For about $100, you can get a VersaHoop basketball backboard and net that affixes to a boat hook–just hang it on an outside rail, jump in and start firing three-pointers! All players should wear their PFD’s in case of a hard foul, but also because it makes it easier to shoot and score when you don’t have to keep swimming!

If you’ve already got an inner tube (for dragging the kids around, always a fun game) you can take along a half dozen wiffle golf balls, a pitching wedge and maybe a square of artificial turf and wile away hours trying to chip the balls into the inner tube hole. It’s harder than it looks–Tiger Woods never has to play from a rolling, yawing fairway! The winner gets a cold beer. So does the loser.

A good choice for onboard balls for these and other games you invent, try the set of six Champion Sports Playground balls. Colorful, floatable, soft Rhino skin and foam core if you get one in the kisser, 8.5 inches in diameter. About $25 for the set at Amazon.

Board Games

On those hopefully rare occasions when a weather front passes and the gang has to gather under the bimini or even in the cabin below, having a good supply of board games on hand is always a good idea. 

We saw this magnetic three-in-one Chess, Checkers and Backgammon set on Amazon for around $20. The magnetized board pieces won’t slip or move if the boat does, and the choice of games should appeal to all ages and capabilities.

A couple of decks of these waterproof playing cards from Hoyle should keep everyone happy until the rain squalls pass. Who’s up for a game of Go Fish?

Sing Out, Louise

We want to instantly apologize to the people on the next boat over, but this portable Karaoke machine (about $150 from Amazon) looks like it would be a hoot to take along on our next voyage. It’s got a big 7-inch color screen, 35 watt amplifier (again, sorry to those anchored nearby!) and 300 pre-loaded songs. Two microphone inputs, so you can sing duets. Oh, my!