Yacht Etiquette for Guests Who Join Your Trip

Planning a trip to Los Cabos on your yacht? There’s nothing better than sailing around the southern tip of Baja, and a new marina at Costa Palmas makes it all the more luxurious.

If you’re planning to invite a group of friends and family on a yacht trip, it’s important to go over a few ground rules before everyone is onboard.

To help, here’s a look at yacht etiquette that you can discuss with your party. Ask guests to:

  • Pack well

    First time guests may not know what to pack. If they pack the wrong things, it can cause issues with the crew.

    Offer luggage advice

    For starters, ask them to pack in soft-sided luggage. Storage is always at a premium, so it’s best to skip the hard-shell luggage or trunks. You don’t want guests showing up with luggage that the crew can’t find room for.

    Mention the barefoot rule

    If you have experience on a yacht, you know that most footwear can harm the yacht flooring. As a result, onboard guests go barefoot. However, if you invite people who aren’t familiar with the rule, be sure to remind them.

    Some captains may allow soft-soled shoes on the deck, while others ask people to place their shoes in a storage bin as they come aboard. Know the preferences of the captain and relay them to your guests.

    Ask guests to bring layers

    It’s always cooler on the water, no matter how tropical the location. Encourage your guests to bring light sweaters, jackets, or shawls. The last thing you want is for your guests to start pulling blankets off beds and dragging them around the boat to stay warm.

  • Be on time

    Set an arrival time for your party, and ask that everyone sticks to it. It’s disrespectful to the captain and crew if you show up late. Plus, it’s a rough first impression to make.

    If an emergency keeps you or guests from arriving on time, communicate it.

  • Ask the captain to come aboard

    Usually, the captain will greet guests as they come aboard. Encourage your guests to ask the captain, “May I come aboard?” It’s a simple gesture, but it signals respect for the captain and the vessel immediately.

  • Be respectful during the safety briefing

    Whether you charter a yacht or bring friends onboard on your own, the captain will conduct a brief but important safety meeting once everyone is on board. The meeting, which takes place before you weigh anchor, provides important information your guests need to know in case something goes wrong.

    During the meeting, you’ll likely discuss:

    • Stowage locations of life jackets
    • How to put on a life jacket
    • Location of all life saving devices, like a float ring and other buoyant devices
    • Location of the yacht’s “ditch bag” that provides rations and communications devices you’ll take with you if you need to abandon the ship

    While the topics covered can be a bit scary, it’s necessary to cover.

    Give your guests a heads up about the meeting, and ask that they listen and be respectful of the lifesaving information provided.

  • Ask about the boat

    If the captain isn’t busy, encourage your guests to ask about the vessel. Whether they’d like to understand more about how the engine works or how internal operations like laundry are completed, captains enjoy educating people about the boat.

  • Be mindful of their messes

    While the yacht does have a crew onboard, you should still make efforts to clean up after yourself. Gather your plates into a pile after dinner, round up your laundry for the steward, and take care of your empty glasses or bottles. These little gestures make a big difference in the atmosphere on the boat.

  • Understand child care yacht etiquette

    The yacht crew will make every effort to ensure everyone has a good time. However, if your guests are bringing kids onboard, you need to have a conversation about child care before your trip.

    Explain that the crew does not provide child care. While they will likely engage with kids and even play a game or two, they aren’t on the boat to watch children. Make sure they don’t expect the crew to watch the kids while they go on shore excursions or to put them to bed each night.

    If child care is a concern, consider bringing a nanny onboard.

  • Understand boundaries

    Before you set sail, each guest should be assigned a cabin. As the host, you can select the cabins or you can ask the steward to assist. All cabins should be assigned before you depart to avoid confusion.

    Explain to your guests that they’re welcome to explore the boat, but the staff quarters are off limits. It’s important that the crew have their own space so they don’t feel as though they’re on duty 24/7.

    In addition to avoiding the staff quarters, the kitchen or “galley” is usually off limits too. Chefs are usually pretty territorial, and rightfully so since they’re tasked with making five-star meals in small spaces.

    Most cabins and public spaces have refrigerators, so there’s usually no need for guests to go into the galley.

  • Give housekeeping time to do their work

    Usually, the crew handles chores while everyone goes ashore. However, there may be days where you’re at sea. If that’s the case, explain to guests that it is customary to leave the cabin for at least two consistent hours to give the crew time to freshen up the room.

    Guests don’t need to signal the crew that they’re headed to the deck to sunbathe or anything. The crew is observant. They’ll notice when you’re mingling onboard and head to your cabin to complete their chores.

  • To share compliments – and a tip

    Everyone loves to get a compliment. Encourage your guests to compliment the crew when they do something that’s appreciated.

    In addition to compliments, tips are highly suggested. Before you take your trip, talk about tipping. Usually, tipping is a gesture completed at the end of the trip. But, who’s leaving it? Is the host? Are the guests?

    If you’ve chartered a yacht, it’s customary to tip 10-20% of the charter. You’ll give the tip to the captain and he or she will disperse it to the crew.

If you’d like to charter a yacht, explore the options offered by Costa Palmas. You can book a multi-night trip onboard a beautiful yacht that wraps its way around picturesque islands and offers an array of watercrafts that you and your guests can enjoy. Use the yacht etiquette above to get your trip started right.

Where elemental luxury meets a sea of dreams

Set at the edge of the Sea of Cortéz, Costa Palmas is a dramatic landscape…and a home. Costa Palmas is a unique invitation to elemental luxury and spirited adventure on a calm blue sea of dreams. Resort amenities include:

  • A world-class Beach & Yacht Club
  • Marina and Marina Village
  • Robert Trent Jones II designed world-class 18-hole Golf Course, and a Golf Practice Facility
  • Organic farms, orchards and an estuary
  • Aventura Adventure Planning and Guides
  • Bespoke Shopping
  • Sports Park

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