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Old 18-07-2011, 18:24   #1
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Question on Tipping in US Marinas

We're a little new to boat ownership in the US. Mostly chartered overseas. Is it customary to tip dock crew that help you dock at gas or transient marina slips in the US? If so, how much? Thanks for the advice!
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Old 18-07-2011, 18:33   #2
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

i may be in the wrong bu ti never have even heard of tipping them until i came to mexico...everyone is tipped here. i was in so cal-lost angeles and sin diego since before 1990--since 1990 on board full time.
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Old 18-07-2011, 18:36   #3
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

I tend to avoid regular marina visits, but I have only tipped in extraordinary circumstances. In other words, pull up into the fuel dock or your assigned slip and chances are someone will help you out, but it may often just be another boater. Those folks no tips. However, one time in the Miami Beach marina when it first opened up we were sort of flummoxed by the docking situation. We were assigned one of the huge yacht slips designed for something 70 feet long and 25 feet wide. We were on a 30-foot sailboat, the wind was howling, the current was ripping through the docks, the pilings were all a good ten feet above our heads, and we were in the middle motoring around trying to lassoo pilings. A dock guy came along who must have been an ex-rodeo star. He took long lines from us and lassooed these pilings with amazing throws that put a loop over the top first try, every try. I've never seen anything like it. We tipped the guy. If we ordered something like concierge service or meals in our slip I would tip. If I wanted some special slip, or another special help, and the person delivered, I would tip. But, those tipping situations are pretty unusual.
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Old 18-07-2011, 18:42   #4
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

Generally no tipping in the US. Not expected in marinas. I've never even thought of it before....
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Old 18-07-2011, 19:33   #5
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

Having spent some years working as a marina dock hand I can say that tips were much appreciated, and not infrequent. My experience was on the coasts of Florida and Georgia. We didn't necessarily expect a tip from everybody. Helping somebody tie up was one thing; running their water hose (with filter) and hooking up their shore power (after convincing them that the reason the marina's shore power didn't work was due to their blown fuse), plugging in their tv cable, telephone, etc. etc.? Get off your wallet!
Good dock hands not only deal with all the customer's wants, they can also make docking and undocking a relatively painless experience. I was constantly amazed by the number of boaters who didn't have a clue how a spring line worked.
Some dock hands aren't worth a tip. OK. The pros, however, are. At the marina I worked at the longest, our tips usually accounted for at least 10% of our income. That is much appreciated by a bunch of guys living on their boats working to replenish the cruising kitty.
One final note - in the marina business sailboaters are notoriously worse tippers than powerboaters.
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Old 18-07-2011, 19:44   #6
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

Good points MIke. If a dockhand did all that for me he'd definitely get a tip! I think most sailboaters know how to do all those things so just want somone to grab a line. On the other hand many powerboaters I've met (in FL!) just want to get the first martini made or the fish cleaned! No disrespect intended... been there done that too.... Maybe they have better priorities! Let's face it, the powerboater just ran 4 hours at $100 an hour in fuel... 10-20 bucks for some help aint nuttin'. Frankly... looking back... if i had realized I could have got all that done for $10 or so after a day on the water I would have! Seems like the dockhand disappears fast a lot of the time. (maybe because I was a sailboat 90% of the time!) At any rate, the word for the original poster is probably that in the US it's not expected unless extra services are offered... that about right?
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Old 18-07-2011, 19:52   #7
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

I usually tip the Dock Hand on the Chesapeake Bay. These guys and gals work hard and if they deserve it I have no problem giving a few dollars. I also have heard that sailboater's are the worse tippers, its now wonder considering most reply's posted here....
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Old 18-07-2011, 20:00   #8
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

Cheechako -
Not far off the mark. We blowboaters frequently get ignored because we're buying 50 bucks worth of diesel (at the most) rather than 500 bucks. You can tell the difference between marina staffs when you're on a sailboat. Good marinas go out of their way to welcome all their customers.
A friendly, helpful dock hand, even if all he does is tie you up, wouldn't look askance at a 2 or 3 dollar tip though he wouldn't think it mandatory. And if you're on a sailboat you might get to see him faint!
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Old 18-07-2011, 20:08   #9
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

Yup! I always tip my hat, and that is done without reaching for my wallet. Cheapskate? I just do not put dock help into the same category as resturant waiters or waitresses whose tips are consider to be a part of their wages.

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Old 18-07-2011, 20:17   #10
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Re: Question on Tipping in US Marinas

depends on the situation,,,most powerboaters (larger ones or go fast) tip mega yachts tip, most sailboaters do not tip,,,,we are just cheapskates,,,,if we could afford the 400000 dollar go fast boat we would tip tooo,,,I fail to see why tipping is expected for grabbing someone lines,,,extra service is another story,,,,,,if I was jsut getting fuel or tying up forget the tip,,,,,if they were moving the boat for me that is another story,,,on another note,,,the marina that I was at the longest the dockguys did many thinks for me at a moments notice,,,I never gave them money but being a chef they ate REALLY good,,,tips do not always have to be money
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Old 18-07-2011, 20:31   #11
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Re: Question on Tipping in US marinas

Quote:
Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
Having spent some years working as a marina dock hand I can say that tips were much appreciated, and not infrequent. My experience was on the coasts of Florida and Georgia. We didn't necessarily expect a tip from everybody. Helping somebody tie up was one thing; running their water hose (with filter) and hooking up their shore power (after convincing them that the reason the marina's shore power didn't work was due to their blown fuse), plugging in their tv cable, telephone, etc. etc.? Get off your wallet!
Good dock hands not only deal with all the customer's wants, they can also make docking and undocking a relatively painless experience. I was constantly amazed by the number of boaters who didn't have a clue how a spring line worked.
Some dock hands aren't worth a tip. OK. The pros, however, are. At the marina I worked at the longest, our tips usually accounted for at least 10% of our income. That is much appreciated by a bunch of guys living on their boats working to replenish the cruising kitty.
One final note - in the marina business sailboaters are notoriously worse tippers than powerboaters.
I think you're right on the money (pun intended). Yes we're a blow-boater but if we're assisted with lines and they just hand us the hose for fuel/water/pump-out I always give a $5. Never been refused.

If we take a launch service from a mooring we tip $2 as a single or $5 as a couple or family. From observation I would guess only 10 -25% of the boaters on the launch are tippers. It's always appreciated and in a place with multiple launch drivers -- once they have you pegged as a tipper they practically fight be the one to pick you up or bring a block of ice if you call for it, so it does assure good service.

PS -- we're in southern New England
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Old 18-07-2011, 20:56   #12
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Re: Question on Tipping in US Marinas

I tip the launch service, fuel dock and pump out boat at the end of the year. If I were transient, I would tip $2-3 per trip or service rendered.
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Old 19-07-2011, 05:28   #13
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Re: Question on Tipping in US Marinas

I always tip the pump out person., if anyone deserves it that person does
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Old 19-07-2011, 06:20   #14
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Re: Question on Tipping in US Marinas

I say about half the folks on my regular launch tip coming and going, last night we were caught out in thunderstorms with it pouring down, the launch pulled up and asked if we wanted to go in not knowing when it would stop.

If that gal didn't deserve a tip no one did.
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Old 19-07-2011, 10:13   #15
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Re: Question on Tipping in US Marinas

It may be a west coast / east coast thing. We really dont have many launches that I'm aware of out here...maybe San Diego has one? Seldom get help docking unless asked for on the radio, except at the fuel dock. No sure if the marinas really employ many dockhands either..usually a maintence guy....? I think most our docks are floating docks instead of pilings though. Now you all have me worried that I stiffed the dock hands while traveling the East!
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