Wow, am I walking straight into the lion’s jaws, or what? Tipping has been an ongoing topic of discussion between Captains, Crews, Clearing Houses, Management Companies and Charter Booking Agents and Brokers for decades. Recently, with the recession, it has become a hot topic and, as usual, will not be resolved this year either. This is because there is no really comprehensive answer possible.
Is Tipping Mandatory
Tipping is customer driven. There are guidelines, of course but in the final analysis A TIP IS A TIP. It’s not part of the crew’s salary and nor should it be. The crew is paid a salary and tips should fall into the “nice-to-have” department. The amount of the tip will depend on the level of service that the customer feels they deserve and usually involves a consideration of services rendered above and beyond the call of duty.
None of this, however, interests my readers — I called this a guide and I’ll take responsibility for that title, so here goes: first though, there are regional guidelines so generally speaking in the CARIBBEAN, charterers should seriously consider between 10% and 15% of the base charter rate. In the MEDITERRANEAN, it is customary to leave between 5% and 10% of the base charter rate.
How Should You Tender This Money
The gratuity should be in cash and paid to the captain, he or she will distribute the gratuity to the other crew members. It does not matter whether the crew are the owner/operators of the boat – chartering is more of a lifestyle choice and doesn’t provide great ROI’s so an owner/operator will appreciate a tip for good service just as much as a salaried crew member.
Leaving a handsome gratuity in the case of larger yachts with more expensive base rates can involve quite a lot of cash that many charterers prefer not to carry with them. The best option is to leave a lump sum of, say, 15% or 20% of the base charter rate in escrow with your Charter Booking Agent or Broker. After your charter has ended, you can simply email, your broker to release all or part of the funds to the boat as a gratuity. Most brokers will be happy to perform this service.
When booking term charters it is very important that the tipping standard for the region of charter is discussed. So that if a client has a budget of $10,000 for his/her vacation it is understood that they should look for a yacht in the $8,500 – $9,000 range because with a tip added it will then be $10,000. Most charters of this nature are booked through a yacht charter broker and it is the brokers fiduciary responsibility to discuss with a client what extra fees can be expected.
Now there is another area of yacht charter to think about and that is Event Charters. In South Florida and New York there are many party boats that can hold from 2 guests to 500 guests and which are booked for weddings, corporate and all other social events. Tipping is also an expected part of the charter. There are no standards here to go by except to advise a client that it is discretionary and should be based on level of service experienced.
Some calculate this by the number of crew on board and allocate X amount per crew member. Some yachts calculate this tip at a rate of $5 per guest. So if you have 50 guests then a tip of $250 would be appropriate. Again if the level of service is outstanding then feel free to leave a bigger amount.
As stated above in the first paragraph there is no hard and fast rule for tipping. Gratuity should not be expected. It is up to the Charterer to decide on this.
You are out of your mind. You don’t tip a Captain based on the cost of the boat, food, toys etc. You tip a Captain and crew based on the service and perhaps his salary. No one who is an average family going on a vacation computes the cost of the gratuity before they get on the plane. If you have $10,000 to spend you spend $10,000 and add the tip later. Why would anyone pay an additional 15% on every egg, can of coke and swim fins they used. This is really crazy.
I’m not really out of my mind (although my wife is constantly insisting that I am). I’m merely conveying an industry standard. Maybe because typically there are no pension benefits and social security requirements for charter crews in the US or in the Caribbean. The Mediterranean crew tipping standards are much lower because most have these benefits by law. I have to stress that gratuities are always optional and the amount or percentage is based on service, as you correctly point out. The article provides a backdrop and advises charter clients what is customary. TK
Can you please provide some additional direction on tipping in Croatia? If I am chartering a boat through a company but hired a skipper and hostess separately through a friend recommendation, do I tip on the boat cost at all or only on the crew costs? What is the proper way to tip all parties?
We are looking into going on a charter with a private crew in New England this summer, and I’ve had this question about tipping. I hadn’t originally taken this into account when planning our budget, but I can see how this could affect choosing a charter. As you explained, a broker should discuss this, but we will be aware of it as well as we plan for our trip. Thanks for sharing!
I’m a person who spends about $10,000 TOTAL on a vacation, and I can’t imagine doing such a fussy thing as escrow for a thousand or two. Are there REALLY people who pay $10,000 for a bareboat charter, but think a few thousand is excessive pocket money? On a trip to the islands… Where everything is cash…
Good info about the Med being less- just what I was wondering.
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I am a bit stumped on the tipping etiquette for a Catamaran charter in the BVI’s. My husband and I are very good tippers, so I do not want to over tip, but we especially do not want to under tip! The total cost of our 7 day chartered Catamaran is $11,125 for 6 people. The breakdown is accommodations $7525 and full board is $3600 . The crew is the Owner/captain and his wife. He has expressed that the customary is 15-20% of the total. This seems rather high based on my research. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
I didn’t realize that contracting a yacht could be so moderate; however now I consider it, it bodes well. This appears as though an ideal choice for a more distant family get-away. Our last expanded get-away as a family finished being incredibly exorbitant, and we as a whole concluded we would be searching for something that the entire family could appreciate that was somewhat more unwinding. I figure a yacht would be ideal for that.
You are out of your mind. You don’t tip a Captain based on the cost of the boat, food, toys, etc. You tip a Captain and crew based on the service and perhaps his salary. No one who is an average family going on a vacation computes the cost of the gratuity before they get on the plane. If you have $10,000 to spend you spend $10,000 and add the tip later. Why would anyone pay an additional 15% on every egg, can of coke, and swim fins they used. This is really crazy.