The most crucial yacht etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior on a yacht. Avoid any embarrassments. Be a pleasant passenger.


What yacht etiquette is

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

As a guest, respect yacht rules to avoid any embarrassment.

General yacht etiquette principles

Yacht etiquette is based on two major underlying principles. 

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

Apply extra care in circumstances that can cause additional stress. 

  • Challenging weather.
  • Passengers experiencing motion sickness.
Yacht etiquette.

How to board, seat, and leave a yacht. Etiquette principles to interact with other passengers and the crew on a yacht.

Yacht etiquette rules

1) Etiquette to board a yacht 

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

Check the distance between the yacht ladders and the pier. If the ladder is far or swinging, wait.

If you have large bags or belongings, hand them over before boarding the yacht. On the ladder, do not make swift movements, which can make you lose balance. 

If you feel uncomfortable or not secure, ask for help.

2) How to manage your belongings on a yacht

As a general rule, keep your belongings in your cabin.

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

Ask the captain or the crew where you should place large items. Avoid bulky and hard luggage, as they are harder to store. Space onboard is often limited.

3) Yacht seating & lounging etiquette

In general, a yacht has enough space for comfort. However, you should avoid blocking the crew during their work. 

Ask the captain or the crew where you can stay. Or which areas are best to avoid.

4) How to dress on a yacht

The yacht dress code depends on the occasion. In general, the dress code is casual and comfortable. 

On some yachts, there is a strict barefoot policy. This is mostly to avoid shoes that can damage the teak decks. Leave your shoes in your cabin and wear them once you leave the yacht.

Otherwise, wear boat shoes. Boat shoes must be clean and should provide protection and grip. Do not wear heels.

5) Respect others

Respect the boundaries with the crew and their personal space. Do not enter the crew areas unless invited.

Avoid behavior that can put the crew or other passengers in discomfort. Be neat and keep your belongings in order.

Walk the yacht 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. 

Smoking is often forbidden. Ask the captain or the crew before smoking.

Do not throw anything overboard. 

6) Yacht etiquette for kids

Make sure that your kids follow the same yacht etiquette as adults. 

Keep your kids under control. Do not let them roam the yacht unattended. Avoid toys or devices that are noisy or that can annoy the crew or the other passengers.

7) Yacht rules for pets

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

If pets are allowed, follow the yacht rules for pets.

8) Etiquette to leave a yacht

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

If you have large bags or belongings, have someone hand them to you after getting on the pier.

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

A tip or gratuity is usually customary. The recommended amount is between 5% and 20% of the rate. Ideally, hand the tip to the captain in an unsealed envelope. 

yacht etiquette mistakes

Yacht etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst yacht etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Not respecting boundaries with the crew.
  • 7/10. Not keeping your belongings in order.
  • 6/10. Dressing inappropriately.
  • 5/10. Running on a yacht.
  • 5/10. Wearing the wrong shoes.
  • 4/10. Boarding without asking for permission.


  • Ludic and liminoid aspects of charter yacht tourism in the Caribbean: