Yachting 101 – The Rules of Etiquette
Whether you are the proud owner of your own yacht, have chartered one for the voyage of a lifetime, or have simply been invited onboard the yacht of a friend or colleague, there are certain customer and protocols which apply. While the ultimate goal is to enjoy yourself onboard, you should keep in mind the environment and social customs on a yacht are unique. As a result, while onboard, you should know how to behave correctly and politely, as expected in a yachting scenario. Lighthouse Point Yacht Club offers these tips for onboard behavior as you set sail.
While onboard the yacht, you want to relax and enjoy yourself. Often this proves challenging, especially if it is your first time on a yacht as you are in unfamiliar territory. Never fear, take your time and you will find yourself comfortable quickly. Remember, the yacht, whether at anchor or at sea, is your home for the duration of the journey and the crew wants to make you as comfortable as possible. Now, let’s dive into the details of proper onboard behavior.
- The Barefoot Rule – When boarding the yacht, the first order of business is honoring the barefoot rule. It applies on most yachts, no shoes inside the cabin, and in many cases, no shoes on deck, either. If applicable, the crew will provide a basket at the gangway’s end or at the main salon entrance for your shoes. Why? Shoes can damage decks leaving dings and scuffs. If shoes are allowed on deck, the need to be soft-soled deck shoes.
- Respect the Crew – The members of the crew, from the captain to down the line, should be treated with the utmost respect. Their job – to provide you with a safe and enjoyable trip – is both busy and demanding. The crew must keep the ship in working order, ensure there are adequate supplies aboard (including food and beverages), and keep everything shipshape for the duration of your voyage. They work hard and should be treated accordingly, valued and respected. For passengers, this means allowing the crew the time needed to do their jobs well, and listening attentively to any instructions and especially safety briefings. Safety briefings are required by maritime law and insurance, so listen with care when begin briefed on life jackets, life rafts, and other safety issues.
- Advance Planning – Prior to you trip, you’ll need to pack. Yachts, while spacious, don’t have massive amounts of storage space, so chose appropriate luggage for your trip. In most cases, soft luggage is the best option, which when unpacked, can easily be stowed in the limited storage on board. In addition, if you are planning a party with a few friends while on board, be sure to inform the crew well in advance. If you fail to do so, you will likely not have enough food or beverages to serve the guests on board and the crew will have to frantically make arrangements at the last minute.
- Be Smart – To quote Captain Jack Sparrow, “Try not to do anything stupid.” The truth is, while on board the yacht, if an issue arises, call on the captain or a member of the crew to resolve it. Don’t assume you can handle it, after all the captain and crew are responsible to maintain certain standards and safety protocols, so let them do just that. Equally important, don’t do anything illegal while on board the yacht. Generally, yachts tolerate no illegal activities, as the penalty for such behavior is seizure of the yacht and licenses, as well as imprisonment in country for the perpetrator(s).
Now, that you know the basics of yachting etiquette, you are ready to set sail on an incredible voyage!