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Charter etiquette - how to be a good guest.

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A superyacht charter is all about the freedom to do what you want, when you want, where you want. So why should there be rules you might ask? Whether you are chartering a yacht or have been invited as a guest of the charterer or owner, in order to make sure your experience is as enjoyable as possible following a few simple etiquette rules can help to make, rather than break, your time on board.​

Respect your home

The safety briefing is mandatory and makes sure that everyone goes home safe and happy at the end of the charter
The safety briefing is mandatory and makes sure that everyone goes home safe and happy at the end of the charter

Although the yacht you have chartered is yours for the duration of the charter, it belongs to an individual and should be treated respectfully. However safe and relaxed you feel, there are intrinsic risks to being on the water in a large, powerful machine and your safety is the responsibility of the captain. Ensure you digest the information given during your initial safety briefing, and if you have any questions ask the crew. Adhering to the safety rules is beneficial to all on board, not just the crew.

The crew know how to keep guests safe while making sure they have an amazing time
The crew know how to keep guests safe while making sure they have an amazing time

Keep to the guest areas

Delighting guests with amazing cuisine means the galley is a highly pressurised environment. Unless invited, leave the chefs to it
Delighting guests with amazing cuisine means the galley is a highly pressurised environment. Unless invited, leave the chefs to it

It is also important to respect the privacy of others while on board, just as you would wish them to do for you. It's best not to enter other guests’ cabins without their permission and always stay clear of the crew areas. The galley in particular is considered a no-go area, unless invited, as it is constantly buzzing with the creation of amazing dishes for you and your guests. The crew cabins and crew quarters should also be considered out of bounds as the crew need their rest to deliver the best possible service.

To deliver the seven-star service you expect, the crew need to rest when they're not on watch. Please respect their downtime
To deliver the seven-star service you expect, the crew need to rest when they're not on watch. Please respect their downtime

What to wear

Dress for relaxed comfort and embrace the barefoot vibe
Dress for relaxed comfort and embrace the barefoot vibe

Wear what you like, but be aware that, unless you are planning a black-tie dinner on board or stepping ashore to the finest restaurant, yachting is much more casual than you might expect. While on board it is customary that all guests, no matter who they may be, abide by the bare feet rule.

This is the hallmark of a great holiday - fresh out of the water and heading for the deck shower. Bliss!
This is the hallmark of a great holiday - fresh out of the water and heading for the deck shower. Bliss!

Ditch your shoes

You can lose your shoes as soon as you set foot on board
You can lose your shoes as soon as you set foot on board

Teak decks are expensive and fragile - high heels can scratch and damage the teak decking, black soles can leave scuff-marks, so come prepared to go barefoot. Remember to remove your shoes if you have been ashore – your crew will provide a basket to keep your shoes in once you step on board.

Even at shows, yachts will have shoe baskets for you to drop yours in
Even at shows, yachts will have shoe baskets for you to drop yours in

Pack a soft bag

Soft bags are easier to stow and don't risk damaging the cabinetry
Soft bags are easier to stow and don't risk damaging the cabinetry

As a side note, though some of the yachts in the Burgess charter fleet have huge trunk rooms, storage can be an issue on many of the yachts.

Hard-sided luggage is discouraged in favour of soft luggage that can be stowed away easily during your time on board.

Crew find it easier to handle soft luggage
Crew find it easier to handle soft luggage

Crew are key

The success of any charter is hugely dependent on the crew. They are always a special group of people
The success of any charter is hugely dependent on the crew. They are always a special group of people

The charter crew are as important as the yacht itself and can make or break a charter. They are there to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible, taking care of your needs and putting great enthusiasm into their jobs. Your Burgess charter broker will know most of the crews and will always aim to match their personalities with that of your charter party. Common courtesy is a must, as are compliments when they have gone the extra mile as they will always endeavour to do.

The crew is dedicated to giving you the best possible charter experience. When they delight you, let them know
The crew is dedicated to giving you the best possible charter experience. When they delight you, let them know

They have many duties

Every crew will have plenty of other jobs to do, ones you may not see but are no less vital to the experience
Every crew will have plenty of other jobs to do, ones you may not see but are no less vital to the experience

Remember you may not have to be up early, but they do, so don’t keep them up until sunrise - let them have their sleep. Allow the crew time to do their jobs – whether they are completing their various housekeeping tasks or servicing essential systems on board, give them time by stepping ashore for a few hours or simply relaxing on deck, out of their way. If you want the crew to join you ashore by all means invite them, but don’t be offended if they politely decline.

Whether you're out exploring on the watertoys, visiting the local port or hiking and biking ashore, giving the crew some space always helps them work faster
Whether you're out exploring on the watertoys, visiting the local port or hiking and biking ashore, giving the crew some space always helps them work faster

Crew gratuities

Over the course of the charter many of the crew will become like friends to you. It's a special bond
Over the course of the charter many of the crew will become like friends to you. It's a special bond

There is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to crew gratuities, but according to MYBA (now known as the Worldwide Yachting Association, the industry's professional trade body) the norm is between 5-15 percent of the value of the charter, depending on your experience and the specifics of your charter. The sum is paid to the captain then split between the crew - who will be very grateful to you!

Children on board

The crew love children, indeed many have their own and miss them. They have multiple responsibilities however so if you need a nanny, best arrange to bring one
The crew love children, indeed many have their own and miss them. They have multiple responsibilities however so if you need a nanny, best arrange to bring one

The majority of superyachts welcome children of all ages on board and most crews love taking care of their younger guests, but remember that the crew are not nannies. Don’t forget that every single crew member has multiple responsibilities, many that you may not see.

Children love yachting because there's so much to do, there's never a dull moment
Children love yachting because there's so much to do, there's never a dull moment

Ask your broker about a nanny

A nanny may be included as part of your party. Check with your charter broker
A nanny may be included as part of your party. Check with your charter broker

If you want to bring along a nanny, check with your charter broker who can confirm if there is enough accommodation on board. Nor are the crew babysitters. If you need one you can always ask your charter broker or crew to organise one for you.

Yacht charter is perfect for families, as long as the crew is allowed the time to deliver the experience everyone wants you to have
Yacht charter is perfect for families, as long as the crew is allowed the time to deliver the experience everyone wants you to have

Smoking on board

In general smoking is not allowed on board a superyacht, however, a handful of yachts have deck areas where smoking may be permitted and this is entirely at the discretion of the owner. Obviously illegal or illicit activities place the yacht and crew in jeopardy and the penalty can be seizure of the yacht and jail time for those responsible. Don’t leave the captain or any member of the crew in a difficult position.

Smoking inside is definitely not allowed when chartering but there may be a sheltered deck space where you can light up. Check with your charter broker
Smoking inside is definitely not allowed when chartering but there may be a sheltered deck space where you can light up. Check with your charter broker

Relax - and enjoy!

Last but not least, relax and enjoy your time on board. A relaxed guest means a happy and efficient crew.  Burgess charter brokers are on hand to offer advice on any concerns or questions you might have.

Allow them to do so and the crew will create the most unforgettable holiday you've ever had
Allow them to do so and the crew will create the most unforgettable holiday you've ever had

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