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Tipping – WHY should I?

Have you ever been on a dive boat and wondered how much should I tip the crew and why should I? If you have you’re not alone. Tipping on a boat is really no different then tipping at a restaurant and it seems that some divers haven’t figured this out yet. I speak from experience. I have been the diver not leaving a fair tip and I have been on the receiving end as a Divemaster and crew person working for tips on a dive boat. Of course, there are some added benefits working on a boat if you get the chance to use them just like a restaurant employee.
So how much is a good tip? Generally about 15% with it varying from 10%-20%. It all depends on how you feel you were treated. Did the captain /crew try their best to get you to somewhere good to dive or did they just drop anchor and say this is it? Where they nice or very friendly? Where they helpful with gear, swim step, answering questions, etc.? Did the crew act professional? Did they have safety in mind? Did they give briefings and how detailed were they and did they know the dive spots? Was the food good and plentiful? Most importantly, did they make you want to go back? You could probably think of more but I think you understand what I am trying to say.
Some of these would be the same type of things you would think of at a restaurant like, food, quality, amount, presentation, helpful and friendly workers, etc. I know quite a few people that will double the tax (myself included) as a starting point for a tip because this is usually about 15%. The problem here is when you go out to eat and your bill is $15.00 (like at the club meeting), A tip of 15% is $2.25 for a grand total of $17.25 and most would put in a bit more. Now you go on a dive boat and the cost is $115.00 and a 15% tip is $17.25 for a grand total of $132.25. So, will you leave more or less for the tip? I can tell you from experience the crew will be lucky to get $10.00 per person which is only a 8.7% tip. Now maybe they deserved what you gave as a tip but if you went away thinking you had a fantastic time and would really like to go back, do you think a $10.00 tip was fair? I would think not, but then that’s me.
Am I pouring on the guilt good enough? Maybe not, so here’s another angle to think about next time you are out. When I worked on the Sunfish we were paid good, more then most Divemaster’s and crew on other boats. Our day started about ½ before boarding the time of 6:00am and it was usually earlier for me. On the average we would be back about 4:00pm and then clean the boat and be done about 5:30pm. Yes that is a long day, only about 12 hours and without tips the Divemaster made $10.42 per hour and the deckhand made $6.25 per hour.
By now I think you understand how important tips can be in the service industry especially if you went home and had such a good time you wanted to go back. Next time your out diving, look around, check things out and see how hard everyone is working to make your day great and think to yourself-should I leave a good tip and please, if you don’t think they deserve a good tip don’t be shy to let the Captain and crew know why. You can’t fix what you don’t know.

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