Women on board: 7 essential tips

Women are increasingly taking to the seas, and for good reason. Sailing is a great way to explore new places, get some exercise, and have a lot of fun.

Sailing on a yacht can be an exhilarating experience, but it's important to be prepared. To make the most of your experience, it is important to carefully consider what you pack and keep in mind factors such as, the length of your trip, the number of stops you'll be making, the weather at your destination, the other people in your crew, any dietary restrictions, and whether you will be doing other activities besides sailing. So, whether you're a seasoned sailor or a complete beginner, read on for our top tips for women on board a yacht.

7 handy tips for women on board

If you are going to spend some time on board and below deck, there are a few things you should consider to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman, as long as you are a good sailor or enjoy sailing. Proper preparation and thinking through all the potential scenarios that may arise at sea or on land is necessary for an unforgettable sailing experience. Each person has different preferences and different needs, and this is especially true for women. Here are seven things every woman should think about before setting sail.

Woman on board

Woman on board.

1. Gear up for unpredictable weather conditions

Weather is every sailor's best friend and worst enemy. The blazing sun can lead to burns, sunstroke, or heatstroke without adequate protection. A sudden temperature drop can catch you off-guard without the right functional clothing, just like rain, water sprays, or waves caused by rough seas. Before you set sail, it's crucial to check the current and long-term weather forecasts for your destination. Being able to predict the weather conditions from temperature, clouds, and pressure indicators can be a game-changer. Learn how to read the weather from the clouds and no change will be taking you by surprise.

YACHTING.COM TIP: While functional clothing is essential on a boat, there are written and unwritten rules for port attire, including a dress code. Get familiar with yachting etiquette from A to Z.

2. Safety first

At sea — more than anywhere else — prioritize your safety and that of your crew. Many people have found themselves in dangerous situations aboard a boat due to negligence, ignorance, or recklessness. Despite the joy sailing brings, it's vital to take it seriously. Before you sail, ensure the rigging, controls, electronic instruments, and other vital components are in top condition. Also, check safety equipment such as life jackets, flares, and first aid kits to avoid inconvenience.

The crew matters

When yachting, remember you'll spend days in close quarters with several people, a space you can't easily exit. Considering potential crises or stressful situations, the choice of crewmates is important for a smooth and conflict-free voyage. Another significant aspect is the crew's experience and the choice of voyage difficulty. On a boat, you must be able to rely on each other to handle all possible situations.

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3. Personal space is important

Privacy is related to the previous point. After all, the people you want to spend time with on the boat are key to a relaxing voyage. You need to carve out your own private space where you feel comfortable. It may be that you are tired and want to lie down after sailing while others chat with a drink on deck. Maybe you're an early bird or a night owl. Everyone has their own routines and needs, and these must be respected to avoid the dreaded 'cabin fever'.

YACHTING.COM TIP: In this regard, the skipper, who always has the final say, plays a significant role. Learn what makes a good captain.

4. Indulge in the local cuisine and enjoy quick one-pot meals

Food and drink hold a special place on board. On demanding trips, it's essential to refuel with quality, nutritious food and stay hydrated. Everyone has unique tastes, some may have dietary restrictions or allergies, so it's important to pre-arrange meal plans. Dividing cooking responsibilities among crew members is common practice, with each person planning meals and sourcing ingredients. Trying local delicacies at pubs and restaurants along the coast is always a treat. Alcohol is generally avoided while sailing, but a drink at the marina is a sailing staple.

Celebration after a successful cruise

Celebrating after a successful sail.

YACHTING.COM TIP: It's good practice to open a bottle of something strong before setting sail and share it with Neptune (pour a little into the sea) so that he'll grant you his favour during the voyage.

5. Plan the itinerary and sailing route

Every skipper should prepare a detailed cruise plan, including onshore and offshore activities, as well as alternative routes for emergencies, crises, or when the weather is favorable. Even if the skipper doesn't know all the currents, prevailing winds, shoal threats, anchorage pitfalls, etc., they should at least understand what's involved in theory.

YACHTING.COM TIP: You can complement your yacht trip with exploring natural beauty of coastal areas, discovering quaint fishing towns, or engaging in other water sports. Sailing and snorkelling often go hand-in-hand.

Yachting and snorkelling

Yachting and snorkelling

6. Communication – near and far

Communication on a boat is two-fold: between the crew members and between the vessel and its environment. It's vital to establish a system where the captain and crew members can communicate effectively, and likewise, the ship needs to communicate with other vessels, receive signals from land, and do everything to prevent collisions.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Modern sailors aren't just reliant on eyesight, knowledge, and a few mechanical tools. GPS, online navigation charts, and many other devices facilitate sailing. Do you know what AIS is and how it works? Take a look, it can really help you in preventing collisions.

7. Women on board – equality and respect

On boats, whether small or large, for racing or pleasure, everyone in the crew is equal. At the same time, the individual needs of each yachtsman or yachtswoman must be taken into account, especially in the case of women who are sailing for the first time or holidaying.

When women embark on an adventure on a boat, they open up a world of new possibilities and experiences. Sailing offers a unique opportunity to explore the world beyond land, to discover new landscapes or to return to favourite destinations. To ensure a satisfactory journey, consider each gender's specifics to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for all.

Clothing and accessories

Clothing and accessories are one area in which women may have specific needs when sailing. It's important to have suitable attire for both water activities and shore excursions. However, due to the limited space on a boat, it's better to have clothes that are comfortable, functional, and can also serve as fashionable accessories on shore. Just remember, the hold isn't just a personal wardrobe. Check out more tips on what to bring on board.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Women shouldn't forget to pack sunscreen with appropriate SPF, moisturizer, sunglasses, and a scarf or hat. Also, pack clothes suitable for both good and bad weather, and something decent for the marina.

Toilet facilities and personal care

Another important aspect on a yacht is the use of a toilet, as there may only be one available. Although women may feel very comfortable on the boat, it is advisable to set aside a separate area for them to use the toilet in privacy and with dignity. Also, set some ground rules for toilet use to ensure comfort and privacy. And remember, no personal care items belong in the toilet. If you want to prepare ahead of time, check out the basic rules for using the toilet on a boat.

Swimming and water sports

Swimming also deserves special attention. Some women might be uncomfortable swimming without a swimsuit in front of others, especially male passengers. Establish rules regarding bathing and dressing on board to create an environment that respects each individual's needs.

For women and men

It is important to remember that each gender can have its own specific needs. However, when sailing on a boat, it is crucial to create an environment of mutual respect, equality and consideration. Establishing universally agreed rules about dress, toilet use, bathing, etc. specifically for women helps to create a space in which women feel comfortable and can fully enjoy the cruise.

Boating is an adventure for everyone and offers the opportunity to explore new horizons. By taking into account the specifics of each gender and creating an atmosphere that reflects mutual respect, we enhance not only the experience itself, but also the sense of belonging among all passengers. Whether you are male or female on board, a space of mutual understanding and harmony will be created that will accompany you throughout your adventure.


Keep these seven tips in mind for your sailing trip, drawing some inspiration from these renowned female sailors. You can be confident that your experience on the water will be comfortable, safe, and enjoyable. Happy sailing to all women on board!

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FAQs: Advice for women on board