Tipping Etiquette

Tipping Etiquette

By Stephanie Velazquez

When you go out on a Charter, you sit back and relax, you get to experience the island from a different perspective. It makes you feel free and filled with joy. When you book a Charter you hire certified professionals who have years of training in the ocean. Their goal is to provide a wonderful day in the water. However, their main priority is to keep all passengers safe! The captain and crew members are knowledgeable about the best spots of the island, history, the local wildlife, the vessel, equipment that will be used while out at sea, and are trained to react under unexpected circumstances. Tipping is a great way to reward a wonderful service. 

Is it like tipping servers at a restaurant?

Customers know that it is expected of them to tip their server when going to a restaurant, but when it comes to tipping the captain and crew members for a charter, many are uncertain of what's expected of them. Tipping the captain and crew members is just like tipping your server, which at restaurants typically goes from 15% - 20%. Something to keep in mind is that the time spent of a server taking care of you during the meal is measured in minutes and their time is split between several tables, while the captain and crew members of a boat spend the full 4 solid hours under the hot sun giving you their undivided attention. 

What does a captain do?

Often times we think that a captain simply stands or sits behind the wheel and navigate ahead toward the destination. However, what's uncommon knowledge to many is that the job of a captain goes beyond that. The captain is the team leader. They plan the navigation route in accordance with the day’s weather,  prepare the boat before the arrival of passengers and crew members, the captain makes sure that the boat is sea worthy and safe for everyone getting aboard. The captain plans guests experience along with the crew members, they welcome guests, navigate in different ocean conditions. Unlike a pool or a lake, the ocean isn’t always calm. The ocean may be calm when the trip begins and suddenly get choppy during mid trip. The ideal conditions for boating out at sea are when the ocean is flat, but that isn't always the case and an exceptional captain knows how to maneuver well during sudden weather changes. 

What does the crew do?

The crew members (first mate and/or tour guide) help ensure the safety of the vessel, provide boat maintenance, and assist the captain in safety duties. During a Fishing Charter, they help prepare the rods and all the equipment needed to execute this adventure. During a Boat Charter, they organize all snorkeling equipment, they even take great photos while epic snorkeling moments. Crew members make sure that the trip is educational and fun at the same time. They go out of their way to ensure that your needs and expectations are met.

How much should the captain and crew members get tipped?

Consider tipping between 15% - 25% depending on how well the trip was executed. The captain makes sure to distribute gratuity with the rest of the crew members. 

Cash is always easier, but you may tip via Venmo, ATH Movil, or simply asking a reservations representative to charge X amount to the card on file toward gratuity for the captain and crew members. 

It is important to contemplate that there are factors the captain and crew members simply cannot control, such as water temperature changes, ocean conditions, rain or sudden weather changes that may conspire to not catch as many fish you expected, or spot as many sea turtles you would've wanted to see. The captain and crew members will always work hard for you and it is truly out of their hands when sudden weather changes happen as much as it is out of the server's hands when your meal didn't turn out to be as great as you had anticipated.