Etiquette on a Charter Yacht
Your dream vacation may be one yacht ride away, and when the time comes for you to step aboard this wonderful yacht, there are a few rules of etiquette one should know. First, it is of utmost importance to treat your yacht crew with respect. Each professional crew member is unique and will do their absolute best to make you feel comfortable and welcome. These educated professionals have sailed the seas for many years and love sharing their valuable and one of a kind knowledge with their many charter guests. All they ask is to be treated with the same level of courtesy in return. Yes, you may be paying for this beautiful experience but that is no excuse to treat someone as less than human. Follow the 11 rules of etiquette listed below and your chartered yacht stay will be a breeze.
#1 Upon arrival, wait for the crew to welcome you aboard or ask for permission to board. The crew is usually at the dock awaiting your arrival and will immediately greet you but in the rare case that they are not, ask to board the boat before stepping aboard. It is the polite thing to do.
#2 As you board your beautiful yacht make sure to take off your shoes from the street. Each yacht has their own dedicated area to store street shoes so they can be easily accessed every time one needs to go ashore. Shoes are permitted while aboard, but only specific kinds, such as slippers or clean shoes with light soles that are not typically worn on the street. If you are unsure as to whether or not you can wear your chosen pair of shoes on the cruise, just ask a crew member, they are happy to help!
#3 Be courteous and pay attention during the safety briefing during pre-departure. The captain and crew will give you a in depth briefing on the yachts safety procedures before exiting the port. It is your responsibility to listen. These rules are enforced for your protection and safety, so it is best to abide by them.
#4 Once you have left the port, the crew will take you on a tour of the yacht and explain all basic systems of the ship and how they work. Specific instructions will be given on how to use the boat's toilets, electrical outlets, water/showers and lights. These systems are utilized quite differently on a yacht then at home or on a cruise, it is in your best interest to listen to their specific instructions closely. If you misuse their systems you could possibly damage the boat and the repairs will be coming out of your wallet.
#5 Chartering with your kids is definitely a special experience! However, it is important to keep in mind that your professional charter crew are not babysitters. Each crew member is responsible for their own job which keeps your yacht afloat and running smoothly. Most charter rule books and guidelines specifically state this rule. Some charter crews are extremely kid-friendly and may offer to entertain your kids for an activity or two. Do not abuse this privilege and understand this is not their full time job.
#6 When docked at destination harbors be courteous to the neighboring yacht crews. Additionally, it is proper to keep noise down before eight in the morning and eleven at night. Contrary to popular belief, sound travels extremely easily across water.
#7 Do not forget that the main living area and saloon are community spaces on the yacht. The polite thing to do is to keep all personal items like towels, hats, and sunglasses in your living quarters or with you at all times in a small pack. This ensures that your belongings will not be lost or stolen. Your items are your responsibility, not the crew's.
#8 Each yacht has a designated area for drinks and snacks that you are welcome to help yourself to throughout the day. It is extremely improper and frowned upon to eat food from the main galley fridge and lockers without asking permission first. The probability of the yacht's cook having plans for the food coming from these areas is highly likely, so be sure to ask before taking anything.
#9 The captain's word is the law of the yacht. Thus, if he/she states that weather conditions, time constraints, or any other safety issues are preventing your charter from sailing to a scheduled destination, do not argue with him or her. It is the captain and crew's main goal to provide you with the best vacation possible but not at the cost of putting you in danger. Your safety as well as the safety of the yacht is of utmost importance.
#10 Number ten is not so much a rule as it is a suggestion. Several brokers encourage guests to treat the captain and crew to one dinner ashore while aboard their carter. This is not required by any means, but it is a great gesture to show how much you are enjoying your stay.
#11 It is customary for charter guests to leave a five to fifteen percent gratuity for the captain and crew at the end of their stay. This gratuity is a symbol of your trip satisfaction. Although, your charter crew will work hard to make sure you do not know how hard they are working to ensure all your needs are met. They do work extremely hard, from dusk till dawn. Remember how wonderful your charter was and how hard your crew has worked when determining the amount you tip.