Chartering a yacht combines privacy with impeccable service in a relaxed environment. However, following a few simple yacht charter etiquette rules can help to make, rather than break, your trip. In order to ensure that your experience is as enjoyable as possible here are a few dos and don’ts to stick to while on-board.
Yacht Charter Etiquette: DOS
Do fill out the preference form in advance
To start out on a wonderful, relaxing charter, you should prepare in advance and fill out your preference form. If you are planning a gathering one night, note it on the form. If you have any special dietary restrictions, or favorite foods and beverages you want to be sure are stocked on board, the best way to notify your chef well in advance of the charter is on the Preference Sheets provided by your charter broker.
Do listen to safety briefing
Safety is the most important responsibility for the captain and crew, and it’s taken very seriously. You will have a safety briefing about lifejackets and liferafts, so everyone on board should pay attention to the information given. It is a requirement of both insurance and maritime laws.
Do be flexible on your itinerary (weather dependent)
Sometimes things, like the weather, do not go as planned. The captain and crew will do everything possible to make your yacht charter an unforgettable experience, but please understand if the itinerary should change if there is a weather-related reason. Usually the sailings would be in sheltered waters and chosen according to how you feel each day and also chosen according to the weather forecast.
Do respect your crew
The crew have an extremely busy job from the chef through to the steward; each one is there solely to make sure your holiday exceeds expectations and a very memorable time. Treat them as you would your most valued employees.
Do tip the crew
The Captain and crew started working on your charter at least the day before you arrived. Often spending many hours looking for something that was on your preference sheet. It’s customary to give your Captain and crew a gratuity at the end of your vacation to thank them for a great job. The charter industry standard for the crew gratuity is 10 to 20 percent of the charter fee. Of course, the amount is at your discretion, and can be scaled up or down depending on your satisfaction with the service. Since there may be crew members aboard whom are behind the scenes working equally hard to make your vacation a success, the gratuity should be given to the Captain to be divided evenly among the crew, unless you specify otherwise.
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 turn you in to the authorities. In most countries, the penalty is jail for this kind of behavior and everyone on the yacht should act accordingly.
Don’t enter the crew quarters
Charter guests should not enter the private crew areas without a specific invitation. Aboard many yachts, the galley (kitchen) is a special area that is off limits to guests unless invited by the chef. Most yachts have mini-refrigerators in the guest areas and the crew beverages throughout your stay, so there is no need to visit the galley.
Don’t expect the crew to babysit
While many yachts encourage charter clients to bring children of all ages and often stock a wide variety of water toys, video games and DVDs just for kids. Fishing or movies are a popular evening past time. The crew members are not babysitters. The children are your responsibility, although some boats do offer nanny service where they will officially take care of the kids. If you bring small children, plan to care for them yourself or bring along a nanny, who can often be accommodated in a spare cabin.
Don’t walk on the boat in your street shoes
Although all yacht charters are different, there is one thing they have in common: a basket for shoes by the gangway. Street shoes can track in dirt, dust, mud, chewing gum and even tar that can ruin a vessel’s custom carpets and other exotic floor coverings. Dark-soled shoes and boots can make 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 it is suggested that you turn the water off when you soap up, turn it back on again to rinse off.
We hope these charter etiquette tips will help you prepare for your next vacation on the water. If you wish to learn more about chartering and see available yachts, please contact us at 305-396-6996.
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