Etiquette on a superyacht, the do’s and don’ts
For guests who want a fabulous vacation on board a superyacht there are a few etiquette rules to follow. When chartering a yacht, a relaxed atmosphere, privacy, along with a good service is what’s on the agenda. Here are a few do’s and don’ts regarding etiquette that will help make your voyage so much more enjoyable.
Do treat the yacht with respect, much as you would treat your own home. One of the rules to follow is taking care of everything on board. The boat owner, captain and crew do want guests to feel at home, however they also appreciate everyone showing a little courtesy too.
Do respect the crew
Crew are on board to help all guests and ensure they have a truly wonderful vacation. They are always busy, no matter what their status is. From the chef, right through to the stewardesses, each person has his or her own duties to perform.
Plan any parties well in advance
Entertaining on board a superyacht is certainly great fun. Do make sure to plan any event well in advance so the chef knows exactly which type of food to prepare. It’s not recommended to return to the yacht after partying onshore with new friends in tow. The chef won’t be too pleased especially having to prepare a late meal for everyone. If you wish to invite guests on board for a meal or cocktails, clear it with the captain first. This will give sufficient time so extra food and drinks can be ordered.
Give the crew time for housekeeping
Don’t linger in your cabin too long as the crew need time to make up beds, service various systems and do the laundry. You could give them this precious time by going ashore to shop or chill out on deck sunbathing.
Be clear about any smoking policy on your superyacht. Smoking is usually prohibited inside cabins but there could be certain areas on deck which is set aside for those who do smoke. If anyone in your party are smokers, do let your charter broker know as soon as you make a booking. Ask friends or relatives to smoke in the permitted places or downwind so the smoke blows away and not into any of the rooms.
Bring the right amount of luggage
Storage can be an issue while on a superyacht so soft luggage is recommended as it can be collapsed for stowing away. Steamer trunks are OK on ocean liners but not on smaller vessels.
Respect the “bare foot” rule
If there’s a “bare foot” rule that shoes should be placed outside the cabin, do stick to it. No shoes on deck might be another rule. Baskets are often provided to put your shoes in either outside the saloon or at the end of gangways. Soft soled boat shoes are sometimes allowed on deck but a no-no are stiletto heels. These can make dents in the teak decks while black soled shoes could leave scuffmarks.
Take note of safety briefings
Safety is paramount on a superyacht, it’s the main responsibility for the captain and crew. There are briefings given regarding life rafts and life jackets, so do take note. This is a requirement of maritime laws and insurance companies, be safe rather than sorry at all times.
Crew are not babysitters
Don’t expect crew to be solely responsible for your children. Charter clients are usually encouraged to bring their children along on a sailing vacation but remember the crew are not babysitters. Small children should be cared for by you or a nanny who can be accommodated in a nearby cabin.
Don’t invade the crew’s private quarters
Honour the concept of “upstairs and downstairs”, i.e. your space and the crew’s space. Unless you have an invitation to enter their quarters, steer clear. The galley is just for the chef, so again unless you are invited into it, keep out. With many superyachts having small fridges in guest areas, having a quiet word with a crew member to stock them up won’t go amiss. Fridges will be replenished with snacks and your favourite drinks throughout your voyage.
Don’t expect crew to accompany you when you go sightseeing
There’s an informal atmosphere on American yachts between clients and crew while on European vessels, crew usually stay invisible. They are trained to be as discreet as possible except when helping guests or providing services for them. Remember crew are extremely busy people so don’t expect them to go sightseeing with you for instance. They are always ready to take you to and from the shore, but not to join you on land.
If you ask the captain to join you for a meal on shore, he might decline. Don’t be offended. The captain might have lots of paperwork to complete, projects to finish or he may just like to keep his distance from guests.
Any problems, ask the captain
Don’t try and sort out any major problems while on a charter yacht vacation. The captain is the best person to ask and the only one with authority to put it right. Don’t take matters into your own hands and complain to a member of the crew, the captain can sort out any issues.
Don’t do anything illegal
Illegal activities are not tolerated on board charter yachts. Penalties include the yacht being seized and the licence lost. The captain and crew will hand you over to the authorities if any illicit activity has been going on and in many countries, the penalty is jail.