Yachting Etiquette: The Dos & Don'ts For Recreational Boating
Picture this: you're on board a gorgeous yacht with wind blowing through your hair, the sound of waves crashing, the sun beaming down on you as you take a sip of champagne—this is the definition of living your best life.
If you’re lucky enough to get invited for a day at sea, make sure you follow the proper etiquette to be the most gracious guest—and to secure an invitation for the next outing—with these golden rules of yachting:
BE ON TIME
Make sure you arrive at the designated meeting area on time. Not only does the captain have strict rules on departure and return times, but you also don't want to keep the other guests waiting. A boat party is simply not the kind of event you can be fashionably late for.
A good guest never shows up empty-handed. Whether you are on land or at sea, it is common courtesy to bring a little gift to say thank you to the host for inviting you. When choosing the gift, make sure to keep your host’s taste in mind. A bottle of wine, champagne or even a box of chocolates are always a crowd-pleaser.
RESPECT THE CAPTAIN
As soon as you walk onboard, all authority goes to the captain. He or she will have created an itinerary based on weather conditions, and their advice and requirements should be respected. Pay attention when they talk and raise any concerns or issues with them directly.
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TREAT THE YACHT LIKE A HOME
If the yacht has been rented, chances are many groups have been on this boat before you for a similar occasion. However, don't treat the yacht like a venue but more like a home. Avoid stepping on couches and be careful not to make a mess by spilling food and drinks or smearing sunscreen.
SLIP-ON SHOES AND PEDICURE
Keep in mind that the captain will likely ask guests to go barefoot while on board. High heels can scratch, black soles leave marks on the white floor and other shoes can bring in dirt that could stain the carpet. To be safe, bring shoes you can easily slip in and out of, and make sure you get a pedicure beforehand.
PACK THE RIGHT CLOTHING
Before you go, check the weather to know exactly what to pack. You don’t want to be the person asking to borrow others' belongings because you didn’t come prepared. Pack light clothing that isn’t too fragile, as you may get sunscreen or seawater on it. It can get chilly during the evening, so bring something warm like a windproof or waterproof jacket.
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USE A SOFT-SHELL BAG
Whether you plan on being at sea for the day or have opted for a multi-day trip, the best bag to bring is a soft-shell carry-on. There is minimal storage space on a yacht and hard-shell luggage is not only difficult to store but it can also move around too easily.
After a few hours of sun, a jump in the water sounds refreshing. Your yacht will likely come to a halt and throw in the anchor to allow guests to swim around or do watersports. Always ensure the boat has come to a full stop before jumping in.
If you dock for the night but keep the party going, keep in mind that noise is amplified on the water and that there may be other boats or even houses in the vicinity. They may seem far away and you may not hear them, but chances are they can probably hear you.
BE AS ECO-FRIENDLY AS YOU CAN
Bring your own bottle to avoid using plastic and keep an eye out for anything that may fall in the water by accident, whether it be sunglasses, plastic cutlery, napkins or anything else. Go the extra mile by using reef-safe sunscreen as opposed to regular sunscreen, whose chemicals contribute to sea pollution and are deadly to coral reefs.
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