First time on a yacht? Avoid these 7 amateur mistakes


While most of the travel industry struggled to get back on its feet, the yachting industry had a different problem during the pandemic: serving everyone wanting to charter a boat.

Like the rise in private jet travel during the pandemic, charter demand remains “extremely strong,” said Crom Littlejohn, chief commercial officer of the yacht brokerage company Northrop & Johnson. He said he expects interest to remain this way “for the foreseeable future.”

But it isn’t the same people who have always traveled via sea, he said.

“A big percentage of our business is first-time charters,” said Littlejohn. “They’ve had the ski vacations … they want to try something different.”

Destinations with an increase in summer yacht bookings

  • South of France
  • Croatia
  • Caribbean 
  • Galapagos Islands 

Source: Northrop & Johnson

Insiders share with CNBC the seven common mistakes of those new to the industry.

Mistake #1: Hard-shell luggage

Mistake #2: High heels

But rules on shoes can depend on the yacht owner, said superyacht influencer Denis Suka, who is known as The Yacht Mogul online.  

If guests are uncertain about a yacht’s shoe policy, they can keep an eye out upon boarding, said Suka. Look for “pairs of shoes [at] the entrance,” he said. That means shoes aren’t allowed on the boat.

As for what to pack, Suka recommends “keeping it light” with clothes that have “summer vibes,” calling this part of the rules “that are pretty much set in stone.”

Mistake #3: Not giving way on the passerelle

Passengers should board the passerelle — the walkway that is used to get on and off a yacht — one at a time, said Marcela de Kern, a business consultant for the yachting company Onboard Monaco.

“It’s quite fragile,” she said. “If you board at [the] same time, it can break,” she said, adding this can create “massive” problems in ports in Greece and Croatia, where it’s especially hard to get from yacht to port.

Professional soccer football player Cristiano Ronaldo and partner Georgina Rodriguez board a yacht on June 1, 2018 in Marbella, Spain.

Europa Press Entertainment | Europa Press | Getty Images

“The one leaving the yacht has priority, so if you are boarding and someone else is coming down, you should wait and let them get down first,” said de Kern.

Celebrities like the Kardashians have “no yacht etiquette,” she said, citing a recent video of them disembarking close together, one clad in high heels, from a yacht in Portofino.

Mistake #4: Not planning for extra expenses

Mistake #5: Not connecting with the crew

Mistake #6: Scheduling too many activities  

Mistake #7: Waiting to book





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