The Guide to Do’s and Dont’s Aboard a Yacht


This post is also available in: French

Renting a yacht is an exceptional experience to escape and relax. Life on board must strike the right balance between high-end service and respect for the privacy of all guests. For a successful stay for all, you, your family, and friends, it is important to follow a few basic rules. Here is a list of our recommendations with 10 points to respect and 10 things not to do!

10 rules to follow on board a boat

These ten commandments will allow you to enjoy your vacation in perfect conditions.

1.Respect the crew

The crew members have your comfort and well-being at heart. They strive to offer you an outstanding service throughout your cruise. They place their energy and know-how to ensure that you spend a memorable and unique moment. Treat your crew at the true value of their service, with respect and consideration. If you feel the value of the service justifies it, don’t hesitate to leave a tip before disembarking. There is no rule, but it is considered fair to tip 5-15% of the yacht charter amount.

2. Listen to the security briefings

Authority on board is held by the captain. The crew and your captain, in addition to caring for your well-being and comfort, pay particular attention to your safety. All cruises then begin with a briefing that it is necessary to listen to. It concerns life jackets and lifeboats, but also other information related to your safety on board. It is essential to listen to this introductory speech. This very useful brief is an obligation under maritime and insurance law.

Additional safety tips may be provided during your stay on board. Follow the various instructions of the captain who is the guarantor of your safety.

3. Keep the crew informed

In order for your stay to take place in optimal conditions, keep the crew informed of your different projects or desired changes. If you wish to invite additional guests on board, let the crew know. This way, the crew can prepare a meal or cocktail for everyone, according to your wishes. The crew is there to allow you to relax and have fun. However, this requires some planning. Also notify the crew if anything is damaged or broken on board. If you want to use the water games, let the crew know and they will give you the necessary advice and instructions.

4. Consider the yacht as your own home

Don’t treat your boat rental as an ordinary place. The crew will make every effort to make you feel at home. In return, treat the boat like your own home. Take care of the interior, don’t walk on the sofas, don’t go into your cabin dripping with salt water, keep the yacht clean… The yacht owner will appreciate your careful and respectful use of the premises.

5. Ask about specific rules for animals and smoking.

Would you like to travel with your four-legged friend? This will not be a problem if you inform your advisor who will help you choose the right solution. Some yachts accept animals, but not all. In this case, it is essential that you find out beforehand.

Are you a heavy smoker? All yachts have their own smoking policy. While smoking is not permitted in the interior areas of most yachts, some have dedicated smoking areas outside. Ask your broker about the internal smoking policy beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Once on board, ask where you can smoke.

6. Follow the “barefoot rule” on board

The majority of yachts do not allow the wearing of shoes on board. Street shoes, such as boots and heeled shoes, are prohibited on all boats as they can damage decks and floors and contaminate carpets and other exotic decorations. Therefore, the “barefoot” rule is regularly enforced on board. You can often observe a basket to place your shoes near the gangway. On some yachts, the rule will only be applied in the cabins and everywhere on board. If shoes are allowed on deck, you will only be allowed to use “boat shoes” with soft, clear and clean soles. Don’t see this rule as an inconvenience but more as an opportunity to show off your beautiful pedicure!

7. Anticipate cleaning time slots

Remember to give the crew the time they need to clean your cabins, do the laundry and maintain the various systems. A good communication on your schedule allows the crew to organize themselves to do all the housework discreetly, during your shopping trips or at sea with the nautical games. The cabins can also be used for coffee or breakfast on the terrace. It makes sense to allow the crew the time and space they need for daily housekeeping.

8.Assign booths in advance

In order to avoid any unnecessary tensions on boarding, the main charterer may allocate, in advance, the cabins to each passenger.

9. Bring adapted luggage

One of the major problems with boats is storage. Spaces are optimized to offer you the most comfort possible, however, storage is sometimes cramped. It is then not recommended to use luggage with rigid walls, difficult to store, but also to handle on board. Prefer soft bags that can be folded up when empty. Travel light will be the key word! Take the essentials with you.

10. Get ready for the trip

If you travel light, you travel well organized. To take the essentials with you without forgetting anything, it is important to do some research before your departure. Check the specifics of your destination, consult the weather forecast for the dates of your stay. Prefer light and not very fragile clothing. Think about a raincoat or a windcheater because the evenings onboard can be cool.

If you wish to practice aquatic activities, be sure to inquire about the training, licenses and documents necessary for their practice.

The better you prepare your trip the smoother it will be. Make sure that you will be ok with your advance provisioning allowance (APA) by checking with your broker before embarkation. Destinations such as the Cyclades don’t have many ATM machines where you can withdraw money easily. It may be wise to inflate the APA, the remaining funds at the end of the stay will be returned to you in any case.

Real also : All you need to know about the APA : advance provisioning allowance

10 things you won’t do on a boat!

After these 10 points of good conduct, let’s now see what you should NOT try to do on board.

1. Hoping that the crew will look after your children

If children are welcome on board, you are responsible for them. Yachts are great places for children. Some of them offer access to water games, video games, a cinema, … If you wish, you can provide your own baby-sitter and reserve a cabin for him/her. Your charter broker can also inform you about this kind of service. Yacht crews never act as babysitters because they don’t have the time.

2. Doing illegal things

All illegal or illicit activities are subject to zero tolerance on board. Such abusive behavior may lead to the seizure of the yacht, the immediate withdrawal of the license and thus the termination of your charter, your return to shore and your denunciation to the local competent authorities.

3. Taking charge

Whether it’s to solve a problem or take initiative, let the captain or crew know. If you feel a little hungry, at any time of the day or night, ask the captain or crew, don’t go to the galley and help yourself.

If you wish to use specific equipment or take the water toys out, ask the crew. They will help you and provide you with the necessary advice and instructions.

If you have a problem, the captain remains the person to ask for advice.

4. Entering private spaces

Respect everyone’s space. If you are not invited, do not enter crew areas (called the “crew mess”) or the galley. For those who are hungry, the yachts are equipped with mini-fridges, located in the guest areas. For all other wishes, please ask your crew.

5. Violate smoking policy

The interior spaces are often non-smoking. On some boats, smoking areas are located on the deck outside. Please do not smoke in any area of the boat that does not allow smoking. If you or any of your guests are smokers, please advise your Windward Islands consultant when you make your reservation.

6. Expect the crew to accompany you on your visits

While relations between clients and crew on American yachts are sometimes more informal and uncomplicated, crews on European yachts are trained to be invisible. Even if you develop a special bond with the crew, keep in mind that they are often very busy. They won’t have the opportunity to come ashore for entertainment. If it is possible for you to invite your captain for dinner ashore, don’t be offended if the captain declines your invitation.

7. Staying stuck and stuck about your itinerary

Remember that once onboard, you may have to make slight adjustments to your itinerary, especially for weather reasons. Don’t get formalized and listen to your captain’s recommendations, which are often formulated to guarantee you a flawless and safe stay.

Check out also our suggestion of itinerary for the cyclades here or the British Virgin Islands here.

8. Waste fresh water

The crew takes charge of energy management and waste disposal. The yacht is an autonomous entity and the freshwater reserves are not unlimited. It may then be suggested that you limit your water consumption. Even though they are equipped with watermaker, use fresh water responsibly.

9. Polluting the sea

It is probably not necessary to specify this, but be careful not to harm marine life. Do not throw cigarette butts or garbage overboard. Whenever possible, use natural, organic, and/or eco-friendly detergents, shampoos, soaps, and sunscreens that are not harmful to coral reefs. Avoid the abusive use of plastic (cutlery, bottles, towels, …).

10. Forget to fill out your preference form

The preference sheet is a practical document. It helps to make your trip as pleasant as possible by mentioning your preferences in terms of food, sleeping arrangements, and any other special requirements. This sheet will be sent to you by your consultant a few weeks before you board. Remember to send it back early enough.

You now have all the keys to make your stay on board as comfortable as possible.

These basic rules are very simple to apply. If you feel ready to take the plunge, but you have a doubt about the type of boat to choose, take advice from our professionals.


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