Author Topic: Tipping  (Read 9727 times)

masguy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 4
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
Tipping
« on: July 08, 2008, 15:05:06 UTC »
Peg and I usually go on two dive trips a year, and have almost always found a way to express our grattitude to dive staff and support people.  First off, we're not shy about asking about tipping.  And, if tipping is discouraged, making a gift of gear - a small tool set, insect repellant, rechargeable batteries, first-aid kits and other difficult to get items in far-flung places can substitute - I know of no culture that discourages an honest heart-felt gift.

The other thing we do - especially when we go to far-away places is to ask before hand, is there a treat, or other item "from the mainland" such as reading material, digital media, etc. that can make life easier for the staff.  On Wakatobi, some of the Brits there were suffering severe smelly cheese withdrawl and Bill Tewes of Dive St. Vincent can always use some hard candy.  Sometimes an item easily obtained in the retail capital of the world, will have much more value than money in a third world location.  There's nothing wrong with showing your consideration and appreciation beforehand.

Travelnsj

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 33
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Total Dves: 500-1000
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Tipping
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2008, 16:51:11 UTC »
I always do a $5.00 per tank....In Wakatobi they really discouraged tips to the DM's so I gave out a couple of bottles of wine....plus some $$$
I endeavor to pursue....Spend most of my diving time in the Indo-Pacific region. Lembeh Straits, Raja Ampat and Palau are my favorites!

jocko

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 2
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
Re: Tipping
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2008, 17:55:28 UTC »
What are peoples thoughts on tipping for Land based operations versus Liveaboards?
Should it be more for Liveaboards due to the extra attention and personalised service?
Should it be a % based tip, per dive or some other measure?
Should the operators be paying the staff well enough such that tips are not required  ;)

On a recent trip on the Pelagian out of Wakatobi someone was suggesting a tip of 10% of the cost which seemed a little on the high side (~$800 for 2 on 10 day trip), but maybe that's just my Scottish upbringing shining through  :)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 18:00:23 UTC by jocko »

lisslane

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 2
  • Subscriber?: yes
Re: Tipping
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2008, 22:39:54 UTC »
Hadn't really thought about that.  Good point, though airlines baggage costs might curtail much.
I remember used to call ahead to Belize to see if the operator needed anything and would carry it down for him, but now they can most everything


jdives

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 13
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Tipping
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2008, 16:13:10 UTC »
I think Undercurrent serialized view on tips, culminating in their 'final word' in this latest issue, does a great job of suggesting some basic 'rules' to consider.  Also, I had not realized Americans are the world class believers in tipping, in contrast with the EU and most of the rest of the world.  It's clear that there is no 'standard' -- so we'll just fin along, doing what we think best.  For me, it's individual tipping for good service, never the 'pot'. 
Life's Short -- Dive Hard!

eponym

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 11
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Total Dves: 500-1000
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Tipping
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2008, 21:52:37 UTC »
What are people's thoughts on tipping for land-based operations versus liveaboards? Should it be more for liveaboards due to the extra attention and personalised service? Should it be a % based tip, per-dive. or some other measure? Should the operators be paying the staff well enough such that tips are not required? On a recent trip on the Pelagian out of Wakatobi someone was suggesting a tip of 10% of the cost which seemed a little on the high side (~$800 for 2 on 10 day trip), but maybe that's just my Scottish upbringing shining through.

On day boats I try to find a local diver to ask what the local custom is. And I don't always follow their advice, but you might find the following anecdote interesting . . .

The first time I dived the Sydney Heads in Australia (wall dives, cold water) I buddied up with a local bloke, the only "mature" diver other than myself. He incidentally turned out to be an ex-navy diver and a great buddy. When I asked him about the custom on tipping, he replied "That's an American affliction--if I like the operator, I'll use them again."

-Bryan
The sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
Marianne Moore, A Grave

Wayan123

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 17
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Total Dves: over 1000
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Tipping
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 09:36:23 UTC »
yes an American custom but has become expected internationally.  For me If I get good or exceptional service then I tip what I feel comfortable with and do not go with the % rule. for a 10 day LOB somewhere between the 150 -300 mark.  But as I said depends on the service, unfortunately it is becoming expected by a lot of operators and so they pay the staff less.

marob

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 20
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Total Dves: 500-1000
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Tipping
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2008, 12:53:26 UTC »
10%+ of a liveaboard trip is excessive, especially in countries where average pay is considerably less than this amount. Why tip the captain, first mate, engineer etc? Do you tip the pilot & ground staff on your flight?
Where is the comparison with cruise ships who often add gratuity at the start or end of the trip in the region of £5-$10 per person per day - not $30-$50 a day that a top end liveaboard 10% would equate to!
If you are happy with an operator then you're likely to use them again and recommend them to others which should help keep their business going, profits coming in and staff in employment. The operator should be ensuring that you receive good service, after all you have already paid for it.....
Gratuities should never be given if requested on principle. It is at your sole discretion whether to give one or not. Trying to embarrass customers into subsidising staff pay suggests that the operator is not prepared to pay a decent salary to start with. Looking after employees is their responsibility.


DocV

  • Global Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 194
  • Subscriber?: yes
Re: Tipping
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2008, 11:47:06 UTC »
The following is a piece which appeared in edited form in my "Ask RSD" column in Rodale's Scuba Diving magazine:

"How much, when and whom do I tip on a day dive boat?

As with tipping in other situations, dive boat gratuities are a personal matter, although local customs should be respected. For example, tipping is not yet customary in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other countries.

In many locations, including the US, Mexico and greater Caribbean, however, it does seem generally agreed that tipping for good service on a dive boat is appropriate. Keep in mind that some crews derive much, and occasionally nearly all, of their income from gratuities, regardless of whose “fault” this is. Repeat customers of a dive op can well vouch for the value of recognition of crew effort.

For those interested in tipping, guidelines for day dive boats include: (1) Gratuities are just that, something given voluntarily and beyond obligation for a service rendered. They are not mandatory; (2) An appropriate amount is somewhere between 10-15 percent of the cost of the diving expenses, not including gear rental, park or chamber fees, and other incidentals. This amount should be adjusted so as to fit the level of service, with a range of 0 to 15 percent being acceptable, although some generous divers do leave more; (3) In most situations, you need tip only one crew member, often the DM who primarily attended you. The tip will be shared among the crew according to their internal agreements. If a particular crew member rendered a special service which was above and beyond the call of duty, e.g., brought a piece of his personal gear from home for your use, cleaned up after you following an episode of sea sickness, etc., then an individual gratuity could be justified; and (4) If your crew changes every day, tips will probably be most fairly shared if given daily. If your crew is stable and you desire to consider tips at the end of the trip, let the DM know. Of course, human nature being what it is, the immediate rewards of a tip at the end of each diving day may result in the best service.

Finally, if in doubt about tipping, ask around. Local divers can tell you about their customs, and the consensus of your fellow divers will give you a good idea of what is appropriate."

You also may wish to read the very recent and informative Undercurrent series on tipping, Tipping on Dive Trips: Part I (May, '08), Tipping on Dive Trips: Part II (June, '08) and The Last Word on Dive Tipping (July, '08).

Hope this gets you started.

DocVikingo
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 12:31:26 UTC by Eagleray »

smoore

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Underwater photographer?: yes
Re: Tipping
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008, 03:27:03 UTC »
I agree with most everything Doc V said.  However, I thought I would share some of my more inflammatory views on tipping. 

Where tipping is the norm it is my opinion that you cannot afford the trip if you cannot afford to tip when you have received good service.  I am sick and tired of being on dive boats where one or two couples tip and the balance do not even where the service has clearly been superior.  If a DM sets up my gear, rinses it and puts it back in my mesh bag, conducts good dives, tells good stories and demonstrates that he cares about his customers, then in the Carribbean, at least, you should consider a tip mandatory.

I am also amazed at divers who fail to tip the dive crew and then tip a waiter for the lunch following the dives.  I do not object to the waiter being tipped.  However, assuming that you don't choke on your food and need the waiter to perform the Heimlich manoevre on you, it is unlikely that a mistake by your waiter will kill you but a mistake by your DM easily could.

I don't object to be reminded about the tip jar.  I suspect some DMs would starve unless they reminded customers about the tip jar.  Frankly, I don't even mind literature that suggests what an appropriate tip is.  Assuming the recommendations are reasonable, it takes the guess work out of tipping.  When I escorted bus tours in the early 80s tour companies regularly recommended appropriate tips to be paid to escorts and drivers. 

On day boats I usually tip 10% for good service.  With a little luck I also get an opportunity to buy the crew a couple of pints over the course of the dive trip.  I haven't been on a liveaboard for some time so have not considered the appropriate approach to tipping on them in quite a while.       

Steve Moore

ktdiveloco

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 17
  • WooooooooHooooooooo!!!!!!!
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Total Dves: 500-1000
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Tipping
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2008, 17:42:52 UTC »
My  husband and I come from two different backgrounds on this ... one generous over tipper and one with a German upbringing (that says it all, right?).

We have been traveling out of the US for over 20 years and every place is different.  In order to keep us from fighting, we developed a simple plan about 15 years ago.  The first evening we are in a new country, we go out for a nicer dinner and strike up conversations with locals around us.  Eventually we get around to the topic of tipping and what the expectation is locally and what they generally do.  (Nicer place because those locals going out nicer tend to also be your tippers - yeah, I know, huge generalization).

Although this may not help specifically for dive boats, it clarifies wait staff, hotel maids, bell hops, etc.  Quite often, the norm on dry land carries over to the dive shop.  At least it gives one an idea of local expectations.

My most recent tipping antedote:
We were in Australia for a few weeks for business, only diving a week.  The boat was crowded and the dive crew seemed surprised someone was diving more than a day or two.  After a few days, they began loading the two of us in the panga and driving us over to nice pinnacles so we wouldn't have to repeat sites or be with all the day trippers.  When we tried to tip at the end, it was refused (Australians don't tip anywhere).  We were told that our return and recommendation to others was their tip (Tusa Dive at tusadive.com out of Cairns). 
KT

NJDIVER

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 15
  • Subscriber?: yes
  • Total Dves: 0-100
  • Underwater photographer?: no
Re: Tipping
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2008, 21:22:55 UTC »
I believe in just what travelnsj said, $5 a tank.  The question is where and with whom dies it stop with.  If you tip the DM $5 how about the crew?  What if the crew is not worthy of a tip but the DM is?  And vice versa?  Here's another big question...How about our LDS's?  Do we ever think of tipping the people that are teaching us to go beyond in our diving careers?  I'm just a guilty of this until it was brought to my attention during an unrelated discussion but will make sure that all future courses and or leadership assistance will not go unnoticed.   

 

Get the diving news serious divers need!

Sign up for our FREE monthly email
with real diving news you won't find elsewhere!

Make your next dive trip the best one ever!

Get the diving info you need with monthly issues online, the 800 page The Travelin' Diver's Chapbook, 24/7 access to 1000's of honest diving reports and much, much more.

Special Offers for Our Readers
Get discounted dive trips/ equipment/ ... from dive businesses the world over.