Why tip the yacht crew?
Short answer: because they work really hard and deserve it. But perhaps you want a bit more of an informed discussion… Read on to find out why you should be tipping your crew, how much you should give, and when it is appropriate to hand it over.
First, let’s consider the skipper…
Joe works 165 hours straight, with a three-hour break between each shift, for around 25 weeks a year. Joe is a skipper on a yacht. As a skipper, Joe has to be alert and responsible during the whole duration of your sailing holiday. It is relentless. He starts at the marina at mid-day on a Saturday and finishes the following Saturday at 9 am.
Six jobs in one
Joe carries out six highly skilled jobs and earns what equates to less than €6/hour. Now that is value for money. No matter what you do, Joe will strive to make your holiday the best you have ever experienced. Surely giving him a tip for all his efforts is a no brainer? After all, I bet you generally leave a 10% tip after a meal, and that only takes a few hours. Let’s look at the jobs he does:
As well as being responsible for the yacht, Joe is also responsible for your safety while on board and that of any crew. To keep you safe, he is trained in first aid and life-saving. Furthermore, Joe holds licenses and insurance to make sure there are no mishaps and that he is covered for any unforeseen circumstances out of his control.
On tap translator
In order to competently do his job, Joe is an international translator. His multilingual skills ensure that he can communicate with you effectively. Not only that, but with the people you come across during your vacation: dockhands, harbor masters, restaurateurs, and tour operators.
Terrific tour guide
Joe is an expert in his waters, he masterfully guides you around, getting you to the right place at the best time to beat the crowds. He is the ultimate tour guide.
He knows how to get the most out of each vessel he skippers, using knowledge of the local winds winding through the islands to capture every last breath of wind. You can be sure he will sail each yacht to their full potential to minimize your fuel bill. After all, sailing is what it is all about.
Joe is also the mechanic and maintenance man. He needs to wash the yacht every day to keep it in top shape and protect it from the relentless barrage of salty seawater. Lines must be kept tidy, gangways clear and equipment stowed away. Tanks must be topped up, both with fuel and water.
Joe understands that some guests on board are keen to get involved. He patiently teaches guests knots and oversees them carrying out activities so they can leave the boat happy that they have gained new skills.
What about the other crew members?
As a hostess, Jane also works hard. Over the weeks before you sail, she has spent time creating a bespoke menu that suits your personal preferences and dietary requirements. On departure day, Jane has been to the supermarket and bought all the necessary food, drink and household items you will need on the trip. She has stowed these away and made sure that the yacht is ship shape and ready to go when you are.
Each day, she is up at 6 am to get breakfast ready for when you arise. Then she clears away, washes dishes, and tidies the galley. She makes sure the toilets and communal areas are kept clean.
After this, her thoughts turn to snacks, drinks, and lunch; prepping these so that you can enjoy them when you stop for a swim.
Cooking and preparing food in a hot galley whilst under sail is no mean feat. The refrigeration capabilities on board most yachts are limited and galleys tend to be stocked with only limited basic utensils. So producing high-quality meals is challenging to say the least.
Between serving lunch, drinks, and snacks and keeping house, Jane also helps to make reservations for evening meals on shore. She is also on hand to help out the skipper as deckhand where needed.
Once moored up for the evening, Jane will visit the local shops to top up on supplies so you are ready to go again the next day.
Remaining friendly and attentive; making sure that everyone has what they need day in and day out; always there to chat and answer questions… Jane definitely has her hands full. The effort that Jane puts into your holiday makes all the difference between a good old sailing trip and an unforgettably amazing holiday experience.
Producing gourmet meals on a yacht requires Michael to be in the galley from 6 am until 4 pm each day (10 pm if you take full board).
Catering for 10+ people plus their guests and any associated special requests is hard enough for any personal private chef. Doing this on board a catamaran puts Michael on another level.
Both the physical demands and interaction with guests make the roles of chef and hostess exhausting. If you are happy to tip restaurant staff, why would you not consider tipping your crew? Award the same respect to Jane and Michael!
Service with a smile
The crew on board your yacht is dedicated to serving you and you alone. They do their job because they love it, in what on the surface looks like idyllic circumstances. However, if you care to scratch the surface and actually consider the jobs they do, it is not an easy life they choose. While you may get luxury air-conditioned cabins, take a minute to think of your crew. The crew cabin, generally accessed through a window hatch, is not blessed with aircon. It is a tight fit, akin to sleeping in a sardine can, and yet every morning they are back up and at it with a smile on their faces.
So hopefully having read this, you are on board with the idea that the crew works really hard, and that they thoroughly deserve to receive your tip. Next, we will consider how much you should give when tipping your crew.
How much should you tip your crew?
It is good etiquette to tip the crew 5-15% of the booking price. This amount is endorsed by the Mediterranean Yachting Brokers Association (MYBA).
This means that if service was good, tip 5% and if it was truly exceptional then tip closer to 15% Relatively, this is actually not that much…
Let us take an example:
You enjoy a week-long sailing holiday on a catamaran with Joe and Jane looking after you. The holiday costs €10,000.
A tip of 10% would be €1,000. This is €500 each or around €70 per day. Given that they have been at your beck and call 24/7, this works out at €3/hour.
Now compare that with the last restaurant you went to. Maybe the bill was €500 and you gave €50 ‘service charge’. The meal lasted a couple of hours. If your tip is split between the waitress, front-of-house, and chef, that is equivalent to €5.50/hour. Moreover, these people are servicing more than one table at a time and therefore able to accumulate multiple tips. You are not the sole focus of their attention in contrast to the crew of your yacht charter.
When should you hand over the gratuity?
The tip should be given to your skipper at the end of the sailing holiday. They will ensure that it is shared out fairly with the rest of the crew. The tip should be in cash, either in euros or Croatian Kuna, to make it easy to distribute.
Is there anything else to consider?
As well as a tip, your crew loves to have feedback. Let them know if they did a great job. Don’t keep it a secret, shout about it on social media and leave reviews so more people know who to turn to for a fantastic experience! You can find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, and Google.
Joe, Jane, and Michael are made up names to provide an example, but we have some really good guys working at The Yacht Break, just waiting to make your holiday exceptional!
Other articles concerning budgets and costs include: Ap-eh? Explaining APA and Preliminary Provisioning. You can also read more in our FAQ section, for example Besides the charter fee, are there other costs I should budget for?
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