How to Host a Yacht Party
A yacht party is a fantastic change of pace from dinner at a restaurant or a backyard cookout. Yachting isn’t a common thing for a lot of people, so there’s a natural excitement built into the event, even if the boat never leaves the dock. All you have to do as the host is play into that vibe, and you’ve got yourself a successful event.
One of the best things you can do when inviting guests to a yacht party is to inform them in advance about general etiquette aboard a boat. Friends who are landlubbers will not know, for instance, that it’s customary to leave your shoes in a dock box before boarding a boat.
Tell them ahead of time that their feet will be on display so they can get a pedicure, buy a cool pair of socks or invest in a little toe jewelry to feel comfortable throughout the party. They’ll also appreciate the pro tip of wearing shoes that are easy to slide on and off without having to sit down and deal with laces or straps.
And, for yacht parties during the day, encourage your guests to dress for the sun. Have sunscreen on board to use, and offer helpful suggestions like bringing a hat, a light shirt to cover easy-burn spots like shoulders and the back of the neck, and perhaps linen pants or a sarong for legs that don’t see the sun too often. Polarized sunglasses also help stay comfortable throughout the day on board.
Think bigger-picture about how people should dress: if your yacht party is during the day, then your guests might bring a small bag of clothes for later; you’ll need a place on the yacht to put those bags. Your yacht party may extend into the night, which means there could be a big swing in the temperature, so encourage guests to bring clothing that can be layered on and off.
If the party will include the boat leaving the dock, then advise your guests about the golden rule of remaining upright: one hand for you, one hand for the boat. Yes, you can carry a plate of hors d’oeuvres or a cocktail in one hand, but whenever the boat moves, you always want one hand free to grab a rail, a handhold, or anything else you might need to steady yourself. Helping new boaters stay safe underway should be priority one!
In terms of hosting, think about serving a steady array of finger foods instead of a big, sit-down meal. The little stuff is easier to store and cook quickly, and it’s a better option to offer people a variety of foods if the boat is moving since some people may be a bit more sensitive than others.
Skip the things that come on skewers (those little sticks never end up in the trash, and they can poke bare feet if they end up on deck). Instead, think about crudites, bruschetta bites, and boneless wings that leave no refuse behind.
Also, have soft drinks such as ginger ale and lemon-lime soda on hand to help soothe any bouts of seasickness. Ginger is another well-regarded remedy and can be served as a chewable or in a cup of iced tea.
Sometimes, yacht parties are themed, with everything from steel-drum players to belly dancers aboard for entertainment. Swim parties are, of course, a go-to favorite, as are “Under the Sea” parties with a seafood spread. You can go with a color, or a lack thereof, such as an all-white party, or encourage people to wear Hawaiian shirts for a Polynesian night.
Music is a must. So don’t forget to create a playlist to go with your theme. It’s hard to go wrong with boating standbys such as Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, and the Beach Boys. More than a few great singalongs have started with “Rock the Boat” by the Hues Corporation or “Banana Boat (Day-O)” by Harry Belafonte.
Yes, that last suggestion is about as polar opposite as you can get from “Under the Sea,” but that’s the beauty of a yacht party. It can be anything you want it to be.
Best of all: you don’t need to own a yacht to throw a party on one. You can rent a yacht for a half-day or full-day and host your party on the rental instead! If you happen to be one of the lucky few who own a yacht, you can list it and rent it out to the large market made up of people daydreaming about their day out on a yacht or hosting their own yacht party.
Boatsetter is a unique boat-sharing platform that gives everyone— whether you own a boat or you’re just renting — the chance to experience life on the water. You can list a boat, book a boat, or make money as a captain.
Kim Kavin has been on boats in more than 50 countries and islands, including in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. She grew up learning to steer a ski boat and Hobie Holder at her grandfather’s lake house in New Jersey, and went on to spend time aboard everything from America’s Cup racing sailboats to submarines.
Kim is a PADI-certified scuba diver and animal lover who always enjoys a good, long look around a coral reef. Her award-winning writing and editing regularly appears in national marine magazines and on leading websites. In her early years, she was a Dow Jones editing intern and a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. When she’s not writing, Kim can usually be found hiking northwest New Jersey’s beautiful park trails with her adopted shelter mutt, Ginger.