With yacht charters being the pinnacle of luxury travel, onboard yacht etiquette is part of what makes the whole experience so special. Standards on board a charter yacht are incredibly high, so mastering a few rules of yacht etiquette - from what to wear on a yacht to how to treat the crew with respect - can go a long way to ensuring the perfect charter holiday.
What is yacht etiquette?
Yacht etiquette lays out the unspoken, accepted standards of behaving on board and varies from yacht to yacht. Size can matter in this regard, with larger, more luxurious yachts for charter likely having a more formal and sophisticated structure to charter operations and much more formal guest/crew communication. On smaller yachts serviced by just a couple of crew members, the crew may be more involved in your day to day charter activities and have a more informal relationship.
Yacht etiquette also varies depending on what kind of trip you are on. If you're a guest of the owner on a private yacht, in addition to the basics, yacht etiquette centres around your host. Don’t be late for meals, respect the itinerary of your host and - as a general rule of thumb - don’t do anything on board that they wouldn’t do!
Guests of private yachts or charter yachts can all benefit from the following five tips on etiquette:
Respect the yacht's crew
Respecting the crew, including their privacy and time off, is at the core of yacht etiquette. Working and living on board a luxury yacht is a challenging role, so to ensure the crew can deliver a seven-star service, it's important to respect the boundaries. The galley and crew quarters are out of bounds for guests, and while yacht crew consistently deliver on the most demanding of requests, it’s essential to respect their rest time.
Feel at home
Comfort is key on a luxury yacht charter. Despite the stereotypes, it’s not necessary to live up to the typical ‘yacht life’ image. Take care of the yacht, have fun, and use it. The sun loungers are there to be lounged on, and the Jacuzzi is there for sipping sunset cocktails. When considering what to wear on the yacht, make sure you feel at home and comfortable – a yacht charter can be as glamorous or low key as you want it to be. One golden rule, however: Always stay barefoot on the boat!
Respect other yachts around you
Respecting the yachts around you is basic yacht etiquette. For example, when you're in a marina, try to keep the volume down in the early hours. When you’re out on the jet skis and other water toys during the day, be sensible when near other yachts. As tempting as it is to get up close and see who’s on board, it's important to respect the privacy of others on a private holiday.
Take safety seriously
Safety is the prime responsibility for the captain and crew on a luxury yacht charter, and they take it very seriously. The crew and crew are legally required to ensure the safety of guests at all times and it's important to take the time to listen to the safety briefing at the start of your charter which covers emergency protocol, lifejackets and life rafts.
Be clear with planning and communication
Being clear on what you want out of your yacht charter is key to success. Your charter broker will communicate your wishes with the yacht but it's important to make your expectations clear. Are you looking for a relaxing time? Or do you want something more active or family-orientated? Equally, if you’re planning a big event or a celebration, let your charter broker know in time. Yacht charters are the ultimate setting for a special occasion but to be sure the crew can deliver beyond your expectations, advance notice and planning are essential.
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