So, you are going on a charter and you are not quite sure how (or if) to tip. You are not alone; many divers new to chartering ask themselves: How much should I tip a Charter?
No worries, we have you covered. Here are some tips on tipping, straight from the CharterHunt Captains themselves!
The general advice is that Tipping on a charter of any kind; (fishing, diving, sailing, skiing, hot air ballooning, sightseeing, skydiving, horseback riding or drinking) varies from boat to boat.
When in doubt, discretely ask the Captain.
How do I tip a captain? There are a few Charter Captains that expect to be tipped themselves, but 95% of the Charter Captains leave the tips for their crew. In most cases the deckhand or the Divemaster, or both, will be keeping your tips. If neither is present, tip the Captain! Tipping Charter Captains themselves is not the norm, but we have seen it.
OK, so do I tip a Charter or not? The rule of thumb is just like a restaurant, 10% to 20% is appropriate. Depending on quality of service.
Important: If you decide that the Charter Captain, or the Deckhand, or the Divemaster, is not worthy of a tip, do the right thing and tell the Captain why.
In some instances the Charter Captains are so busy managing the boat, they don’t exactly know what kind of service their crew is giving.
What is considered a good job:
A smile, an introduction and a welcome aboard
Some direction on were my “spot” on the boat is
A once over to make sure my gear looks right & my air is on
A hand getting in the water if I need it
Help back on to the boat
A solid headcount after each dive to make sure nobody gets left
A general willingness to help if you ask for it
Without using specifics, assuming the trip costs $100 per head for a 3 tank dive, here are a few examples on tipping Scuba Charters:
We went on a charter out of Boynton Beach with 14 divers on it. This Captain did not have a Divemaster, but his deck hand was on another level. She was “Jane on the spot” with everything: buddy checked all the divers, double checked our dive times, swapped out our tanks, tidied up the gear, made sure no one was left behind (triple checked), made sure nobody’s gear got mixed up, helped load & unload everyone’s gear, and more…she did it all with a smile on her face, she was amazing. She got great tips from everyone; (the CharterHunt crew tipped her $35 a head).
On the flipside, we went on another trip, with 12 divers, considered an average size boat. The deckhand stood on the bridge by the Charter Captain and did nothing more than let us know when to jump off the boat (& obviously did a solid headcount)…but that was about the extent of his help. The trip was excellent, the staff was very nice & I would use them again in a heartbeat, just know I have to do all the work. Also, granted we were all very experienced divers, nonetheless, help a diver out! He got between $2-$5 from everyone. You should never “Stiff” the boat, no matter how small; gratuity on a charter is always appreciated.
The last example is a Charter we went on in Hawaii. This boat packed on 28 divers of all different levels of experience (plus 4 Divemasters/tour guides, & 1 deckhand). It was a nightmare. We call these “cattle boats”. Now there is a disclaimer: depending on how “tight of a ship” they run, a cattle boat can feel like a small charter. But on this occasion, on the boat, it was a disaster, but once you got in the water it was great diving. Usually on a cattle boat, a 5 or 10 spot is good.
We know tipping in general as an element of our society has gotten a little out of hand, everyone expects a tip for nothing these days but tipping on a charter is still justified.
The bottom line is that yes, you should tip on a charter. How much you tip is up to you. Keep in mind that some of the Deckhands and Divemasters that work on these charters make their living from your tips, just like a server.
So if they go above and beyond, tip your scuba charter well!