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Old 08-02-2016, 13:09   #31
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by wiekeith View Post
I think you'll find that Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but not part of Britain - just to be even more pedantic
Still means we get to have Graeme McDowell and Rory Macilroy
and Shane Lowry for the Ryder Cup Golf and bragging rights when they win Majors
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Old 08-02-2016, 13:13   #32
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

Tipping is a local custom, so advice from another region/place/organization isn't really all that useful.

I'd follow the recommendation on the website, and I'd also consider that when comparing that school with others. You can always choose to go elsewhere.

If you want to go to that school, I'd follow that school's protocol.

I believe the saying is, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
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Old 08-02-2016, 13:18   #33
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

Scarlett, my friend and I completed the ASA 104 and 114 in the BVI's in Oct. of last year...our instructor did a fantastic job and we learned a ton. That being said we each gave him $200, not that I felt obligated, just a little good will goes a long way, sort of the pay it forward philosophy. I don't imagine he would have been offended if we had not tipped.
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Old 08-02-2016, 13:24   #34
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Still means we get to have Graeme McDowell and Rory Macilroy
and Shane Lowry for the Ryder Cup Golf and bragging rights when they win Majors
And some brill rugby players in the Lions


Ops, sorry Op, nothing to do with your post, I'll shut up now...
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Old 08-02-2016, 14:13   #35
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by WindwardPrinces View Post
Tipping is a local custom, so advice from another region/place/organization isn't really all that useful.

I'd follow the recommendation on the website, and I'd also consider that when comparing that school with others. You can always choose to go elsewhere.

If you want to go to that school, I'd follow that school's protocol.

I believe the saying is, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
I think shooting the instructor is a bit extreme. I'll get my coat...
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Old 08-02-2016, 15:00   #36
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

I recently finished three ASA courses (live-aboard) at a well known sailing school. The instructor did an amazing job but talked off and on about bad tippers all week. The other students and I decided to tip $200 each and I found out later that the last person to leave was harshly reprimanded for how poorly we all tipped. It really put a damper on the experience for him.
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Old 08-02-2016, 17:18   #37
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by WindwardPrinces View Post
Tipping is a local custom, so advice from another region/place/organization isn't really all that useful.

I'd follow the recommendation on the website, and I'd also consider that when comparing that school with others. You can always choose to go elsewhere.

If you want to go to that school, I'd follow that school's protocol.

I believe the saying is, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
This is truly the best advice. It's unfair to judge practices in another region or country based on little experience in those regions or countries, although it is a pretty pervasive thing to do....we are all experts, aren't we?

When I taught in the US, I never expected nor received anything very much in tips, despite being a sought after instructor. On the other hand, while skippering day charters, a much easier job, I got very good tips. Same salary, by the way. But, both the charters and the instruction was mostly on a "daysail" basis, with the skipper returning home at the end of the day.

When I moved to the BVI, the model was different. Most charters, by their nature, are liveaboard, with the crew "on duty" 24/7. However, their pay is no more than in the US, and the cost of living is much greater. Tips are a large part of a crew's income and everything is scaled that way. This is most pronounced in "fully crewed" charters, but if there is instruction involved, it's the same. Tips are 10 - 20 %, usually in the 15 - 20 % range. And, it's not unusual to get more for great service. Guests from certain countries, who are not accustomed to tipping in that range, and who refuse to do so on principle, are not well thought of, simply because it really is part of the pay scale and they are refusing to do "in Rome as the Roman's do" which isn't fair, no matter how many times one criticizes the custom or the business model. Canadians and European guests, including Brits, are not used to tipping and generally tip at a very low level, despite having been briefed by the companies or the brokers. Even Canadian and European crews are generally not very enthusiastic about having these guests because they will be working hard, around the clock, for what they know may average out to less than $100 per day.

A captain on a bareboat will set you back about $150 - $200 per day, and he or she is only working for the actual days of the charter. A captain only charter, where the captain is permanently on the boat, is a bit different as he or she gets a small salary, rather than a daily rate. It's like the fully crewed charters and the captain is also dependent upon the tip to get by. And he or she is probably not getting paid anything more to do instruction.

By the way, the charter industry is very competitive in the BVI and the companies are NOT making huge profits. It costs a lot to keep a charter boat or charter company going!

So, in the end, the recommended tip, and this is recommended by all the major charter companies and charter brokers, is generally 10% to 20%, more likely 15% to 20%. It is really part of the deal, and not a scam. Of course, if the performance of the crew isn't up to par, no one would question a smaller tip, or even no tip at all. But, to decide before hand that you are not going to tip is to grant yourself a large discount that is coming directly out of the crew's pocket.

Having never been in the situation of being a freelance skipper who is assigned to a boat to do instruction, I can't knowledgeably comment on what the appropriate tip is, but if the instructor is good, I see no reason he or she should, or would, be making less than if he or she were simply conducting a charter which he or she could obviously be doing.

By the way, on my instructional charters, I generally average in that 15% - 20% of the cost of the charter range....and if I didn't, I would be out of business. Same thing if I upped my rate and expected smaller tips or no tips. My boat would seem overpriced and I would lose out, because I would be going against the local practice. So we all price our charters or instruction based on the idea of a substantial tip and we wouldn't make it, otherwise.
And, nice as it is to receive a gift or be taken out to dinner, it's not the same as cash, any more than it would be for you to receive a dinner instead of salary at your job!

So be careful when you go outside your own area. Ask how thing are priced and then follow that. It's not fair to impose your home-grown customs on a different area. That's reality, folks. And, none of this is meant to apply to anywhere else than the BVI, following my rule in the first paragraph. If you go to the Bahamas, for example, ask what is normal there, and follow it.
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Old 08-02-2016, 17:56   #38
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

Good post contrail. A little amusing that the BVIs are actually the British Virgin Islands and somehow the income for the crew is derived from a USA culture. Obviously being close to the US and having a lot of US owned charter companies and employees has led to this, but before that invasion the BVIs pay structure was derived from the British, so 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do' might not be appropriate for that particular area, unless of course you are Americans working abroad and servicing Americans on holidays
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Old 08-02-2016, 19:07   #39
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Good post contrail. A little amusing that the BVIs are actually the British Virgin Islands and somehow the income for the crew is derived from a USA culture. Obviously being close to the US and having a lot of US owned charter companies and employees has led to this, but before that invasion the BVIs pay structure was derived from the British, so 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do' might not be appropriate for that particular area, unless of course you are Americans working abroad and servicing Americans on holidays
Well, visitors to the BVI are 85% from the US, and the currency is the dollar. Many BVIslanders have lived for a considerable time in the USVI or the US. I happen to be half US and half British (one parent of each and a lot of time spent in each country) so I fit, either way! But the BVI lives far more under the US influence than the British. It is no help, for example, to be from the UK, when it comes to work permits or residency. Official population is about 28,000, including about 13,000 BVIslanders and 15,000 expats of various origins. The majority are West Indian, but among the "western" expats, I am guessing that the largest group is from the UK, with Canadians, South Africans and US citizens not too far behind. The Moorings and Sunsail are owned by Germany's TUI. Voyage is South African owned. Horizon and TMM are owned by Brits or Canadian, I think. BVI Yacht Charters is owned by a Dutchman. So there are plenty of non-US owned or managed charter companies. Interestingly, not too many years ago the BVI had a higher per capita income and higher cost of living than the UK!

Where I think the pay culture arose (just my guess) is that the vast majority of crewed charter yachts, whether independently owned and operated (the cream of the crop), or managed by the Moorings and others, are US owned. The crews come from everywhere, probably UK, then US, then South African, if one were to go by numbers. I am guessing that the US guests started the tipping habit and the US owners, accustomed to tipping for service industries, fell into line, probably a long while ago. Anyway, tipping is a huge part of a crew's income here, and has been for quite a long while.

But, as you say, somewhat amusing and very unique. Lots of visitors are stunned to find that the dollar is the official currency, not the pound, and that we drive cars with the steering wheel on the left side. Of course, we drive on the left, as well, which takes a little getting used to. It's the same in the USVI.
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Old 08-02-2016, 19:14   #40
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

Since it's a catamaran, the boat will do all the tipping for you.
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Old 08-02-2016, 21:16   #41
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

My thought on this is that tipping for an educational class is unusual enough that the sailing school should make this clear upfront, before you sign up for a $5000 class.

Getting back to the student after the class has been booked, saying oh btw.... we expect you to tip 20% (which happened to me as well), is deceptive.

None of this is the instructors fault of course. And it may make sense to tip a liveaboard instructor. Although 15-20% seems high given you can expect a much higher level of service on an actual crewed charter vs. a liveaboard sailing class, at a similar price point.

Btw, make sure you know what you are getting into when booking one of these caribbean sailing classes. I had a satisfying experience, but also had some very specific objectives I wanted to achieve, and came to the class with significant prior experience. Under different circumstances I can see how the whole thing could have been a big waste of time and money.
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Old 08-02-2016, 21:25   #42
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

I guess my biggest issue is that it wasn't "up front". Had I not gone out to the FAQ page I would have never known. It was buried amongst a couple dozen questions. .. and i just happened to be bored one day and read through them. It was not part of the quote when booking, so we did not plan on an extra $1000.

We would have gone elsewhere had we known up front that the "fee for the instructor" was NOT included in the price. And really. ..that's what we are talking about here. .. right?
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Old 08-02-2016, 21:59   #43
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

I don't like the idea of tipping. No one tipped me when I extiquished their house fire, wouldn't and couldn't accept if they did. However, I do tip if it is the custom but usually at a the minimum, unless, of course, I am impressed with the service.

But a company that suggests paying 15 or 20% more after you have signed up and paid your deposit like Scarlet would just hack me off. And I would not tip at all and tell them why. Let this disingenuous charter company deal with increased employee turn over. Maybe the employees need to unionize to get a living wage.

Similarly, the earlier post about the charter captain grousing about poor tipping customers all week. That would be a real pain to have to listen to on my very expensive once a year, if not lifetime, vacation charter. I would also stiff him and tell him what a bummer it was for my family to listen to his feeble insinuations. If he wanted a tip then he should work his but off. I tip a little for good service and tip pretty good if it is exceptional, and certainly not because I am badgered. sheesh!
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Old 08-02-2016, 22:04   #44
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

This just seems strange. What is the tip for. You paid 5000 for a class to get a certificate. What is the teacher doing above that. Is he serving you, doing your laundry, insuring you are having fun on your vacation. No he is teaching you which is what you paid for. I would not tip.
If you're a instructor and not getting a good piece of that money than you should go find a better company.

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Old 08-02-2016, 22:50   #45
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

I have taught skiing and invariably got between 15-30 percent tip of the day's instruction fee. For return clients when I provided extras like hotel pick up, arranging rentals and driving them around after skiing it was not uncommon to be given 100-150% of the instruction fee at the end of the week. But I would provide first class service for a whole week!
Several times on deliveries where an owner has purchased a new, to him, boat, I would be asked if the new owner could to tag along on the delivery to 'familiarize' himself with his new purchase. Many times this would turn into a full blown instruction cruise and when it did, I had a preprinted contract that the new owner would sign based on an hourly rate for teaching. I would let him know when we were going to undertake a particular activity and let him sit in on the pre-review meeting, be given a task to perform then sit in on the after review where the crew discussed everything from the clarity of the explaination, orders given, executution of tasks and what went right/wrong, areas of improvement, etc.
this type of in depth training was invaluable for inexperienced folks because not only did they see how the tasked could be performed and how they might be improved but we would get into the skippiers(me) rational to order the evolution and why and when. Clients found this experience well worth their effort in picking up these execution hints. Timing on sail changes were particularly of interest to new owners.. Phil
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