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  • Writer's picturecaribfuels

Superyacht Charter Etiquette: A Guide to On-Board Dos and Don’ts

Is this your first time chartering a superyacht or being invited on board? Your friends at Caribbean Fuels have broken down some of the rules of on-board etiquette for those new to the superyacht scene. We've outlined some essential dos and don'ts to make your experience as enjoyable, relaxing, and amazing as possible!


1. Respect the crew.

  • Treat them as you would a valued employee. They have extremely busy jobs which all come together to make your experience exceed all expectations.

2. Listen to safety briefings.

  • Safety is the prime responsibility for the captain and crew, and they take it very seriously. You will have a safety briefing about life jackets and life rafts, so ensure you digest the information given. It is a requirement of both insurance and maritime laws.

3. Treat the yacht as you would your home.

  • The crew wants you to feel at home. Also, the boat owner will appreciate you taking care of their property.

4. Keep the crew informed.

  • You need to make sure you plan everything in advance. Is it someone's birthday? Do you want to invite some friends over for evening cocktails and dinner? Letting the crew know about these things ASAP will ensure they go as smoothly as possible. As well as any changes of plans, crew should also be alerted as soon as possible if any accidental spillages or breakages occur during the trip.

5. Follow the "bare foot" rule.

  • Many yachts have a “bare feet” rule that shoes stay outside the cabin, and others ask that no shoes be worn on deck too. Stiletto heels that can dent the teak decks and black soles that leave scuffmarks are a no-go on any superyacht. In each case, the crew will provide a basket either at the end of the gangway or outside the salon door for you to deposit shoes.

6. Be prepared to tip.

  • Crew gratuity is customary, as in any hospitality industry. It should be regarded as a gift for a job well done and is based on the satisfaction level of the entire experience". As a rule of thumb, brokers advise tipping between five and 20 per cent of the charter rate.


1. Don't expect the crew to be your childcare.

  • While many yachts encourage charter clients to bring children of all ages and often stock a wide variety of water toys, games and videos just for youngsters, the crew members are not babysitters. If you bring small children, plan to care for them yourself or bring your nanny along for the trip!

2. Don't do anything illegal.

  • The tolerance level aboard yachts for illegal or illicit activities is absolutely zero. The penalty for any such behaviour is the yacht itself being seized and the license lost, therefore the captain and crew will turn you in to the authorities.

3. Don't take matters into your own hands.

  • Safety procedures and rules are there for a reason. The correct way to deal with anything is going straight to a crew member or the captain.

4. Don't disrespect boundaries.

  • Always honour the “upstairs/downstairs” concept, and don’t ever invade the private crew areas without a specific invitation. Aboard many yachts, the galley (kitchen) is a sacred area that you should leave to the chef unless invited.

5. Don't expect the crew to babysit you.

  • On American yachts, there is often more informality between crew and clients, while on European yachts, the crews are almost invisible and trained to keep their distance except when providing services. Either way, remember that the crew have more than enough work to keep them busy, so don’t expect them to join you on your sightseeing junkets, although they stand ready to ferry you to and from the shore.



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