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.