What Not To Do Your First Day On A Yacht!

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Joining a yacht for the first time can be thrilling and intimidating all at once. There is a lot going on when you join from meeting and remembering all of the crew members to navigating your new position. On top of and learning the rules of the vessel. It can be a lot to take in and you want to make sure you don’t mess it up.

The last thing you want is to make a fool of yourself when joining a new boat. I have outlined some of the basic rules on superyachts that they won’t teach you in your STCW. This way you won’t have to go through the embarrassment that the rest of us went through when joining.

Learn To Walk Like A Ninja

This is probably the most important thing you can learn before boarding the boat and something you can practice beforehand. Nobody likes a loud walker on the boat, and you might not even realize you are one until you join a superyacht.

It can wake up the guests and disrupt the crew when they are trying to sleep.

Sound travels very easily on boats and you don’t want to be loud. Practice being a ninja and sneaking up on your family and friends. Once you are able to sneak up on them, you are ready to board a yacht.

What Not To Bring Onboard

Know before you board

Make sure that you make a good first impression. It is important to know what to pack before you even step foot on the boat. You are going to have minimal closet and storage space, you don’t want to bring any more than you need.

It is always a good idea to travel with a rolling duffle bag or foldable suitcase when joining a yacht. Your suitcase is going to have to be stored in a bilge on the boat, so the less space it takes up, the better. The last thing you want to do is show up with tons of luggage and nowhere to put it.

Remember less is more in yachting. You do not need to bring tons of clothes or shoes when joining a yacht. You hardly need to bring anything at all.

Bring enough clothes for one week, including one nice outfit to wear out when having fancy dinners with the crew or guests. Everything else will be provided by the boat.

If you are joining a boat and planning on bringing your surfboard or bicycle, it is always best to ask the captain or first mate ahead of time if it will be allowed. Some boats will have storage for it, while others will not. You don’t want to show up to the boat with large items and have to leave them on the dock because there is no storage for it on the boat.

In Your New Cabin

Being new to a yacht makes you the lowest of the low on the crew ranking, especially being green. You are coming into someone else’s cabin and entering their private space. It is a good idea to get off on the right foot.

I always recommend talking to your roommate about their cabin rules on your first day. It is your only personal space on the boat, so you want to make sure it is a happy one. Ask them if they are a light sleeper, or if there are any habits that they can’t stand.

It is also a good idea to talk to them about how they have done the cleaning schedule in the past. Since you will most likely have cabin inspections, it is a good idea to know how you will share the workload.

Remember you are living on a superyacht now, this is not your bedroom back home. You have to make your bed every morning before work and keep your cabin tidy. Keep your bathroom clean and remember to wipe down the shower after every use.

Be respectful of your roommate. It is a good idea to train yourself to wake up from your alarm on vibrate so you won’t wake them. When you are on charter and both working different hours, the last thing you want to do is to wake your roommate up.

Remember what I said about being a ninja, practice this in your cabin as well.

Mealtime In The Crew Mess


Mealtime can be a bit overwhelming when joining a new boat. The crew have their routines and they are all pretty close-knit. It can feel like trying to sit at the cool kids’ table back in high school. They have their inside jokes and their banter that you don’t feel a part of just yet.

Be sure not to let this intimate you.  Don’t be shy, try to make jokes and fit in with the crew.

It is also a good idea to let everyone else eat and sit before you do in the crew mess, especially the captain. Crew tend to have their spots where they like to sit in the crew mess and the last thing you want to do is sit in the captains spots.

I remember my first time on a yacht, I was so nervous and didn’t know what to do. I was trying to fit in with the crew and make conversation. Not paying much attention to where I was sitting, the captain came down and practically pushed me out of his seat. I was sitting in his seat and didn’t even notice when he came down because I was too busy trying to make friends with the crew.

Needless to say, it is much easier not to make this mistake if you are the last one to get your food and sit down. This also helps not taking the last or only veggie burger, and leaving the vegetarian with nothing to eat.

Also, when you are done eating and you notice others are done as well, offer to clear the plates for them. It is a good habit to get into on the first day.

Leave Your Phone In Your Cabin

I can’t believe how many new crew members join a new boat and sit on their phones in the crew mess the whole time during meals or breaks. This is horrible.

You are meant to be getting to know your new crew members. Yes, everyone else might be on their phones, but they already know each other and have been living with each other for quite some time.

Imagine being in the crew mess is similar to a first date. You are getting to know each other and finding out if it is going to work out before it drags on too long. The crew is interviewing you on your personality as well as your work performance.

You wouldn’t sit on your phone and scroll social media on a first date unless you never wanted to see them again, so don’t do it in the crew mess. If you need to make a phone call or message someone, go to your cabin or get off the boat. Make yourself shine, and don’t scroll your phone.

On The Dock

Dock Parties

After the workday is done, it is pretty common for the crew to either hit the docks with beers or head to the gym. Joining the crew on the dock can be a great way to socialize and get to know your new family outside of work.

They will be less guarded and more open to telling you dirt about the captain and possibly the owners. Not only about your boat, but also the other boats in the marina.

Yachting is a hard industry because everyone is away from their friends and family, so your crew members become your family.

Make the effort to get to know them and be apart of the team. If they have activities planned and invite you, be sure to go, even if you are starting off in the industry with very little cash.

The cash will come, trust me! But there might not always be the opportunity to bond with your crew and get to do amazing things. Enjoy your downtime while you have it.

If you have not already found a job on a Superyacht and you are looking for some insiders tips on how to do so, check out my blog on How to get a Job on a Superyacht!


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