When you’re going on a crewed yacht charter, whether it’s for a day, a week, or considerably longer, there are tips to follow regarding etiquette. You may be spending money to go on the yacht, but you are still a guest because you are not the owner of the yacht. If you were the owner, things would be a lot different. The captain and all of the crew are technically your hosts and just as you need to be mindful of how you act when invited over to someone’s house for dinner, the same goes when you are on a yacht charter.
1. Boarding on your charter yacht
Once you show up at the docks, you cannot simply jump onto the yacht. It is the captain’s ship and therefore you are expected to ask permission to board. This is done as a simple courtesy as they may not be ready for you yet. If you arrive at the correct time, it’s likely that the captain and crew will be waiting and provide the invitation, but otherwise, you ask for permission. Think of it like ringing the doorbell when you go to someone’s house for dinner. Even when you have gone ashore for the day, you want to ask permission to board when you return and this is because there may be various activities going on that need to be cleaned up or various safety precautions need to be taken before you get back on.
2. Remove your shoes – No High Heels
Many yachts have a barefoot rule because it will keep the yacht cleaner. Various cities have a lot of dust and the crew doesn’t want to clean up after you everywhere you step. The shoes should be left in the basket or bin that is likely near where you get onto the yacht. If you are uncomfortable with going barefoot, you can always have a pair of clean shoes to wear around, but they need to be clean on the bottom.
3. Listen to safety briefings
You are about to embark on an adventure on the open seas and there are various things that can go wrong. While the captain and crew are trained to keep you safe and do all they can in an emergency situation, there are things that are expected of you, as well. The captain will explain where life jackets are and what the various signals are when sounded so you know what needs to be done. Failure to listen to the briefings could put you in danger and it is a sign of disrespect.
Throughout the majority of the yacht, there will be no smoking allowed inside yacht. If you do smoke, be sure to ask the captain where it is that you can go – though don’t be upset if the answer is nowhere. This may be something you want to ask about in advance if it is going to be a problem. A dessert cigar may be tolerated in some areas, but again, it is something you want to ask about.
5. Understand party etiquette
Part of the reason to go on a yacht is to party and enjoy, however, there is party etiquette that needs to be followed. If you invite guests onboard, be sure to clear it with the captain. You may also need to inform the Chef ahead of time so that the food and/or beverages can be prepared in advance.
6. Know where community space is
There are going to be areas that are off limits. You need to know where the community space is as these are the areas where you can hang out when not in your room or on the deck.
7. The galley is not your personal kitchen
When you’re on a yacht for a few days or weeks, it can be easy to think of it as home. However, when you get the munchies, it’s important to know where you can and cannot go to feed these cravings. The galley is not your personal kitchen and you cannot go in there to grab a snack. The cook is likely going to have specific meal and snack times. There may also be a community area where snacks are available 24/7. If you require something additional, be sure to go over it with the cook so he or she can plan accordingly.
8. Listen to the Captain
The captain’s word is the law when on a yacht. If he says to do something, you need to listen because it is likely being said to keep the ship safe.
9. Mind your noise
When in harbors and ports, you have to mind your noise level. There may be other vessels near you and after a certain time at night. There may be laws in place to keep noise levels down to a minimum and you need to abide by them to avoid fines.
10. Leave gratuity
The captain and crew have been working for you since you boarded the yacht. You would leave gratuity for the staff on a cruise ship or at a restaurant, so the same is expected when you go on a yacht charter. The gratuity should be based upon all that they have done for you for the length of your stay. Provide it in cash and it can be left to the captain, for him to then split between the rest of the crew. You are not expected to tip each person individually.