Yacht Etiquette: How to Behave on a Yacht Charter

There is a thing called yacht etiquette, and we've prepared advice to make your yacht charter vacation as pleasurable for the crew on board, as it is for you.

28 October 2020

To those embarking on a luxury yacht charter for the first time, you're in for an unforgettable experience. But before setting sail, you should get familiar with some unwritten rules on how to behave on a yacht. There is a thing called yacht etiquette, and we've prepared advice to make your yacht charter vacation as pleasurable for the crew on board, as it is for you.

Here is our guide for what to do and what you shouldn't do when on a yacht charter:

How to behave on a yacht – the Dos

Respect the crew

During your yacht charter, the crew is there to meet all your demands and expectations, working hard so you can have a truly memorable trip. However, that doesn't mean that you should be disrespectful in any way. You should treat the crew as if they are your employees who work hard to your benefit.

After all, experienced crews often say that having well-behaved guests on the yacht gives the crew members incentive to put in the extra effort.

Of course, you should also treat the yacht itself as your home during your time on board, keeping things orderly as best you can. Besides, every charter yacht has its owner, who appreciates guests looking after their grand vessel.

Large luxury yachts and superyachts require a lot of maintenance, and every yacht crew works hard to keep it in top shape.

Inform the crew

As we've said above, the yacht crew is there to meet your demands. That means that you can turn to them with any questions you might have, or if you have some wishes and plans for your charter. That includes questions about having guests for lunch or dinner during the trip, so the crew knows to prepare meals and drinks in advance.

Related: Top 10 Croatian restaurants for a yacht tour of the Adriatic

Furthermore, if you have any issues with something or if there was any type of accident, you should inform the captain to see how to resolve it best.

Before the starting the sailing voyage, you should fill out your own charter preference list. This includes your food and beverage preferences, so that the crew can be informed on what you and your guests would like to eat and drink during your yacht charter.

Listen to safety advice

Safety first, especially at sea. Listen to the crew's briefings, instructions for emergency procedures, putting on lifejackets and embarking lifeboats, etc. After all, everybody on board has a common goal – to safely enjoy the trip in its entirety.

Essential yacht etiquette: listen to safety advice

Plan in advance, but be flexible

Feel free to make plans before your trip according to your own schedule. However, be prepared to change them if circumstances change too – especially because of bad weather.


How not to behave on a yacht – the DON'ts

Don't do anything illegal

It goes without saying that you shouldn't partake in any illegal activities on board. Any breaches of previously agreed upon charter conditions will result in the trip ending and returning to the nearest base.

Don't enter the crew's quarters without permission

Don't invade the crew's right to privacy, or enter the kitchen if you aren't invited by the chef. If you feel hungry or thirsty, do ask the crew for refreshments, and they will bring it for you.

Essential yacht etiquette: respect the crew-only areas

Don't smoke where not allowed

Generally, superyachts have a no-smoking policy inside guest cabins. However, most of them also have designated areas for smoking. It would be best to check for these conditions with your broker or the yacht crew before you set sail.

Don't walk in shoes on board

You should always take your shoes off before boarding the yacht, unless the captain or the yacht owner says otherwise. There's an unwritten rule that you should avoid shoes with marking soles or heels as they damage the teak decks. Instead, boat shoes such as deck shoes are the preferred footwear when on board the yacht.

Essential yacht etiquette: walk barefoot on deck

Don't pack too heavy​

Don't count on too much storage on a yacht, even a superyacht. Instead, you should pack the necessities and soft luggage which can be folded away. Oh, you won't need bathing or sun towels either, they'll be ready for you onboard.

Don't forget to tip

It's common practice to reward the crew for their effort at the end of your trip. Generally, a 15% of the charter fee is okay, but this is entirely up to you. You can put your tip in an envelope and hand it to the captain, who will distribute it evenly among the crew.

One more thing to do...

Of course, nobody wants to caught up thinking about too many rules and forget what they're there for – relax and enjoy your time on a yacht!

Now that you’ve read our yacht etiquette guide, you’re equipped for having the time of your life.

Explore luxury charter yachts and destinations

If you are interested in some options for an Adriatic charter, at Magnum Nautica we have a rich fleet of luxury yachts and superyachts to choose from.

You can view all our yachts here, or browse our Adriatic charter destinations here.