Yacht Club Officials

How to Address a Commodore & Spouse?

Please advise on how to address club officers and their spouses for a yacht club. We call our CEO the Commodore.  Below that we have a: Vice Commodore, Rear Commodore, Port Captain and Fleet Captain.  In writing we address them as:

——-(Rank) (Full Name)

——-Which looks like
————-Commodore (Full Name)

What is controversial  is the wives of the officers.  Is ‘Lady’ appropriate for all the wives of officers or just the wife of the Commodore?
——————-– Ann C.

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

Dear Ann C.:
The ranks of national Armed Services are used both officially and socially.  I would divide your ranks as internal and external. They are used at club events and in correspondence which relate to club business (internal).  But, they are not used at times disconnected to club activiites.  E.g. None of your officials will use their yacht club title –– externally –- M-F at work.

Here is what I’d suggest:

—-Official envelope
—-External, used by outsiders:
—-—-Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Full Name)
—-—-(Office held)
—-—-(Name of Club)

—-Official envelope
—-Internal, used by members with members:
—-—-(Rank) (Full Name)
—-—-(Name of Club)

—-—-Dear Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Surname),
——–Dear (Rank),
—-Dear (Rank) (Surname),
How to Address a Commodore

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

——-#2) Not many wives of officials get a special form of address based on their spouse’s office.  In the British tradition – some do. Wives of knights and vice-royal representatives get an elevated form of address.

—-—-#2A) The wives of knights are addressed as ‘Lady (Surname)’. The husbands of dames receive no special form of address.

—-—-#2B) The spouses of the monarch’s vice-royal representatives to his/her dominions and provinces get special forms address.  The spouse of a governor general and the spouse of a lieutenant governor both do. I have all those forms of address in my book if you are interested, but it’s a bit much to get into it here.

If you are looking for a maritime precedent supporting the practice, I don’t think there is one. The spouses of naval officers receive no special form of address based on their spouse’s rank.

It could be that only at your club are wives of Commodores addressed as ‘Lady’. Or maybe the are copying what they’ve heard somewhere in the Commonwealth where their ‘commodore’ was also a ‘knight’?  You are going to have to ask someone who knows the origins of the traditions of your club!

– Robert Hickey    How to Address a Commodore

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"