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Old 24-06-2008, 07:30   #1
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Question Tips/Gratuities to Marina Staff?

I'm not sure where this question should be posted so I'm inserting it here and trust that our moderator(s) can relocate it if necessary. Although I have posted this question on another forum, I am also doing so here for the sake of getting the widest perspective.

The question is, what is an appropriate amount to "Tip" a marina staff that is helpful during a visit? During our recent cruise we spent several days at a lovely, but not inexpensive, marina in Key West. Upon our arrival, the Harbor Master on duty met us as we approached our temporary slip, took our lines and helped us secure the yacht, connect power et al. Subsequently, during our visit, several of the staff were helpful with information and suggestions that made our visit more enjoyable.

As a matter of course, we carry a package of "Thank You" notes aboard and ususally write one out for each of those that have extended courtesies to us, or made extra efforts on our behalf, during a visit but I am never sure if or how much to include as a gratuity when we depart. Especially so at a commercial marina when one is being charged to the hilt for the use of a slip (in our case we discovered that a 42' slip costs more than does the daily rental of a studio apartment!).

I would appreciate other's views on the matter.

s/v HyLyte
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Old 24-06-2008, 08:40   #2
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I think I would follow my normal tipping routine, if I think I have recieved exceptional or even very good service at a reasonable price, I would have no issues leaving some sort of gratuity. It may be that great customer service is a learned habit and if a young dock hand learns that going the extra mile might gain him a little extra cash he or she may be more eager to be helpful.

On the other hand poor service and high costs for little return do not garner any sort of tip, or for that matter return patronage IMO.

I don't know if there is an unwritten rule in marina's, but even if there is don't fall for it. Tip as you feel appropriate.
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Old 24-06-2008, 09:15   #3
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There is only one person at a marina that I ever tip:

The kid working there as a part time job for $8/hr. You know... the kid with a summer job out of college who loves boats so he works there instead of at some other job.

Those are usually the guys manning the fuel dock when you pull in to refuel.

Other than that, I feel everyone else's salary covers it all.

*Disclaimer: I avoid marinas like the plague anyway
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Old 24-06-2008, 09:19   #4
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I tip based on attitude, service, price etc, I never feel pressured to tip just for the sake of tipping. I know this may sound crazy but I once had a person at a marina rufuse to accept a tip after what I thought was exceptional service. I did end up giving him a couple of Cuban Cigars after we talked for awhile...
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Old 24-06-2008, 09:22   #5
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Just to add to my previous post, I will generally always tip the person pumping my holding tanks, whether it is at a dock or a pumpout boat...
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Old 24-06-2008, 09:32   #6
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When I got a job as a dockhand years ago in a large Florida city Marina, I was a little surprised to find out that I would be getting tips, I hadn't really expected it, like I would have if I'd gone to work as a server in a restaraunt. I found out that it was usually powerboaters dropping the tips. Rarely, rarely, did I ever get a tip from a sailboat. The sailors usually came in and dropped off the trash, filled their water tanks, bought 5 gallons of diesel and complained about the cost. Then they left. Powerboats would come in for lunch and give each of the dockhands $20. So... you know who got all the attention and help when we saw them coming down the entrance channel.
When I worked as a dive instructor in the Caribbean, a lot of the guys I worked with were British. As most people know, tipping is a solely American thing and Brits just don't generally do it. But tips were about 30% of our income, most of our customers were American, and I used to laugh at the angst in my British friends when they would get stiffed. They wanted so badly to bitch about it, but their upbringing just wouldn't let them. I always tried to adopt their mantra when getting a small tip, "better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick!".
Most people working for tips eventually realize that you can't begrudge not being tipped. Some people don't know it's expected, sometimes people forget, sometimes they don't have the appropriate bills on them, and sometimes you're having a bad day and don't deserve one.

I do find it a little funny though, the idea that the amount of tip for the dockhand is based on the value of the marina and dockage fee; as if the dockhand has anything to do with that. It's the expensive places like Key West that a dockhand probably can't get by on his wages.
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Old 24-06-2008, 10:20   #7
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>> Rarely, rarely, did I ever get a tip from a sailboat. <<

This reminds me of a powerboater on our dock many years ago who once said to me:

"You blow boaters come down here on a Friday night with a t-shirt on your back and $5 in your pocket and you don't change either one all weekend."
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Old 24-06-2008, 11:15   #8
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Hey HyLyte
Good to see ya.........
Short story,.... A year or so ago I met a Guy,(and his family), while we were out cruising the south coast of California. We pulled into the harbor in Ventura, and found the marina and guest slip we were looking for. Asking this gentelman(in the boat next to us) where the marina office was, as we need to square away the fees for the slip,..
his reply (with a very strong Ausi accent) stated that he could ALWAYS tell who the American was on the dock, no matter where in the world he was..
When I asked him how that was, ... His reply was that "The American Was The One Running Up And Down The Dock With A Hand-Full Of Money, Wondering Who To Give It To".....................
I cant tell you how many times sence then, we've stayed in a marina for the night or the weekend in a guest slip and never paid...even though we've made known that we were there... We've even had the staff welcome us and wave good buy to us when we leave, and we'd never logged in.
I even whent to the point of informing one marina that we've stayed there over the weekend many times and asked if they wanted me to send them a check and their reply was that If I came in after they left in the afternoon on friday and was gone by 9 am on Monday, when they arrived, they didnt care.......
For myself, I dont take any money out of my pocket until someone asks.......
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Old 24-06-2008, 18:13   #9
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My niece, got her first job at the Marina where I keep my boat.

I let her live aboard....I knew the other liveaboards would keep an eye on her.

After about 5-6 weeks, I stopped by the boat ,during a hard day, to cool off and take a break. Imagine my surprise when I saw all her paychecks piled up on the salon table. She didn't deposit them...was living on tips.

As a mechanic, I tip the Dockboys/girls....when they give me a hand or a lift in the cart.......It's just good bidness. Plus, when someone needs a mechanic ASAP you know who is going to get the call (esp transients)
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Old 24-06-2008, 18:35   #10
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Dock hands who hustle and provide good service to me, and who are at the bottom of the wage scale around there, I'll tip. The harbormaster, even though he handles my lines, is presumed to be making a decent living (and working for my goodwill toward the marina as a whole), and it would be gouche to offer him filthy lucre. Other niceties, such as your "Thank You" cards, or some in-kind gift, from a cold beer up, would be acceptable, but not cash to a man of his position. Offering cash to the harbormaster is to reduce him to the level of common help.

We Americans, in general, over-tip (I'm not arguing amount here, but occasion. Amount is a whole other topic), as Randyonr3's anecdote so aptly illustrates. That is why we have tip jars at Starbucks for kids who merely slide a cup of coffee to me over the counter while chewing gum or eating in front of me, and want to address me by my first name. Ain't gonna happen.

Thems my opinions, and I'm sticking to them.
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Old 24-06-2008, 19:41   #11
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Quote:
The question is, what is an appropriate amount to "Tip" a marina staff that is helpful during a visit?
Tips should be rendered at the time of service. The idea that you wait until you leave is cheap and stupid. If you tipped while you are there they know you will do it in the future. If you wait to the end you generally under tip, complain that you had to and then leave and so they thought you were a cheap SOB and then gave them something.

There is no such thing as over tipping. If you can't figure when a tip is worth extra the effort then you sure can't do it yourself. You don't have to tip for anything and I know lots of people that never do or toss $0.25 and feel big about it. If I come into a slip and need help it's worth a whole lot.

I will agree on one point. Managers never get tips - ever. You can be nice and be thankful. Being nice is always a good idea - it costs nothing but shows everything about you. Things change over time and the next day you might be in need. Sometimes the person you were nice to remembers. You on the other hand always will know when you were nice and when you were not.
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Old 24-06-2008, 20:09   #12
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Paul--

In Florida, for the most part, people seem to tip the staff on the day of departure. For our part we rarely visit commercial marinas. Mostly we either anchor out or stop at yacht clubs that are part of the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs and so are "free" to us save for minimal charges for water and power. Here there seems to be a policy of tippng staff at commercial marina's that I'm trying to figure out. If someone goes out of their way for us we usually give them a thank-you of some kind and maybe buy them a bottle of beer or something at the time which one cannot at a commercial marina. I have no way of judging what's appropriate so I thought I'd ask for opinions.

Further, I do know that if one visits a particular location that's desireable and one "takes care of" the staff, one is pretty certain of getting a slip the next time around while others are not.

N'any case---

s/v HyLyte :|
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Old 24-06-2008, 20:35   #13
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I just don't think other people can tell you what to tip. There is no such thing as a tipping policy. I think you just need to work at it until you feel you've done right. Maybe FL is different but people generally are not. They are pretty much as they have been for the past 200,000 years. They may clean up a little better from time to time but you need to work past all that.

It's all pretty easy to think things are different and not like you are used to so in the event you don't understand what to do you some how forget about everything that says who you are. We all ought to be better than we are. Being like other pople is not always what you ealy had in mind. Being the second worst tipper is perhaps acceptable.

These are situations where only you know what is right and what is not. That may be what cruising is about more than anything else.
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Old 24-06-2008, 21:11   #14
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I think it should be part of the educational system that everyone works as a waiter/waitress for a week.

Dockhands are the lowest on the totem pole.....conversely they probably have the MOST customer contact......How they look, act and help says more about a marina....than a dockmaster/office weenie can.

Include in that group the receptionist......he/she HAS to know more about boaters needs.

I find that the higher income people....with the bigger boats....tip.

People with smaller boats....don't
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Old 24-06-2008, 21:13   #15
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Apparently you have never been to a restaurant

That adds the gratuity to the check automatically.

Or on a cruise...that figures the gratuity in....

Becuz people are cheap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
I just don't think other people can tell you what to tip. There is no such thing as a tipping policy. I think you just need to work at it until you feel you've done right. Maybe FL is different but people generally are not. They are pretty much as they have been for the past 200,000 years. They may clean up a little better from time to time but you need to work past all that.

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