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Old 09-02-2016, 06:18   #46
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by Capt Phil View Post
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!
...
Similar on the charter captain side of the biz, not so much sailing instructor. As a charter captain, Ive often gotten a tip equal to or greater than what I was getting paid.
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:59   #47
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Similar on the charter captain side of the biz, not so much sailing instructor. As a charter captain, Ive often gotten a tip equal to or greater than what I was getting paid.
Same here. And I agree that any suggestion regarding the tip should be made before the client signs up....and that is the way many schools and brokers do it, thankfully.

I do take issue with the idea that a charter captain is more deserving than a sailing instructor, and I do both. Of course, I only know how I conduct a class, but I can assure you that it is very full on, very attentive, and the level of service very high and I get tipped accordingly. To do it well and to do it thoroughly, it's not an easy job, and it involves the future safely of people and vessels. It also requires various qualifications in order to certify students, above and beyond whatever captain's license may also be required, and the actual ability to teach listen, observe, and communicate, which not everyone has!

Just this past week, I had a group of four students, one of whom had done a fair amount of sailing before, on charters with his parents when he was a kid. The other three (two couples altogether) had never sailed but always wanted to. By the end of our week, they were competently and safely sailing and handling a 45 foot cat, including SAFELY anchoring and mooring under sail, and sailing off a mooring, as well. We probably spent about 6-10 hours on theory and systems so that they could bareboat on their own as well as sail and trim sails competently. They thoroughly understood what they were doing and their enthusiasm was such that all four described it as a life-changing event leading them to consider cruising in the future. They also got to snorkel five times, visit one of the more enjoyable night spots in the BVI, and see a few of the islands. We all worked very long and hard hours to achieve these results. Was that less work or less important work than simply driving the boat from here to there and doing the other jobs of a charter skipper? No way.
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:47   #48
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

Wouldn't it be much simpler and above all much mor honest for companies to include the so called 'tip' in their price? The way I see it is that apparently in the us some companies advertise 80 to 85% of their asking price instead of 100%. Looks a bit of a scam. Glad I will never be visiting that country.
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:57   #49
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

My problem with the whole tip thing is the amount. To say that 15-20% is customary on a $30 check at a restaurant is one thing. To say that you should tip 15-20% of a $2500 bill is another all together. $5-$6 is reasonable, but $500 I think is a little over the top.

BWSS claims classes available every week of the year (it is not true - I tried to get into a specific week and was told since I was the only one who called about that week, there was no class available), and if there were 4 students tipping in every class, that would be $200,000 per year in TIPS to an instructor who worked full time for them. Even working for them quarter time, its still EXPECTED that there is $50k in tips going to the instructor.

That is just an unreasonable expectation for a company to make. If they sell their instructors on those salaries, it would sound like a multi-level marketing pitch!
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:22   #50
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

Still confused, the instructions that have commented, would you not have done the same teaching tip or not. That's what you were paid for up front. Are you doing anything above and beyond what you would do to insure they are competent.
A charter is a vacation and if you have a crew waiting on you hand and foot I can see tipping then on the service. I didn't tip My professors in college. If you are delivering a boat and the owner comes yes charge lots more but it's up front.

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Old 09-02-2016, 08:25   #51
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by Timethief View Post
My problem with the whole tip thing is the amount. To say that 15-20% is customary on a $30 check at a restaurant is one thing. To say that you should tip 15-20% of a $2500 bill is another all together. $5-$6 is reasonable, but $500 I think is a little over the top.

BWSS claims classes available every week of the year (it is not true - I tried to get into a specific week and was told since I was the only one who called about that week, there was no class available), and if there were 4 students tipping in every class, that would be $200,000 per year in TIPS to an instructor who worked full time for them. Even working for them quarter time, its still EXPECTED that there is $50k in tips going to the instructor.

That is just an unreasonable expectation for a company to make. If they sell their instructors on those salaries, it would sound like a multi-level marketing pitch!
s

lThe total tip would be divided between the guests. And remember, being a captain or instructor is not an eight hour day, and a course is not a five day week. Add up the hours and decide how much YOU could actually do!

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:45   #52
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by contrail View Post
s

lThe total tip would be divided between the guests. And remember, being a captain or instructor is not an eight hour day, and a course is not a five day week. Add up the hours and decide how much YOU could actually do!

Cheers,
Tim
The problem is that it is not about what I can do - I presume that anyone who is qualified to do the job and says they want to do the job can do it. And I presume that at the end of the class, with a bit of experience, that indeed I CAN do it if I so choose. That is the point of the class.

The question brought up in this thread is about what would I pay this man or woman in addition to the declared price I paid (happily) to get taught those skills because I APPRECIATE the instructor and his performance (which is exactly what a gratuity is).

And yes, the gratuity is split amongst the students. If we presume 4 students paying $2500 each for the class, we get a bill of $10,000 to which we apply a 15-20% tip, hence my $2000 tip (at $500 each student) total. I just think, personally, that $2000 per week CASH in addition to whatever pay I agreed to so the job is a pretty damn good pile of money if my employer can convince people to give me. In the end, I think it is unreasonable for a company - or the instructor - to expect that a client to shell out on their say so.

Merely one man's opinion.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:47   #53
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by Vipe6 View Post
Glad I will never be visiting that country.
Vipe 6,

Sorry to hear that. Not every business in the USA expects a tips to pad their bottom line. Never is a long time. You will be missing some pretty good cruising grounds but more so, some wonderful places: the largest canyon in the world, (Grand), the oldest and largest trees in the world, White Pine, Redwoods, Sequoia, the richest temperate rain forest, Olympic, plus Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denali, etc, etc.....national parks and many other treasures. These are magic places.

Eric
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:49   #54
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by scuba0_1 View Post
Still confused, the instructions that have commented, would you not have done the same teaching tip or not. That's what you were paid for up front. Are you doing anything above and beyond what you would do to insure they are competent.
A charter is a vacation and if you have a crew waiting on you hand and foot I can see tipping then on the service. I didn't tip My professors in college. If you are delivering a boat and the owner comes yes charge lots more but it's up front.

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No. In the BVI, at least, and I suppose other places, as well, your expectation is to be tipped, and the value of your work includes that. A decent teacher is doing much more than the bare minimum you suppose, and is just as responsible for safety, round the clock as a regular crew. More so, in fact, since the students are doing most of the sailing instead of a professional crew. Your professor in college hardly deals with you personally, and sees you for an hour and then is gone. And he makes a ton for that hour!

An instructor does not teach every week of the year, by any means. But he or she needs to make a certain annual income to be available for the week YOU are coming. Remember, if the job was that lucrative or easy, lots more people would be doing it, including some of the commentators on this board!

Would you take responsibility for a boat worth maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars, and four to six people, and teach as well, for maybe $20 an hour? Would you want someone worth no more than that in charge of teaching you? And $20 an hour would be based on ten hours of work, not round the clock. Someone once said of charter crew, and it applies to instructors, as well, "if it were any harder, no one would do it, and if it were any easier, everyone would."

Remember, an instructor back in the US may be teaching in order to build up his or her resume or time, or for the privileges of using the school's boats. That's different in the BVI, and the conditions are generally much more challenging. A good captain/instructor is worth every penny of what we are talking about.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:52   #55
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by contrail View Post
s

lThe total tip would be divided between the guests. And remember, being a captain or instructor is not an eight hour day, and a course is not a five day week. Add up the hours and decide how much YOU could actually do!

Cheers,
Tim
the differences in the numbers floating around combined with the high base price are enough to make this all smell fishy and that is a problem of the "industry", not the customer.
if you are selling a service and hide a high percentage of the price in the small print, don't expect gratefull customers.
bad karma.
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Old 09-02-2016, 09:36   #56
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by ejlindahl View Post
Vipe 6,

Sorry to hear that. Not every business in the USA expects a tips to pad their bottom line. Never is a long time. You will be missing some pretty good cruising grounds but more so, some wonderful places: the largest canyon in the world, (Grand), the oldest and largest trees in the world, White Pine, Redwoods, Sequoia, the richest temperate rain forest, Olympic, plus Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denali, etc, etc.....national parks and many other treasures. These are magic places.

Eric
Well maybe if you guys elect bernie I'll reconsider Otherwise I guess I won't be allowed in.
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:19   #57
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by Timethief View Post
The problem is that it is not about what I can do - I presume that anyone who is qualified to do the job and says they want to do the job can do it. And I presume that at the end of the class, with a bit of experience, that indeed I CAN do it if I so choose. That is the point of the class.

The question brought up in this thread is about what would I pay this man or woman in addition to the declared price I paid (happily) to get taught those skills because I APPRECIATE the instructor and his performance (which is exactly what a gratuity is).

And yes, the gratuity is split amongst the students. If we presume 4 students paying $2500 each for the class, we get a bill of $10,000 to which we apply a 15-20% tip, hence my $2000 tip (at $500 each student) total. I just think, personally, that $2000 per week CASH in addition to whatever pay I agreed to so the job is a pretty damn good pile of money if my employer can convince people to give me. In the end, I think it is unreasonable for a company - or the instructor - to expect that a client to shell out on their say so.

Merely one man's opinion.
OK! Let's start at the beginning....the OP asked for opinions on appropriate tips. I responded by noting that customs are different in different parts of the world, and that, specifically, here in the BVI it is customary to tip 10% -20%. That was a factual answer to a question. I noted that I was not applying this to anywhere else, and that lots of those who comment ascribe their own customs elsewhere, which is wrong and unfair.

There was a question that implied that the crew on a crewed charter (which I have been, for many years) deserves more and works harder than an instructor (which I have also been, for many years). I disagreed with that assumption, based on those many years and the way I have done my job.

Next was the assertion that the tip, if it is that important, should be very clearly spelled out prior to booking, and with this I heartily agree. I am also among the minority in this industry who think we should just include a charge with the charter or instructional fee, at the time of booking, and dispense with the tip, but the majority of the industry, for whatever reason that I, myself, do not understand, disagrees with this. Again, I come from the experience of working where the tip is automatically (and openly) included and everyone knows that before they book, and also from the experience of receiving a varying tip directly from the guest. I should point out that when and where I teach, the tip has been very clearly spelled out back at the time of booking. There are no surprises, and I usually get at the top end of the scale and often more, from very grateful students or charter guests. I NEVER talk about tips to guests or students, nor do I harass them if the tip happens to be small.....that's just self defeating and unacceptable.

Now we have the comment that the instructor is making too much, and that conclusion has been arrived at by assuming that the instructor is working almost every week of the year, 24/7, which is far from the case, thank goodness. No one could survive that. But, when we are working, we are "on" round the clock, without relief, and we are actively working for perhaps 12 hours of that, and our weeks include seven days of work. So, what with seasonal demand in addition to these facts, we work for far fewer than 50 weeks, but we put in lots of hours.

And when I suggested that if anyone who thought we were so vastly overpaid did not understand the situation, the reply was a suggestion that anyone who wants to do the job should be able to, at the end of the course, with a "little experience". We are not talking about some kid who conducts the junior classes at a yacht club, here. We are talking about highly experienced sailors who have numerous qualifications. Let's see....the lowest level of USCG license that you would need to teach in the BVI is a Master's license (NOT a six pac, although you have to have also gotten that license, correctly termed an OUPV). A near coastal Master's license requires 720 days underway before you can even take the various tests. "A little experience"?? How many folks on this board do you think even approach that? So, let's say you sail two days a week, 50 weeks a year....just fulfilling your sea time requirement will take you seven years. Neither quick, nor cheap. Next, you have to take some very difficult tests. Then you have to take and pass your STCW qualification. Next, if you want to teach any courses for certification, you have to take the relevant Instructor Qualification Courses from the organization that does the certification, such as ASA or USSailing. Then, to be a successful instructor, you have to know how to teach, which is actually quite a skill, you have to have the right personality, and then you have to get someone to hire you, and, in order to make it down here in the BVI's.....someone to tip you, as well!! So, it doesn't just happen, although you seem to presume that it does.

I think most of us teach because we enjoy it, we enjoy introducing others to our sport, and we enjoy helping them improve their competence. But, it's not a part time gig, it's how we make our livings, and few of us would do it for just the wage.

This is often not the case in the US, where you can get by on a USCG OUPV license, which takes a fraction of the time and effort that a Master's license does, and many people teach as something of a part time lark to build up sea time and get reciprocal use of a boat. The less stringent requirements allow more folks to apply for the jobs, and that keeps the quality up but the wages down. Don't underestimate the efforts, however, nor the time and dedication it has taken these instructors to be qualified to teach, even if it is way less than those of us who do it outside the US. It's still not an easy goal to reach, and something very different from the "little experience" you incorrectly "presume". A sailing course certifies you to sail. Teaching is another thing entirely, and not, in any way, presumed to be the outcome of a sailing course.

If all of this sounds like your dream job and a way to get rich quickly, take some years to become qualified to do it, and then come on down - oh, I forgot that you have to jump through many bureaucratic hoops to be allowed to work in the BVI, but you will get through them - and see if you think $15 - $20 an hour is fair, when boat cleaners, riggers and mechanics are making far more. You will realize that it takes the tips to make it worthwhile. But, give it a try, and you will know for yourself. I will be happy to show you around.

I think I have said absolutely all that I have to say, so I am outta here....going sailing! And I hope the OP has gotten some of the answers he was hoping for.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:11   #58
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by contrail View Post
I noted that I was not applying this to anywhere else, and that lots of those who comment ascribe their own customs elsewhere, which is wrong and unfair.
With all due respect and gratitude for your input on how it is in the BVI,
the critique is not directed towards you as laborer, but towards the work ethics of a company that forces you to rely on tips instead of providing you with a fair wage and the customer with transparent costs.
I have no problems tipping for services that warrants a tip.
I have a problem tipping as a means of tax and social fee evasion, because that is what that basicly is, no matter how much anyone wants to talk it into a Roman custom.

so again, thank you for your detailed report on the status quo and please do not take the critique as a personal attack, which it certainly is not.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:42   #59
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by contrail View Post
...

I do take issue with the idea that a charter captain is more deserving than a sailing instructor, and I do both. Of course, I only know how I conduct a class, but I can assure you that it is very full on, very attentive, and the level of service very high and I get tipped accordingly. To do it well and to do it thoroughly, it's not an easy job, and it involves the future safely of people and vessels. It also requires various qualifications in order to certify students, above and beyond whatever captain's license may also be required, and the actual ability to teach listen, observe, and communicate, which not everyone has!

...
I agree, teaching is much more effort. Im usually exhausted after a week of teaching, but it doesn't hit me until I'm done. I taught 21 days straight once and was absolutely fatigued.

If all goes well, then charter capatin only is a pretty easy gig. Get up early and have coffee before the guests get up (pull down weather etc), have a nice breakfast with guests, sail to next anchorage in time for lunch, send guests off snorkeling, do boat checks/maintenance while they are gone, cocktails, nice dinner...repeat...pretty pleasant. The cook is normally the one who really busts their butt (coffee, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, cocktails, dinner...for guests + crew...every day, different menu every meal, lotta work).

Historically most of my trips have been a combination of the two ("instructional charters"), so that muddies the water a bit.

I also find that if running my own boat, or aboard as the school owner, or they find out this is a lifestyle choice (not a financial one)...my tips are less or none...I still encourage them to tip the crew well though as they are actually working for a living.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:52   #60
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Re: Gratuity/Tipping

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Originally Posted by contrail View Post
s

lThe total tip would be divided between the guests. And remember, being a captain or instructor is not an eight hour day, and a course is not a five day week. Add up the hours and decide how much YOU could actually do!

Cheers,
Tim
Teaching normally is 8 hours per day. I typically run group classes from 9-5...a bit longer some days depending on logistics. Public group classes are normally fixed price and fixed schedule (x number of days). All students need approrpiate hands-on time so you have to be quite concious of time management and you really need a full day, each class day, to deliver the training properly.

Private instruction during a charter with just a couple as students, you can be more lax with time management.

Charter captain is normally not 8 hours a day, but it can be 24.
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