The most important boat etiquette rules. How to behave on a boat. Avoid any embarrassment and be a pleasant passenger.

boat rules for passengers

What boat setting etiquette is

Boat etiquette is the set of rules to stay on a boat. It includes the proper way to board, stay, and leave, and the appropriate behavior.

General boat etiquette principles

Boat etiquette is based on two major underlying principles. 

  • Facilitate the work of the crew.
  • Avoid behavior that can disrespect the owner of the boat or other passengers.

Apply extra care in circumstances that can cause additional stress. 

  • Challenging weather.
  • Passengers experiencing motion sickness.

Boat etiquette rules

1) Etiquette to board a boat 

Before boarding a boat, ask permission to board. Ask the owner or the nearest crew member. It is sufficient to ask “permission to board?”. Then, wait for the answer.

Check the distance between the boat and the pier. If the boat is far or swinging, wait.

Board the boat near the middle. If you have large bags or belongings, hand them over before boarding the boat.

Do not make swift movements, which can make you lose balance. Move carefully. Manage your weight. First, place a foot on the boat. Transfer most of your weight to the first foot. Then, move the second foot.

If you feel uncomfortable or not secure, ask for help. Better safe than sorry.

2) How to manage your belongings on a boat

You can keep small bags, backpacks, or purses with you. You can keep them on your lap or on the floor, between your legs.

Ask the owner or the crew where you should place large items.

3) Boat seating etiquette

Ask the owner or the crew where you should sit. On small boats, balance can become an issue. Thus, passengers should be distributed evenly.

Sit upright with your feet on the floor. Keep your legs under control. Your legs should not occupy a space wider than your seat. Do not spread them. If you stretch them, make sure that you do not occupy other passengers’ personal space or block passage.

4) How to dress on a boat

The boat dress code depends on the occasion. In general, the dress code is casual and comfortable. Prefer light colors over bright ones.

Ideally, wear boat shoes. Boat shoes must be clean. You can wear them on your way to the boat, or change shoes before boarding. Boat shoes should provide protection and grip. Sneakers and loafers are not optimal, but acceptable. Do not wear heels.

5) Respect others

Walk the boat carefully. Do not run. Walk at a slow but steady pace. If the sea is rough, hold onto handles or ropes to keep your balance. Move far from the crew, do not impede their movements.

Avoid bringing smelly or greasy food on board. If you spill food or a drink, clean after yourself. 

Smoking can be inappropriate. Ask the owner or the crew before smoking.

Do not throw anything into the water. 

6) Boat etiquette for kids

Keep your kids under control. Do not let your kids roam the boat unattended. 

Avoid toys or devices that are noisy or that can annoy other passengers.

7) Boat etiquette for pets

Ask the owner in advance whether pets are allowed on board. Do not get upset if they are not.

8) Etiquette to leave a boat

Apply the same principles as for boarding a boat.

Leave the boat near the middle. Check the distance between the boat and the pier. If the boat is far or swinging, wait.

If you have large bags or belongings, have someone hand them to you after you leave the boat.

Do not make swift movements, which can make you lose balance. Move carefully. Manage your weight. First, place a foot on the pier. Transfer most of your weight to the first foot. Then, move the second foot.

Boat etiquette: the worst mistakes

Avoid the worst boat etiquette mistakes. 

  • 7/10. Seating in the wrong places.
  • 7/10. Not keeping your belongings in order.
  • 6/10. Boarding without asking for permission.
  • 5/10. Wearing the wrong shoes.

Sources

  • Seating Type and Cognitive Performance After 3 Hours Travel by High-Speed Boat: ingentaconnect.com