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Boating Updated:

The Best Boat Movies: Top 10 Boating Movies

When most of us think about the best boat movies, many often think about movies like Titanic and Captain Phillips. While these are iconic movies, they don’t tell and share the boating lifestyle.

I want to share with you a few movies that are more tailored towards the type of boating that you and I enjoy.

Below are 10 movies that are tailed more towards driveable boats instead of Cruise Ships. I’m primarily focusing on boats driven and operated by a single individual and celebrates the boating lifestyle. 

The Grand Seduction

The Grand Seduction

Jump right into the fishing culture with this hilarious Atlantic Canadian comedy. Set in a tiny fishing village in Newfoundland, the story centers around the small town that must convince a doctor to move to their tiny town so they can secure a manufacturing contract.

The entire town dedicates itself to convincing the visiting doctor that he will have everything he wants if he moves to the village. Obviously, with not much to offer, the truth gets stretched, and hilarity ensues.

This is a fun movie, and the cast put their hearts into making this. The feeling of living in a tiny fishing village makes you yearn for simpler times.

Gone Fishin’

Gone Fishin' Movie Poster
Gone Fishin’

What would happen if Joe Pesci and Danny Glover went fishing together? That’s pretty much the premise of this often-overlooked movie. It would be best if you went into this movie with the expectation of fun, nothing else.

This movie originally got panned by critics looking for the same comedic magic from the Lethal Weapon movies. This movie is fun, but you shouldn’t expect Lethal Weapon-level effects or plot. Just enjoy the movie for what it is.

Dead Calm

Dead Calm Movie Poster
Dead Calm

Remember when you could watch Sam Neill in movies and not think about Jurassic Park? Years before Sam Neill was trying to get off Isla Nublar; he sailed the seas with Nicole Kidman.

This is a psychological thriller where Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman are trapped on their sailboat during dead calm waters. They come across a sinking boat where the other passengers have died, except for one.

Please don’t watch the trailer for this movie, as it gives away too much. Just put the kids to bed, grab some popcorn, and hold onto your partner for the ride.


Jaws Movie Poster

There are good reasons for still not having watched Jaws in the last 45+ years. Maybe you want to go to the beach again in your life and not be constantly terrified of being pulled under by a 45-foot swimming mechanical monster.

This is the movie that started Spielberg on the path to the movie folklore. When you re-watch this movie, you’ll see that the shark is in very few scenes. It’s the suspense of the shark coming that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

We also need to acknowledge this as the movie that made it easy to convince ourselves that “we’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

October Gale

October Gale Movie Poster
October Gale

Coming back to the Canadian Cinema, we have a movie that reminds us why you don’t take a small aluminum boat across Georgian Bay (Lake Huron).

When an unknown man washes up on a doctor’s shoreline, the doctor treats the man but is unable to go for help due to a fall storm coming in. Soon, the person who shot the man shows up to finish the job.

I’m a big fan of boating in Central Ontario, so this movie made the list simply on that. The scenery is majestic, the cottages are beautiful, and there is half a plot within this movie that’s worth watching.

Captain Ron

Captain Ron Movie Poster
Captain Ron

Our first but not last Kurt Russell movie pick is the early 90s comedy Captain Ron. There is no other movie on this list you’ll have more fun with than this. Kurt Russell is simply having a good time making this movie.

The plot centers around a family who inherits a sailboat and needs someone to sail it to Miami for repairs. Obviously, the person they choose is Captain Ron, and hilarity ensues. This is usually on everyone’s list of top sailing movies, and for good reason.


Waterworld Movie Poster

Forget everything you’ve heard about this movie. If you haven’t watched it, go watch it. It’s an action-packed movie that takes place entirely on the water. If you love the water, how could you not be sold?

In the future, all the Arctic ice has melted, and the world is underwater. What is left of humankind lives on boats and small floating cities.

The imagination that goes into creating a world entirely on the water is amazing. The most popular type of boat is now a Catamaran, as it’s fast and flexible in this new world.

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors Movie Poster
The Great Outdoors

I can sum up my love of this movie in two words; John Candy. Add in Dan Akyroyd, and you’re gonna have a great time.

While this movie isn’t primarily about boating, it takes place at the lake, with all kinds of different boats. Each boating scene with John Candy is hilarious, and we can’t forget that water skiing scene.

This movie is a perfect family movie and great if you are stuck in the Cottage on a rainy day. Enjoy some of the best actors of the 80s doing their comedy best.

The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm Movie Poster
The Perfect Storm

I wanted to include at least one true story on this list. The problem is nobody makes true stories when everything goes well. This movie is somber and a reminder of how any water body needs to be respected.

The movie tells the true story of the Andrea Gail, a fishing boat out of Marblehead, Massachusetts, that is lost during the 1991 “Perfect Storm.

The story is well told, and the pace keeps you on edge throughout the movie. If you don’t know the story of the Perfect Storm or the Andrea Gail, I recommend watching the movie first before reading the history and having the ending spoiled.


Overboard Movie Poster

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn are delightful in this late 80s comedy. I rewatched this movie earlier this year, and it very much holds up after 35 years.

The scenic scenes of Oregon are amazing, and I wonder how those same landscapes look today by comparison.

I can’t tell you much about the plot without ruining the movie for you. What you need to know is Goldie and Kurt play off each other with chemistry that is as close to perfect as it gets. This also helped kick off their relationship, which is 30+ years strong now.

Chris Blackwell
About Chris Blackwell

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