Chartering a yacht combines privacy with impeccable service in a relaxed environment. However, following a few simple yacht charter etiquette rules help your trip run smoothly. Here are a few dos and don’ts to make your trip more enjoyable:
Yacht Charter Etiquette: DOS
DO fill out the preference form in advance
This handy document goes a long way in making your trip the most enjoyable. Return it prior to setting sail – everything, the service, the cuisine, the onboard experience will be better because of it.
DO listen to safety briefing
Your captain and crew take safety very seriously. And that’s why all charters begin with a brief safety talk. So, make sure you provide undivided attention, in the case of rough seas or an issue onboard, the information you’ll learn can be very helpful.
DO be flexible on your itinerary (weather dependent)
Your captain and crew will do everything possible to follow your itinerary suggestions. But remember: Safety is always the most important. Weather can throw your plans off course; it’s helpful to be understanding if the changes have to be made for weather-related reasons.
DO respect your crew
All crew members work tirelessly to provide impeccable service and meet your high expectations. Everyone is there to make sure you have a truly memorable time. Treat them as you would your most-valued employees.
DO tip the crew
Crew gratuity is typically 10-20 percent of the total charter fee. This, of course, is up to your discretion. It can be scaled up or down depending on your satisfaction of the service. At the end of your charter, you can hand an envelope with the tip to the captain, who will divide it equally among the crew, unless otherwise specified.
Yacht Charter Etiquette: DON’TS
DON’T do anything illegal
There is zero tolerance aboard yachts for illegal or illicit activities. The penalty for any such behavior is the yacht itself being seized and the license lost. Therefore, the captain and crew will end your charter and return you to shore, if any illegal activities have taken place.
DON’T enter the crew quarters
Avoid crew areas, unless you’ve been invited. The galley, or kitchen, is typically off-limits to guests, unless invited by the chef. Most yachts have mini-refrigerators with drinks and snacks, if needed. Plus, your crew will be on hand to provide beverage service and take any food orders throughout your stay.
DON’T expect the crew to babysit
Many yachts encourage charter guests to bring children of all ages, and they have a wide variety of water toys, video games and DVDs just for kids onboard. Fishing or movie nights are a popular evening pastime.
But remember: The crew members are not babysitters. They’re very busy and cannot always provide a watchful eye. If you’d like nanny service, while onboard, just let your charter broker know. They can help you choose a yacht or make prior accommodations.
Don’t walk on the boat in your street shoes
As soon as you step onboard, you’ll notice a familiar sight on any yacht: a basket for shoes by the gangway. Street shoes track in dirt, dust and other contaminants that can ruin a vessel’s custom carpets and other exotic floor coverings. Dark-soled shoes and boots leave dents, dings or marks in wood decks and floors, no matter how carefully you tread. So, it’s not unusual for owners and captains to request that guests leave their shoes at the door.
DON’T waste fresh water
A yacht is a self-sufficient unit, and as such, the crew needs to manage all aspects of power generation, waste disposal, and water consumption. Showers aboard should be short and, in some cases, it may be suggested that you turn the water off when you soap up. Follow the water restrictions to ensure there’s always hot available.