Life on a luxury yacht is not lawless and all about luxury and fun. Like many luxury locations, there are some do’s and don’t that you prefer to respect for your image, for the staff well-being and for the safety on board.

Here is a list of 10 rules you must follow onboard a boat to enjoy your trip to the fullest!

1. Do: Respect the crew and keep them informed

The crew members have your comfort and well-being at heart.

They strive to offer you outstanding service throughout your cruise. They place their energy and know-how to ensure that you spend a memorable and unique moment. Treat your crew at the true value of their service, with respect and consideration.

In order for your stay to take place in optimal conditions, keep the crew informed of your different projects or desired changes.

For example, if you wish to invite additional guests on board, let the crew know. This way, the crew can prepare a meal or cocktail for everyone, according to your wishes.

Similarly, notify the crew if anything is damaged or broken on board. If you want to use the water toys, notify the crew, who will give you the necessary advice and instructions.

If you feel that the value of the service justifies it, don’t hesitate to leave a tip before disembarking.

There is no rule, but it is considered fair to tip 5-15% of the yacht charter amount. The tip of the crew isn’t a part of your APA (Advance Provisioning Allowance). For more details read our guide about the cost of a yacht charter.

2. Do: Ask about the specific rules for animals and smoking

Would you like to travel on a yacht with your four-legged friend? This will not be a problem if you inform your charter broker and choose the right yacht beforehand.

Some yachts accept animals, but not all. It is therefore essential that you ask first so that your yacht broker can find you the perfect yacht for you and your pets.

Smoking is similar in many regards. All yachts have their own smoking policy. While most yachts do not allow smoking in the indoor areas, some have dedicated smoking areas outside. Ask your broker about the internal smoking policy beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

And once on board, ask where you can smoke and most importantly, where you should never smoke.

3. Do: Follow the “barefoot rule” on board

The majority of yachts do not allow the wearing of shoes on board. And there are reasons for that.

Street shoes, such as boots and heeled shoes, are prohibited on all boats as they can damage decks and floors and contaminate carpets and other exotic decorations.

Therefore, the “barefoot” rule is regularly enforced on board. You can often observe a basket to place your shoes near the gangway. On some yachts, the rule will only be applied in the cabins and everywhere on board.

If shoes are allowed on deck, you will only be allowed to use “boat shoes” with soft, clear, and clean soles. Don’t see this rule as an inconvenience but more as an opportunity to show off your beautiful pedicure !

4. Do: Anticipate the crew cleaning time slots

Remember to give the crew the time they need to clean your cabins, do the laundry, and maintain the various systems that need maintenance on a yacht.

Good communication on your schedule allows the crew to organize themselves to do all the housework discreetly, during your shopping trips or while you are having a blast with your nautical toys.

The cabins can also be used for coffee or breakfast on the terrace.

In other words, be considerate with your crew and discuss the cleaning of your areas with them and you will be rewarded with clean cabins without even noticing them.

5. Don’t: Hope that the crew will look after your children

If children are welcome on board, you are still responsible for them, and the crew onboard have their own missions that do not leave a lot of time for being a nanny.

That being said, yachts are great places for children. Some of them offer access to water games, video games, a cinema, and so on…

If you wish to have some free time for you and your partner, you can provide your own baby-sitter and reserve a cabin for him/her.

Your charter broker can also inform you about this kind of service.

But don’t expect yacht crews to act as babysitters because they simply don’t have the time.

On this subject, read our Family Yacht Vacations Guide

6. Don’t: Do illegal things on a yacht thinking rules don’t apply

Illegal or illicit activities are subject to zero tolerance on board.

Depending on the gravity of the situation, abusive behaviors may lead to the seizure of the yacht, the immediate withdrawal of the license and thus the termination of your charter, your return to shore and your denunciation to the local competent authorities.

So if you have questions regarding the legality of something, check with your broker beforehand or ask your captain before you commit the deed!

7. Don’t: Stay stuck on your initial idea of itinerary

Remember that once onboard, you may have to make slight adjustments to your itinerary, especially for weather reasons. Don’t get offended and listen to your captain’s recommendations, which are often formulated to guarantee you a flawless and safe stay.

You’ll always have a better yacht trip when it’s safe, even if it means missing some destinations you intended to see. Don’t worry, captains can make great plan B itineraries that can be both fun and safe!

Motoryacht Memories Too

8. Don’t: Waste fresh water 

The yacht is an autonomous entity and the fresh water reserves are not unlimited. The crew takes charge of energy management and waste disposal.

It may then be suggested that you limit your water consumption. Be aware that fresh water is a scarce commodity on a boat and that the lack of drinking water on board can be a real problem. Use fresh water responsibly.

9.  Don’t: Pollute the sea from your yacht

It is probably not necessary to specify this, but be careful not to harm marine life.

Do not throw cigarette butts or garbage overboard. Whenever possible, use natural, organic, and/or eco-friendly detergents, shampoos, soaps, and sunscreens that are not harmful to coral reefs. Avoid the abusive use of plastic (cutlery, bottles, towels, …).

10. Don’t: Forget to bring or fill in your preference form

The preference sheet is a very practical document. It helps to make your trip as pleasant as possible by mentioning your preferences in terms of food, sleeping arrangements, and any other special requirements. This sheet will be sent to you by your broker. Remember to fill it out at least 3 weeks before boarding. 

You now have all the keys to make your stay on board as pleasant as possible.

These basic rules are very simple to apply. If you feel ready to take the plunge, but you have a doubt about the type of boat to choose, you can always contact us.