Boat Guest Etiquette: A Guide to Being a Perfect Boat Guest

Whether you’ve been invited by a friend or a family member, being a guest on a boat can be a unique and enjoyable experience. A well-mannered boat guest should do everything possible to make their host’s job easier, while ensuring a pleasant and safe experience for everyone on board. To help you become the perfect boat guest, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of boat guest etiquette guidelines.

Communicate with the Host

1. RSVP Promptly

Once you receive the invitation, be sure to respond as soon as possible, so the host knows you’re coming and can finalize preparation.

2. Let Them Know About Your Experience

If you have any boating experience or knowledge, inform your host. This information will help them consider whether you can contribute in any way.

3. Inform of Any Allergies or Dietary Restrictions

If you have any allergies or specific dietary requirements, notify your host so they can make the necessary arrangements.

What to Bring

1. Suitable Clothing

Check the weather conditions and dress accordingly. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and a swimsuit if necessary. Layers are essential in case it gets chilly.

2. Non-Marking Shoes

Wear white-soled or light-colored shoes to avoid marking the boat’s deck.

3. Towel and Sunscreen

Bring your own towel and sunscreen to ensure you can protect your skin against the sun.

4. Personal Items

Bring a small waterproof bag containing your personal items, such as your phone, wallet, and ID.

5. BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage)

If you wish to drink alcohol while on the boat, bring a moderate amount of your preferred beverage. However, drink responsibly as alcohol can impair balance and judgment, leading to dangerous situations on the boat.

6. Offer to Contribute

While not mandatory, it’s polite to offer to contribute something to the trip. This could be snacks, ice, extra sunscreen, or helping with costs such as fuel or docking fees.

Onboard Etiquette

1. Be Punctual

Arrive on time, as your host may have a strict schedule to adhere to, such as tide times or booking arrangements.

2. Listen to the Captain’s Instructions

The person in charge of the boat is the captain, meaning their instructions and rules should be followed for everyone’s safety.

3. Be Respectful of Shared Areas

Clean up after yourself when using the galley, restroom, or any other shared area.

4. Offer to Help

Assist with tasks such as setting up the boat or cleaning. Even if you’re inexperienced, offering to help will be appreciated.

5. Be Mindful of the Noise

Keep the noise level to a minimum, especially if other guests are onboard or if you’re near other boaters.

6. Be Careful with Water Usage

Water is a precious resource on a boat; therefore, you should be conservative with it when using sinks, showers, and toilets.

7. Respect Swimming Safety Rules

Always adhere to the swimming safety rules and never swim alone or without the captain’s permission.

Disembarking and After the Trip

1. Help Clean Up

Before disembarking, offer to help clean up or stow away any items used during the trip.

2. Thank the Host

Verbalize your gratitude to the host, making sure they know how much you enjoyed the trip and their efforts.

3. Follow Up with a Thank-You Note

A quick email or text message expressing your appreciation will ensure your host knows how grateful you are for the experience.

By adhering to these boat guest etiquette guidelines, you will set yourself apart as a gracious and considerate guest. Exemplary behavior will not only make the trip more enjoyable for everyone involved but may also result in more invitations in the future. Happy boating!

Have something to add or correct? Please let us know by clicking here.
* See disclaimer in the footer of the site for use of this content.

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Our Newsletter

Get the latest boating tips, fishing resources and featured products in your email from!