Nautical Party

Home >> Graduation Party Themes >> Nautical Party

AHOY! sail into the graduation party. Set sail for some exciting rough seas, splicing the mainsail, nautical games and a boat load of fun! 

A nautical theme party can be a simple party and fun to do. Lots of fun and enthusiasm can make it amazing.

The location could be simply at home, which is great for relatives and friends who will be comfortable and relaxed. Why not try a ship, Ocean Liner, Marina, Yacht, Yacht club, Harbor Cruiser, or indeed any venue with a sea view. 

You could use a Maritime Museum. The Museum certainly will have lots of brilliant memorabilia and excellent displays of historical ships. The Museum may be able to help you with a guided tour and party facilities. There are excellent examples of Museums like the ones at Vancouver and Boston.

Use a Canal Boat. These boats can host a small party and can be used to transport guests around the canal.

I hope to give you lots of graduation party ideas, including:

  • Invitation ideas and wording

  • Costumes

  • Food

  • Games

  • Favors

  • Lots more ideas.

Graduation Nautical Party - Invitations

There are lots of great images to use to give graduation invitations, and the graduation party, a nautical feel. You can put together homemade graduation invitations, use clip art, photo graduation invitations and brilliant free printables. Images like yachts, boats, anchors, ships wheels, life preservers, and of course sailors.


Regular white printer paper is just fine. You may be able to find stationery from an cruise ship company, yacht brokers, marina or sailing school which you can customize with your own wording to make exciting invitations. Some marinas have their own postcards which you could use.

You can also use white construction paper cut out in the shape of yachts, anchors, life preservers, large boats, or even a lifeboat. Personalize the nautical images with school colors and name. Write the graduation party details on the invites.

Also you can use card and make travel tickets and ships boarding passes. Decorate the tickets with Graduate Liner, departing from School Docks at Terminal 1, for example. 

Homemade Graduation Invitations

Once you have the paper organised you can move on to writing the invites. 

Use lots of phrases like:

  • Ahoy

  • Shipmates

  • Anchors away

  • Ships captain

  • Set sail

  • Splice the mainsail

  • Crew

  • Below deck

Brilliant ways to word the graduation party invitations are:


Ahoy graduates, come to the school (name) graduation sailing party at the Marina (venue).
Sailors costume required
Set sail at (details)
RSVP to Captain(details)

The good ship (school name) invites you to the graduation sailing party at (venue).
Join the ship for deck games, ship's food and great fun!
Sailing Costume required
Set sail at (details)
RSVP to Booking Agent(details)

Join the Captain (graduate) at the graduation sailing party. 
Sailors required (no experience necessary)
Join up at Dock (venue details)
Sailing Costume required
Set sail at (details)
RSVP to Captain (details)

Anchors Away!
The good ship (school name) is sailing from Dock (venue) on (time/date)
Please wear nautical costume
Set sail at (details)
RSVP to Booking Agent(details)

Ahoy Maties!
Jump aboard the Schooner (school name, venue)
The captain wants to catch the tide at (time/date)
Nautical costumes only
RSVP to Booking Agent (details)

Calling all seafarers
The good ship (school name) is sailing on the next tide at (time/date) from Dock (details)
Nautical Costume
RSVP to Captain(details)

The Admiral (graduate) invites you to the graduation regatta.
The regatta starts at (time/date) from Marina (details)
Nautical Costume
RSVP to the Admiral (details)

The Yacht Club (venue) Captain (graduate) invites you to a nautical graduation soiree
The party starts at (time/date)
Nautical Costume
RSVP to the Captain (details)

Calling all graduate submariners
Dive into the graduation party at (venue) naval base
Costume: submariners uniform
Date/ Time (details)

The Graduate Navy gives you notice that you are required to join the Graduate battleship (venue) at (date/time)
The navy need you to work hard (dance), play hard (sing) and eat as much as you can.
Navy costume required
Date/ Time (details)

Clip Art Graduation Invitations

The simplest way to complete the graduation party invitations is to use nautical clip art. 

nautical party
nautical party
  • Copy and Past the nautical graduation clip art image that you would like to use into your word document. Before you paste make sure your cursor is in the location where you want the clip art placed

  • Click on the image and arrows will appear on the corners. Use these arrows to stretch the image to the desired size.

  • Then I simply added wordart at the top of the page for a great title and added the party details in plain text underneath the graduation clip art.

Photo Nautical Party Invitations

Also, simply arrange a good quality photograph. Photograph of the graduates dressed in nautical costume would be perfect. This could be done in many creative ways. Wearing a sailors outfit, or even just cap, take photographs against a sea backdrop, on a ship, or even just a sea and sand travel poster. Just set the scene for the nautical party.

Scan it onto your computer.

Using photo editing software, change the picture dimensions to the size you need.

Then simply print onto your choice of paper.

Free Printable Graduation Invitations 

nautical party invitation

Graduation Nautical Party - Costumes

nautical party
nautical party
  • Captains costume 

  • Navy Sailor costume

  • Hats like captains, admiral  or sailors hats

  • Old fashioned admirals outfits with a hat, knee length boots, and vest

  • Of course guests could choose a yacht club member outfit of shirt tie, jacket, captains hat and deck shoes

  • Accessorize with tattoos, anchors, life preservers, and hats

Graduation Nautical Party - Decorations

nautical party

Have fun and borrow as any nautical items you can find. Filling the venue with lots of decorations can add to the effect. 


  • Create an entrance to the graduation that will allow photographs to be taken. A sign saying Graduation Marina, Graduation Ocean Liner or School Dock, for example, would be excellent. Use a photo opportunity with a sailboat or ships wheel.
  • In the front garden put anchors, a ships wheel, with perhaps some fishing nets, toy ships and plastic fish.

  • Nautical signs could be Ship Ahoy, Graduate Ahoy, Bon Voyage, Marina, Ocean terminal.

Scene Setters

  • For the walls have your own mural created with a nautical scene. Include ships, life preservers and the guest of honor. Guests can sign the mural and leave messages.

  • Put up pictures and posters of ships, ocean liners, sailing boats, yachts, and tugs. You may also be able to find posters of sea going films like Love Boat or The Perfect Storm.

  • If you can, display pictures of all kinds of sailors such as Captains, First Officers, Cooks and Sailors at the nautical party.

  • Other ships items that would be good are portholes, ships rails, anchors, life preservers, ships wheels, telescopes and nets.

  • Create a submarine mural including the main area with the periscope, gauges, instruments and equipment. Draw in the graduate as the captain and guests as the crew.

  • For a submarine effect you can also create fake dials and equipment that you see in movies. They can be cut out of cardstock and drawn in.

  • Place white butcher paper on a wall, with correct fire safety, and color in the sea and ocean waves.

  • Use pale blue gossamer to create a sea blue look.

  • If you can create a mural with the sky, clouds and planes.

  • Create a passenger announcement board which can announce the graduation and also give the graduation party timetable

  • Decorate with some world maps, globes and any nautical charts you can find.

Great Decorations

  • Hang toy ships up everywhere.

  • Use any plastic lobsters, fish, crabs or even seagulls you can find

  • Pictures of nautical people can be excellent. Sailors, navy, people fishing, old fashioned mariners, yacht club members.

  • Cut out porthole shapes from cardstock, draw in the outer areas and place the graduate‘s and guests photos in the center.

  • Cut out lots of shapes of ships and color them in.

  • Buy or create bunting and create an effect like a yacht at a special occasion.

  • Decorate plain balloons with anchors and ship names like Titanic and Queen Mary.

  • Put up National Maritime flags and celebrate this international activity.

  • Put up ships signs with Galley, Toilets, Bridge, Deck, Engine Room, Boiler Room and Quarters.

  • Decorate with posters of old fashioned Schooners, famous American Civil War ships and famous American Naval Ships.

  • Decorate with pictures and posters of famous sailors.

  • You could take inspiration from Power Boats. There are lots of magazines, posters and pictures of fabulous Power Boats to use in the decorations.

  • Also you could use old fashioned treasure ships as one of the decorating themes.

  • Sea lanterns make great lighting for a pathway.

  • Other decorations could be a fake lighthouse, ships lanterns, seashells, treasure chests, and flags.

  • Signposts can often set the nautical party scene quite well. On board a ship you can come across signs like Port, Starboard, Poop deck, Bridge, Galley, Quarters, Engine Room, Lifeboats and Life vests. Create your own signs for the party.

  • Hang streamers everywhere, including the entrance, with lots of colors, particularly green for seaweed.

nautical party


  • Try a Anchor Centerpiece.

  • Use ships wheel or anchor place mats, sea chart menus and anchor cards.

  • Use toy sailboats,and ships lanterns as the centerpiece and also have a photo of the graduate.

  • Blue color napkins, plates and cutlery.

  • Cover the table with a sea blue tablecloth.

  • Without adding too much, you could add in some plastic fish, sea shells and green streamers for seaweed.

Decorate your guests 

This is a brilliant way to add to the graduation party, and getting your guests in the graduation party mood!

  • Captains or sailors hats

  • T-shirts with Team Graduate and a sailing ship on them just like an Americas Cup team would wear.

  • Fake anchor tattoos

A great idea is to have a box of guest decorations at the party entrance and hand them out liberally! 

Graduation Nautical Party - Food and Drink

Nautical food and drink can be anything you want, from simple galley food to ocean liner buffet and formal dinner. Lots of seafood would be appropriate, though not to all guests taste. The simplest way to cater is to prepare a buffet and allow yourself more time with the graduation party guests.

  • All kinds of sandwiches, cut into fish shapes with a cookie cutter.

  • Seafood pasta

  • Seafood stir fry

  • Prawn or shrimp cocktail

  • Fish N Chips

  • Fish sticks

  • Food that is prepared to look like a nautical theme like banana boats with sails made of say apple or orange pieces. Also the plate could have apple pieces with sail shaped cheese.

  • Green salad

  • Bread roll

  • Boiled Potatoes

  • French fries

  • Ice Cream of any flavor

  • Blue jell-o

  • Fruit bowls

  • Carrots and dips.

Of course it is a party, so to cater for guests of all ages it may be good to have some party food:

  • Hot Dogs

  • Nachos

  • Pretzels

  • Popcorn

To drink have lots of sodas and water.

Graduation Cake

The graduation party cake is very easy to make as all the ingredients are mixed together in the same bowl.

The Graduation Cake page gives all the details you need on the recipe, cooking tools and ingredients. Also lots of ideas on cupcakes, graduation cap cakes, decorating ideas and lots, lots more. 

Simple Decorating Idea for Your Graduation Party Cake

1) Decorate the cake with blue frosting for the sea. Using white frosting create a sailboat shape, with black or grey frosting add in portholes. Then using colored frosting of your choice add the graduates name and congratulations.

2) Alternatively, cut the cake into an ocean liner shape, once the cake is frosted with black frosting, plus white frosting for the decks, then add congratulations to the graduate.

Also consider an anchor or ships wheel. 

Graduation Nautical Party - Games

  • Tie A Knot - give each guest a piece of string say 1 foot long. Demonstrate a range of nautical knots like a Reef knot or Rolling Hitch and ask guests to tie the knots themselves. Since this is an icebreaker make it fun.

  • Sea Shanties - sing a sea shanty together

  • To emulate the cabin crew carrying trays of drinks on a stormy day give each guest a tray with 6 full glasses of water. Set out a course, say along the deck. The guests must run along the course spilling as little water as possible.

  • Deck obstacle course, using a fake deck as a course, set out obstacles such as soft toys, toy boats, chairs and lanterns. Split the group into pairs. Blindfold one of the partners - he or she will be captain, and the other player - harbor pilot. When the game starts, the captain will be asked to move from one side of the deck to the end without hitting any obstacles with the help of harbor pilot.

  • Split the guests into teams and have a tug of war. Give them a rope, set up 2 lines about 2 to 3 feet apart and put a ribbon on the rope. First team to get the ribbon past their line wins. Needs a referee.

  • Water relay, split the guests into teams. Each team is given a bucket of water. Mark out a course, say 12 to 20 feet long. One at a time, each team member runs the course carrying the bucket and passes it on to the next team member. The team which has the most water in the bucket at the end wins.

  • Hire a yacht and a trainer who can put the guests through a series of real yachting exercises.

  • Have a fitness exercise. Cruise ships have aerobics and water aerobics. Ask a qualified fitness instructor to put volunteer guests through a similar fitness routine.

  • If you are based at a Marina or outdoor activity center then you may be able to have safe dinghy or rowing boat races. They should be booked through the venue and come under their safety rules and insurance.

  • Pin the sail on the boat, first arrange a picture of a sailboat, a sail and a blindfold. Spin the blindfold guests around and have them pin the sail on the boat.

  • For younger ones buy nautical coloring in books and set up an area for them to play.

  • Sail Boat Races - 

    Give each guest a sail boat and ask them to put their mark on the sail.
    Fill a kids pool with water
    Each guest is to try and blow their sail boat across the pool the quickest!

  • Treasure Hunt, first make sailboats with construction paper (or buy toy sailboat kits). Next cut them up into identical pieces which are hidden around the venue. Teams must find the pieces and assemble their boat. First team to complete wins the prize.

  • Morse Code - Using real ships flags or pictures have an expert flag a real message. Ask guests to guess the message.

  • Give everyone construction paper. Each guest is to make their own paper sailboat.

  • Decorate a nautical party t-shirt. Provide a t-shirt and t-shirt pens and ask each guest to make their own nautical design. Prize for best design.

  • An ocean liner has other games available such as deck quoits, horseshoe toss and putting. You could arrange competitive graduation party games based on these classics by hiring the equipment.

  • Observation test - the captain of any ship must observe all obstacles and other ships. Discretely display 6 to 10 toy ships or pictures of ships around the venue. Near the end ask guests to complete a sheet on what they observed. Ask for a description and location of the toy ships. Have prizes for those getting all answers correct.

  • Map and compass game - the ship's navigator should be able to take directional instructions and plot a route. Split everyone into teams and give them an orienteering challenge. They will need a map and compass.

  • Have a navigation game but based at a chart table. Split the guests into teams and give each team a compass, nautical map, pencil and ruler. Pin point on the map where they are starting. Give them a few headings and sailing times on each heading. They are to work out where they end up. Give a trophy to the winning team.

  • Play a game of Battleships so each guest can show their mental agility. Borrow a game from a friend if you don‘t have one.

Every party needs great music to make it come alive. The graduate's favorite music, bearing in mind the audience, will be fine. 

Graduation Nautical Party - Favors

nautical party
nautical party

Leave your guests with a great reminder of the nautical party:

  • T-shirts with a Americas Cup Team Graduate design

  • Nautical stickers

  • Anchor jewelry

  • Fake ships wheel or anchor

  • Cruise Ship Party Pass

  • Tickets for a boat trip

  • Toy boats or fish

  • Sea Shells 

  • Fun stuff like glow bracelets and glow necklaces

  • Mini binoculars

  • Plane Tickets

  • Map of the world

  • Cake

  • Chocolates

  • Give nautical joke books

  • Nautical cartoons

  • Yachting history books

  • Warship, Cruise ship or submarine history books

  • Americas cup story books

  • Biographical accounts of round the world sailors

  • Bath or pool nautical type toys.

Graduation Nautical Party Preparation

The nautical party day does need a good schedule of events. You will need it to get through everything, even if you are having the nautical party at a marina.

  • Plan the start of the nautical party, when each game will roughly occur, when the food will be served and when the party will start and end.

  • Know exactly which games will be played

  • Have the nautical party music, prizes, helpers and materials ready in advance.

  • Each helper should know exactly what they have to do.

  • Have the nautical party favors ready in advance, and in running order.

  • Know exactly who is helping to clear away after the nautical party.

Graduation Nautical Party - Ideas

More ideas to make the graduation party just brilliant:

  • Make sure everyone has their photo taken, especially if you have a great nautical party entrance

  • Video the nautical party

  • Contrast the old and the new at the graduation party, particularly over the lifetime of the graduate if you can. You could have a history of yachting area where you show posters and photos of yachts through the years. You can also do this with the clothing worn and the equipment used. You can do the same for all kinds of nautical items like warships, submarines and Cruise ships.

  • If the graduate is a member of a sailing club or even is a sea cadet there will be lots of photos with their boats, shipmates and fellow club members which you can display.

  • Save money and have a joint graduation party with other graduates.
    This one of the graduation party ideas can give excellent cost sharing, lots of people to do the work and help find items at cheaper costs.

  • Show DVDs of famous yachting events like The Americas Cup.

  • Show videos of the graduate sailing.

  • Save money and book nautical party venues for the cheaper weeknights, perhaps giving more money to decorate your graduation party theme.

Share Your Graduation Nautical Party

If you would like to share your complete graduation party with us send us your graduation party story and photos and we will create your own party page and photo gallery hosted on our site. (Family and friends will be able to find inspiration from your graduation nautical party and comment on your ideas.) If you share your complete nautical party details you will be automatically entered into our next contest. This year we are having a bumper $100 prize fund. There will be an overall winner and runners up prizes. The winner will be the best overall graduation party story and photos. 

Good luck with your graduation nautical party. A nautical party will be fantastic!

Return from Graduation Nautical Party
to Graduation Party Themes

Return from Graduation Nautical Party
to Home Page

Like This?

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Home     Privacy Policy     Contact

By Jane Andrew, Copyright © 2009 - 2018

Search This Site