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superyacht charter etiquette

Superyacht Charter Etiquette: Onboard Do’s and Don’ts

July 18, 2023 | Hurricane Hole | Marina in Nassau

Hurricane Hole is the Top Bahamas Marina for Superyachts

Planning on chartering a superyacht for a special event or marine sightseeing adventure? Although your thoughts might, naturally, flow to island sunsets, gentle waves, on-deck gourmet dining, and coastal cruising with the wind in your hair, you may want to dip your sea legs into our Emily Post-worthy guide to superyacht charter etiquette so you (and your guests) don’t step in an embarrassing puddle of discourteous (clearly land-lubbers), walk-the-plank-worthy (don’t worry, we don’t do that) goofs and blunders.

Hurricane Hole Superyacht Marina is a luxurious facility on Paradise Island in the heart of The Bahamas. Owing to our services, amenities, and paradise-worthy location, our marina is a favorite destination for yacht and superyacht charters. Many of these charters greet and pick up their guests from our slips before embarking on their Caribbean and Atlantic adventures. While many passengers are aware of ‘how to be a good sailor,’ others may not be aware of best passenger practices. Our recommended yacht etiquette isn’t about whether you know your starboard from your port, but rather, that you are acquainted with some important do’s and don’ts that promote passenger safety and respect for the yacht.

Whether you would like to book a superyacht charter for a wedding reception, corporate convention, or some other special event that sails from Hurricane Hole, you can benefit from understanding some important superyacht charter etiquette that makes our job easier and your experience on board as marvelous as is safely possible.

Boarding a Superyacht Charter for the First Time

etiquette on a superyacht charter

Boarding a superyacht charter for the first time is bound to be exciting. Superyachts are undeniably luxurious and filled with amenities designed to make your sailing experience pleasurable for you and your charter guests. Superyacht etiquette isn’t about choosing the right dinner fork or using proper titles to refer to the yacht’s staff. It’s more like, don’t wear stiletto heels that could damage the deck, and do listen closely to safety procedures. 

Superyachts that cruise in and out of our marina are majestic and safe vessels, and their crews are experienced and professional. However, once the yachts are underway and surrounded by the ocean, their crews have to abide by important rules that ensure safety for all. No matter how lively the party and amazing the band is, the yacht’s crews are always mindful of maintaining the safety of passengers and boats. So, thank you in advance for learning about superyacht etiquette. Knowing the dos and don’ts of superyacht sailing will make sailing the deep blue a better experience for you and your guests.

What to Expect on a Yacht Charter

While yacht charter companies can differ immensely in terms of the experiences they offer, the yacht etiquette you learn here will certainly serve you aboard other yachts that you encounter. Hurricane Hole features a superyacht marina where superyacht charters dock and sail. Superyachts tend to be large vessels that are usually at least 78 feet in length. It’s not uncommon for superyachts to feature multiple decks and luxury amenities such as a ballroom dance floor, full-service bar, and formal dining rooms. 

Your yacht charter experience will vary depending on the nature of the charter. Superyachts are often chartered for corporate events, wedding receptions, retirement parties, graduation parties, and more. However, good superyacht charter etiquette will serve you well no matter what type of superyacht event you attend. The following yacht do’s and don’t will help you prepare for sailing like a pro. Be sure to share these helpful etiquette tips with your charter guests.

Superyacht Charter Etiquette Do’s 

Keep these important superyacht charter etiquette do’s in mind before you set sail:

Listen to the Safety Talks

It can be challenging to listen to the crew’s safety talks and demonstrations that often precede a cruise. The fact is, the crew is sharing some important information that you need to know. Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, you haven’t heard it in the context of that particular vessel and that particular event. Remember to be courteous. The discussion will likely pertain to where to access life vests and life rafts. While it might be hard to take your eyes off the gorgeous sea or your delectable umbrella-topped cocktail, remember to pay close attention to the crew’s safety procedures. It won’t take long, and then it’s back to fun. 

Respect the Yacht

Superyachts are a major investment for charter companies, and crews do their utmost to meticulously maintain the luxury features of the ships. Be respectful of the yacht’s furnishings and setting. Although crews hope to make guests feel at home, guests should remember that the yacht isn’t their home and they are guests. While your superyacht isn’t Buckingham Palace, it’s not a roadhouse either. Remember to respect the setting and treat its amenities and furnishings with gentle care.

Respect the Sea

Believe it or not, sometimes superyacht guests get rowdy. It’s happened that some even forget their good manners and toss cups or garbage into the sea. To avoid the glares of other passengers, don’t pollute the surrounding sea. The waters around Hurricane Hole are beautiful and pristine–and we’d like to keep it that way. 

Tips Are Welcome

Tipping your crew for a well-performed cruise is certainly acceptable. As a rule of thumb, tipping should generally fall between 5-20% of the yacht charter cost. Passengers may also tip bartenders, servers, and bands during the cruise if they are involved in the cruise.

Treat the Crew Respectfully

It’s the crew’s job to ensure the charter cruise goes well, that the guests and yacht remain safe at all times, and to serve the needs of passengers. It’s important to follow the crew’s directions. After all, the superyacht is under their discretion. In other words, it’s their boat, their rules.

Alert the Crew of Any Problems

If you notice any problems aboard such as malfunctioning water sports equipment or broken glass, be sure to alert the crew right away. If any guests are fighting or using water sports toys inappropriately or unsafely, it’s important to let the crew know. They depend on your cooperation in this regard.

Avoid Last-Minute Changes

When you plan a charter, your superyacht’s staff will do everything needed to supply and ready the yacht for your event. Last-minute changes–like the addition of 10 more passengers–can upset the apple cart. There may not be enough food or drink for additional guests. If you have any changes to add, alert your crew as soon as possible. 

Bring Along Soft Luggage

Hard luggage is more difficult to stow on a superyacht–or any yacht for that matter. It’s easier for crews to stow soft bags. Be sure not to overpack either. There isn’t a lot of storage space aboard yachts, so be aware of that fact and plan accordingly.

Superyacht Charter Etiquette Don’ts

Here is an important list of essential yacht charter don’ts you shouldn’t forget:

Wear Stilettos on Deck

Depending on the superyacht and the event in question, your superyacht crew may designate areas where barefoot or rubber soles are best. You may be requested to remove stiletto heels that can damage teak deck planks, for instance. Don’t wear any shoes that go against the crew’s advice. 

Engage in Illegal Activities

Superyachts can make some people feel a sense of euphoria as if they’re getting away from it all–all the rules and restrictions that are in playback on land. The fact is legality matters at sea too. The yacht’s crew must prioritize safety; therefore, it cannot condone activities such as illegal drug use. Crews will report illegal activity to authorities. They must. It’s a liability for the charter company if they don’t. 

Distract the Crew

Superyacht crew members tend to be super accommodating and friendly. Much as they might like to, they can’t go sightseeing with your group or engage in your charter’s fun. Remember to be mindful of the fact that they’re doing a job. 

Enter Off-Limits Areas

Be sure to respect the yacht crew’s private quarters or areas that are designated as off-limits to guests. For example, guests are not typically permitted in the galley or supply rooms. Guests are also not permitted near the yacht’s controls either. 

Expect Babysitting Service

Many superyacht events include children, but it’s not the job of the crew to provide special supervision or entertainment services for children. In short, the crew cannot babysit guests. If your guests choose to bring their children, it’s up to them to supervise them at all times. 

Ask for a Last-Minute Change of Course

Your superyacht’s captain will have made a careful plan for your charter based on the agreed–upon course. Making last-minute changes may not be possible. It’s not good yacht etiquette to ask the captain to change course during your charter.

Insult the Crew or Other Guests

If you have an issue with a crew member or a serious problem with another guest, it’s best to bring it to the attention of the captain and allow the captain to deal with the matter. A superyacht is an enclosed world when out at sea. This world is governed by the captain. Be sure to respect the captain’s authority. If you have an issue with the captain, you can take it up with the charter company once you are back on land.

Don’t Do Anything Dangerous

Be sure you don’t do anything that could endanger yourself or other guests. That means that it’s up to you to use any water sports equipment carefully. Leave the water when advised. Don’t overdrink, and do your utmost not to fall overboard. It’s not up to the crew to ‘police’ you and your guests, but they will if your behavior is a threat to the safety of the cruise or you are breaking rules.

Don’t Wear Messy Spray-Tan Oils

Luxury superyachts are filled with luxury materials. Be mindful of the crew’s request when it comes to spraying tan oils. Some charter companies request that guests do not bring spray sunblock and that guests use reef-safe products when swimming or engaging in water sports.

Don’t Bring Other Prohibited Items

Some superyachts allow cigarette or cigar smoking outdoors; others prohibit tobacco products. Be sure you don’t bring any unauthorized items onboard. This might include pets (some yacht charters allow pets; some don’t), personal supply of alcohol, large souvenirs, or other prohibited items.

Superyacht Charter Etiquette is Always in Season at Hurricane Hole Superyacht Marina

Yacht charter season is an exciting time at Hurricane Hole. We hear all the cruise stories–the good and the bad. We hear about the unruly passengers, the passengers who don’t tip, and the passengers who were returned to shore (and banned from sailing with the company again). We also hear about the romantic anniversary party cruises, the all-night dance parties, and the sunset cruises. With good superyacht etiquette, every sailing excursion can be an enjoyable one. Poor etiquette ruins the experience for everyone. 

At Hurricane Hole, we enjoy meeting charter passengers as they board or embark from their yacht charters. We have a dazzling array of amenities that are available to yacht charter companies and crews and visitors to our marina. We feature numerous upscale and casual dining facilities, swimming pools, concierge services, and more. We do our utmost to support charter companies and their passengers, meeting all of their needs and helping to ensure that every yacht season is an amazing one.

We invite you to get to know our slip rates and wealth of onsite amenities. Did you know that we have one of the largest casinos in all of the Caribbean along with multiple bars and clubs and luxury shopping facilities? We also boast yoga and pilates facilities and world-class spas. Hurricane Hole is located near Atlantis Water Park and other incredible outdoor attractions like celebrated beaches and world-famous golf courses. Get to know all that Hurricane Hole has to offer and call us at 242-603-1950 to learn more . And if you have any advice about superyacht etiquette that we haven’t covered here, we’d be delighted to hear your thoughts. We look forward to enjoying the next yacht season with you.