The precious crew day off – whether it’s been months in the making, signalling that the charter, season or boss trip is coming to a close, or a regular occurrence if you’re really lucky, you’ll still want to make the most of it.
Being based in a probably beautiful part of the world, it would criminal not to leave your sea legs behind for a day and explore the local area.
And hopefully, having been stuck onboard for a while, you will have built up a little cash reserve so you can really treat yourself.
Here are just a few of my favourite things to do on a crew day off, in no particular order:
Sleep off the boat for the night
Ditch the narrow bunk and book yourself into a nice hotel – the bigger the bed the better! If it was me, I would find the nicest hotel close to the port that has a swimming pool, spa and bar at the very least.
After you’ve indulged, you can go back to your private room for some peace, quiet and relaxation – no snoring cabin mate and instead of being the service, you’ll be on the receiving end of it. Room service anyone?
Discover underwater worlds
As superyacht crew, we are lucky enough to spend time in some of the best dive locations in the world and what better way to spend your crew day off then exploring the underwater worlds you often only get to see from deck?
If you’re already a decent diver, you can take yourself off and swim with breaching whales in Bora Bora, Whale Sharks in the Maldives and stingrays in the Bahamas before discovering the many incredible reefs and wrecks.
If you’re not a qualified diver but interested in getting your tickets – which would also be classed as an upskills on your CV – take advantage of an extended boss-off period in dock with some training, starting with your PADI Open Water licence.
Hit up the local bars
Maybe one of the most popular crew day off activities, or certainly the most participated in, is checking out the local bars. Wherever you are berthed in the world, there will almost certainly be a small watering hole or several.
From Monaco to Antigua, Saint Martin to New York, there is nothing better than chilling out with your crewmates and unwinding after a long week or even season – with a shot or two in hand.
Just remember to be sensible, don’t embarrass yourself and make sure you’re on top form on your return to they yacht.
A beach on a budget
This is a great option if you’re trying to save your hard-earned pennies and no doubt, there will be an epic beach nearby. Grab your beach towel and favourite book, raid the crew fridge for snacks and refreshments, slap on the sun cream and get your tan on – deckhands in particular will want to blend in those t-shirt lines.
The water will probably be crystal clear, giving you plenty of opportunity to take those Insatgram pictures to make all your friends back home jealous (#yachtlife). And unless one of those hidden natural gems, there will probably be at least one beach bar to sip a cocktail from.
If your crew day off happens to occur whilst you’re in a more developed part of the world, this is your chance to feel normal again. Get to the shops and just walk the isles, window browse and find some local bargains (or VERY expensive items).
Even though you don’t have much space in your cabin for even one more t-shirt, forget it and worry about that when you get back to the boat.
Nice, Cannes, New York, Ibiza, Miami – the list is endless of great destinations to drop a ton of cash on items you likely don’t need and definitely won’t want the next day. But that doesn’t matter. Do it because you can and because it’s fun!
Hire a car and explore the island
My personal favourite – who doesn’t love a road trip? Travelling the world on a superyacht is amazing, but what’s the point if you don’t explore the beautiful land around you?
Hiring a car and driving around the island or local area where you are berthed means you can see what you want, when you want, at a pace you want. Complete freedom.
Get some of your crewmates to join you too and it becomes a very cheap was to enjoy your day. Turn the tunes up, wind the windows down, feel that wind in your hair and act like your 17 again and just passed your driving test, but this time you’re in paradise.
My best road trip location has to be Tahiti – small enough to be able to drive the whole island in one day, explore the many black sand beaches along the way, maybe take a surfboard and get out on the water, take a walk through the rain forests and enjoy the epic plethora of water falls on offer.
Boat toys/ facilities
Some of you will be lucky enough to be on a yacht that will allow you to use guest toys and facilities on a day off or after work. This is your chance to finally try your hand or improve your skills at wakeboarding, kiteboarding, wake surfing, sea bobs, fishing or diving.
These can make fantastic days off spent with your best mates onboard and best of all, it’s FREE.
As an ex-Deckhand and Bosun please remember that these toys and facilities are not yours, so treat them with the ultimate respect. If you’re not a deckie yourself, make sure you thank the deck crew who have given up their own time to provide this service and will have to clean, refuel, flush and maintain everything once you have finished with it.
For me, the ultimate day off is actually a combination of all of the above – although never hit the local bars BEFORE you hire a car (drinking and driving is for dummies). I love having the opportunity to explore the areas we visit – otherwise, what’s the point?
Whatever you do, wherever you do it, stay safe, have fun and make the most of it, it might be a long time until you have another day off and you might not ever be back there again.