Please use a modern browser to view this website. Some elements might not work as expected when using Internet Explorer.

Home X

Yacht Charter Etiquette: Be the Best Guest

Insight into onboard etiquette from yacht charter specialists


A yacht charter vacation offers unrivaled freedom, luxury and privacy to guests. But to ensure you have memories of a lifetime at sea, there are just a few etiquette aspects to keep in mind while on your superyacht charter.

From following the barefoot policy to keeping out of the galley, follow these simple tips for a ​seamlessly sublime experience onboard.

Home away from home

Owners offer their luxury yachts for charter for guests' enjoyment, but also under the circumstances that their vessels will be used in a respectful manner.

So while you should absolutely relax and enjoy your time on board, it would be wise to think of the superyacht as a home away from home and treat it accordingly. 

family enjoying aperitifs onboard superyacht charterfamily on yacht charter celebrating
outdoor pool onboard superyacht andiamo

Sit back and relax onboard, but think of your superyacht as a home away from home

Listen to the safety briefing

Your captain and crew want to make sure you have an unforgettable experience during your charter — of the good kind, of course — which is why it is of paramount importance to listen to the initial safety briefing.

Your safety is the top priority, with the crew knowing best as to the yacht's limits and the regulations concerned. It's also a legal maritime and insurance obligation, therefore it is always in your interest to listen.

Check the rules for pets onboard

yacht charter dogs onboard

When booking, do tell your broker you want to bring your dog onboard: they can search for pet-friendly charters.

If you are keen to bring your four-legged friend onto your yacht charter, do inform your broker when making a booking. There are a number of pet-friendly vessels that do allow you to bring your dogs on deck, but it is never a good idea to just simply bring on your pet no questions asked, as many superyacht charters do not allow animals onboard.

The main reasons include the potential risk of the yacht's decor being ruined, as well as the issue of pet permits. For example, to enter the majority of Caribbean islands, dog owners need to request a permit in advance, subject to meeting certain tests and medication certificates.

Opt for soft luggage

If possible, choose a soft bag to take onto your charter as it will be easier to stow and avoids cabinetry being damaged. You are still allowed to bring hard suitcases, but if you are considering taking a large number of them, it's worth verifying with your broker the size of storage space on board the charter yacht beforehand.

What to Take on Your Charter Vacation
What to Take on Your Charter Vacation

Respect the crew

The crew leaves no stone unturned when it comes to crafting an incredible superyacht experience just for you, so do treat them with respect for all the amazing work they do. Remember that your yacht charter crew are the ones who make your dreams on the open waters a reality, taking care of all your needs with the utmost enthusiasm. They ensure everything runs smoothly onboard, all the while taking care of a variety of tasks at once.

Your Luxury Yacht Charter Crew
Your Luxury Yacht Charter Crew

Keep to guest areas

Be considerate and avoid going into the crew's private areas during your charter. Leaving their cabins and quarters undisturbed ensures crew can get the downtime needed to keep performing at their very best, resulting in an outstanding vacation for you. 

It is equally worth avoiding the galley (where the culinary magic happens!) unless specifically invited — it's seen as a sacred space onboard. If you need food and drink top-ups at any time, it's always best to inform one of the stews first rather than going to the kitchen directly.

Advance notice for celebrations and events

Being able to entertain guests onboard your floating palace is a source of great delight, but do inform the charter crew of your plans in advance.

Ensure you can dazzle extra guests in style and tell your captain first before inviting them onboard

titania bar
yacht charter party

Simply returning to your yacht impromptu with dozens of guests and expecting your chef to suddenly whip up a late-night three-course meal puts staff in a difficult situation, and they may not be able to fulfill your demands on such short notice.  Dazzle extra guests in style and tell your captain first so that additional food or drink can be purchased and prepared ahead of time.

Communication is key

Woman going down water slide on a yacht

Indicate your charter wishes (toy use, themed nights, excursions, BBQs and events) preferably on your preference sheet (or as far in advance while on your charter) what you would like to do onboard. The crew can then plan ahead and ensure a seamless experience between activities during your yacht charter. For example:

  • Toys: let the crew know if you want to spend the day on the water so that toys can be set up promptly. Things like slides and waterparks can take up to an hour to inflate and put away, while jet-skis may need to be refueled or lithium boards recharged, both of which can take hours to sort out. Equally, it's useful to let staff know if you plan to go ashore, so that staff efforts getting toys ready can instead be focused elsewhere.
  • Excursions: require advanced planning for launching and driving tenders (as well as for staff potentially coming ashore with you). Staff may also need to bring additional toys like segways and e-bikes. Knowing in advance also allows for better organization onboard, as stews can use this time to get cabins turned over, ready for your later arrival.
  • BBQs and picnics ashore: knowing in advance means the chef can prep accordingly, and the stews know to work their breaks around all going ashore to help set up with the deck crew, serving drinks and meals, and clearing.
  • Themed nights: similarly, the crew need to order provisions in advance to ensure that any special requirements can be easily met. 
Yacht Charter Preferences
Yacht Charter Preferences

Check the smoking policy

Smoking is usually prohibited inside on most superyachts, but, there may be some deck spaces where smokers are permitted on certain vessels for rental. If you or any of your guests are smokers, be sure to verify with your broker beforehand if you are allowed to smoke on board, as this is something that is entirely at the discretion of the yacht owner.

Ask about hiring a nanny

Children are certainly welcome onboard most charter yachts, with many stocking an abundance of videos, games and water toys specifically for kids. Most crew also adore playing with the little ones on deck or in the water. But do not make the error of mistaking crew members for babysitters — they aren't.

children playing during yacht charter
superyacht titania's waterpark
water park child jumping into water

Don't make the error of mistaking the crew members for babysitters — they aren't

If you do plan on bringing young children on your superyacht charter and are seeking assistance, then talk to your yacht charter broker when booking. They can organize for a nanny to come onboard so that you can unwind while knowing your children are being cared for.

Alternatively, if you would like a nanny you already work with to join you on the yacht charter, they can usually be accommodated in a spare cabin — just be sure to tell your broker first.

Give crew time to deliver the best service

Giving the crew some space to keep on top of vessel maintenance, such as serving essential systems or housekeeping tasks, ensures a smoother yacht charter experience for all. Remember that the team will be taking care of a number of tasks at once to ensure you have an exceptional vacation, and this requires focus.

Do not take it personally if the crew aren't always able to join you for dinner or sightseeing when invited during your charter  — it's highly likely it's because they are trying to pull out all the stops for you!

Respect the barefoot rule

Embrace relaxed luxury onboard and remove your shoes (or wear appropriate deck shoes). Most charter yachts adopt a barefoot policy as high heels and black soles can cause scuffs and dents on the teak decking. 

Be respectful and adhere to this policy, remembering to take off your shoes and place them in the shoe baskets whenever you return to the vessel after a day's exploration or evening ashore.

couple smiling on sailing yacht

Most charter yachts adopt a barefoot policy as high heels and black soles can damage teak decking

Zero tolerance for illegal activities

There is a zero-tolerance policy for any illegal or illicit activities onboard a superyacht charter, with serious consequences for both you and the crew. The yacht can be seized and lose its license, the captain can also lose theirs, and you will be removed from the yacht immediately, regardless of how much remaining time you have left on your vacation. 

Consider crew gratuities

It is customary to tip between 5-15 percent of the charter's value – although this can be more for American crew – which is usually paid to the captain and subsequently distributed amongst crew members.

If you have been absolutely delighted with your yacht charter experience and would like to show your appreciation for the captain and crew's hard work, then this is the way to do it!

Captain & Crew Gratuities (Tips): How much?
Captain & Crew Gratuities (Tips): How much?
couple on superyacht

Take a look at our advice guides for more information on chartering a superyacht, covering everything from charter contracts to yacht charter packing tips.

For more advice on booking a luxury yacht charter please speak with your preferred yacht broker.

Related advice articles

How to Choose Your Charter Yacht
How to Choose Your Charter Yacht
Yacht Charter Contracts
Yacht Charter Contracts
Yacht Charter Seasons
Yacht Charter Seasons

Start Planning - Speak with a Charter Expert

Our charter experts will:

  • Discuss your vacation plans
  • Check availability & shortlist suitable yachts
  • Negotiate booking & prepare your itinerary

Enquire now for
yacht availability & free

Contact Now

Yachts in your shortlist