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Old 24-03-2006, 18:03   #1
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Tipping dock master/hands??

We pulled into a marina yesterday and noticed a sign that said "gratuity appreciated" and was signed by the dock master. Is it customary to tip and if so, how much? Have we been commiting a faux pas at the past marinas we have visited?

Roger
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Old 24-03-2006, 18:18   #2
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It's optional. Generally, if you ride the launch or are assisted at the dock - couple of bucks. If you stop for fuel, ice...spend money, maybe not or a couple of bucks. If you are there for lunch - 5 bucks. At my home marina, all dock hands get $20 at end of season, and top dogs that helped me out get $40.- It comes back to you in favors and service.

Larry
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Old 24-03-2006, 18:50   #3
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I agree with Larry.

We "tip"ically (ha ha - bad... I know) give a few bucks to everyone who comes in contact with our boat. It is customary, and a lot of the guys you see out there driving launches, pump-outs, and helping people with dock lines are just collge kids who are trying to earn some money for next semester's books.
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Old 24-03-2006, 23:09   #4
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Does that mean you can bill them for lack of service? I know, fat chance. It took, quite literaly, an act of government to get our dock replaced when it sunk.
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Old 24-03-2006, 23:23   #5
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When did that happen Kai?
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Old 24-03-2006, 23:36   #6
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About 2000. The dock was still floating, but with 2 people standing on it your feet would get wet. Fortunately, the dock line would hold it up
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Old 24-03-2006, 23:38   #7
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That's terrible!!

Can you say "lawsuit"?
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Old 25-03-2006, 00:31   #8
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Huh?!? Is tipping dock hands a "Back East" thing? I've never heard of it. Well, I've never seen a dock hand to tip either for that matter.

-jim lee
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Old 25-03-2006, 03:02   #9
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Not something you would do in UK.

line handling is done by yourself, or any body happening to be on the pontoon at the time.

There might be a guy in a boat telling you where to go but mostly this is done via vhf if so, the guy in the boat is tehre to tell you when you are doing something wrong!

The money they charge for a nights mooring is enough to bankrupt you anyway so they have fat chance of additional cash.
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Old 25-03-2006, 04:40   #10
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Must be a

Boston and New York "thing". I have never heard of tipping dock hands but launch drivers is common.
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Old 25-03-2006, 09:43   #11
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Generally, hourly people get a tip if they render good service. The dock master is a professional person and does not warrant a tip. You don't tip professionals. You don't tip the marina owner either, but you might buy them a drink later on. You don't tip the folks in the slip next to you that help you out but you might buy them a drink just because you can be as nice as the next guy.

No tip is too small and it is about the quality of service rendered. Coming into a slip in a blow takes some help from someone that knows how to help and that is worth a lot. On a calm day when you do all the work you may not feel the tip is required. Fuel docks seem to be going to self service with the credit card slots just like with your car. Pump outs seem more self service every year.

I think it is fair to say you should know when you have received good service and when you have not. For people you see all the time I don't think a tip at the end of the year is good enough. A small tip on each occurance yields you even better service over the year even if in the end it's the same amount.
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Old 25-03-2006, 11:35   #12
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We tip if the person goes above and beyond especially doing a pump out. Yuk...

OTOH if they just hand me the hoses and I do all the work - no tip.
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Old 25-03-2006, 15:53   #13
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I can speak to this one from first hand experience, since I worked as a dock hand at a busy Florida municipal marina for a while. When a sportfish boat or large yacht came down the channel, all the dockhands raced down to meet them, knowing we would probably get a tip. After a short while we all learned that the sailboats want to dump their trash, fill their water tanks, and buy $20 worth of diesel. And almost never tip.
I lived on a sailboat at the time and for quite a while cruising, so I'm not being disdainful, that's just the way it was. Sailboaters are a more thrifty crowd, and when you're working for minimum wage your tips are a big part of your takehome pay. Once someone tipped us though, we remembered it and would always rush back to help them the next time. Especially if it's your local marina, a small tip will probably be worth it to you in the long run. And for pumping out your holding tank, that's worth a couple bucks.
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Old 25-03-2006, 18:28   #14
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Great screen name, FishSpearit!

I think we tip all the launch drivers, pump out attendants and dock hands because I realize exactly what you're saying.

Some of my best friends in college worked as launch drivers (got me a free spot for my boat during those years too!)

But what I learned is just how much (or little) they make and how much tips are the lure of the job. Since I know so much about the jobs, I guess I naturally tip. Plus, they are usually so young. I feel that I've been blessed to have made it to where I am - not having to eat Ramen noodles anymore - so I feel an obligation to help the young kids out. I was once in their shoes.

Plus, as you said... the karma of tipping certainly comes back to you. They are always there to help in a pinch and find you some odd tool or thing you need if you have treated them well. Costs less in the long run.

On the other hand.. I definitely don't tip harbormasters, marina owners, etc... they are already making money beyond what the kids are.
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Old 25-03-2006, 18:30   #15
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Update

I posted the question soon after we arrived here (Cabbage Key, Fl). Since that time I have watched Jeff (the dock master, dock boy, reservationist, jack of all trades). He works his %*!@ off all day long and receives tips from at least half of the visitors here. Boats arrive all day long to eat lunch & dinner here. He probably handled 40 or more boats today in a very tight marina. The island is only accessable by water. He has a tough job. Yes, we tipped him.

Thanks for all of your input. It was helpful.

Roger
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