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Old 20-12-2017, 11:33   #31
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

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Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Aha, someone does get it. I recall flying in to places like Guatemala where your luggage would be picked up quickly and you better hurry to keep up as it was carried to a taxi. That was years ago and I don't even recall what we tipped. However, it struck me how hard these kids who shouldn't have to work were working for so little and I was glad to give them even a little extra. An amount which meant so little to me meant so much to them.

We tip dock hands and we haven't encountered boat boys yet as we generally use marinas. But, when we do, we'll gladly tip them. It's a way of making a charitable contribution to someone willing to work for it.
One big difference is that Guatemalan porters are polite, whereas E Carib boat boys tend to be obnoxiously aggressive...and my impression has always been that if you dont pay, the odds of something happening to your boat/dinghy/outboard go way up.
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:46   #32
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

This post is very apropos for me as we are heading down in a few weeks for a St. Lucia to Grenada charter. My two biggest concerns are: 1- that it might be very crowded and anchoring/mooring will be competitive, and 2 - dealing with the boat boys. I read in this post and have heard elsewhere that they haven't seemed as aggressive lately and if that's true it's great news. Still, I'm looking for as much advice as possible as to the best strategy to utilize.

From a financial standpoint, I have no problem coming up with an extra $20-30(usd) or so each day to minimize any potential harassment as well as increase our level of security. With that in mind, should we just "hire" the first guy that comes to our boat and give him a good tip of maybe $20ec or $5-10usd? Or will that just encourage others to come by because they hear we have money to burn? I am nervous about refusing services and I don't want to do anything that increases our odds of having our boat broken into. But at the same time I don't want to encourage superfluous behavior. Plus, once I engage with a person in that type of scenario I can be a bit of a pushover and I don't want to get taken advantage of. However, after paying as much as we have for our charter, I'm not concerned about spending a few more dollars - especially if it helps someone in need.

If we do offer a nice tip are the boat boys and their comrades usually pretty receptive to our preference of where/how we want to moor/anchor and basically respecting our peace and quiet to some degree? And are the generally pretty straight shooters once they get their tip? Or is it mission accomplished for them and on to the next victim? Also, is hiring the dock boy or whoever to watch your dinghy a reliable service? If we are ashore for a few hours and pay them $5-10ec for that service is it still going to be there when we return, or will they just leave as soon as we are out of eyesight? Of course we would still lock it up, but that will only help so much.

Sorry for all of the questions. We live in a small town where we rarely even lock our doors to our house and car. And all of our charters have been mostly in the Virgin Islands so the worst we've had to deal with is the restaurant owners at Anegada stopping by to tell us about their nightly beach BBQ. I hope the boat boys aren't as bad as I imagine. If it's something we constantly have to deal with it could put a serious damper on our vacation . It almost would make sense to hire a security guard to accompany you on your charter to deal with the boat boys and keep an eye on your boat and belongings. I guess that would be the benefit of having a captain on a charter in this area.

Thanks for any info or advice.

Matt
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:11   #33
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

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This post is very apropos for me as we are heading down in a few weeks for a St. Lucia to Grenada charter. My two biggest concerns are: 1- that it might be very crowded and anchoring/mooring will be competitive, and 2 - dealing with the boat boys. I read in this post and have heard elsewhere that they haven't seemed as aggressive lately and if that's true it's great news. Still, I'm looking for as much advice as possible as to the best strategy to utilize.

From a financial standpoint, I have no problem coming up with an extra $20-30(usd) or so each day to minimize any potential harassment as well as increase our level of security. With that in mind, should we just "hire" the first guy that comes to our boat and give him a good tip of maybe $20ec or $5-10usd? Or will that just encourage others to come by because they hear we have money to burn? I am nervous about refusing services and I don't want to do anything that increases our odds of having our boat broken into. But at the same time I don't want to encourage superfluous behavior. Plus, once I engage with a person in that type of scenario I can be a bit of a pushover and I don't want to get taken advantage of. However, after paying as much as we have for our charter, I'm not concerned about spending a few more dollars - especially if it helps someone in need.

If we do offer a nice tip are the boat boys and their comrades usually pretty receptive to our preference of where/how we want to moor/anchor and basically respecting our peace and quiet to some degree? And are the generally pretty straight shooters once they get their tip? Or is it mission accomplished for them and on to the next victim? Also, is hiring the dock boy or whoever to watch your dinghy a reliable service? If we are ashore for a few hours and pay them $5-10ec for that service is it still going to be there when we return, or will they just leave as soon as we are out of eyesight? Of course we would still lock it up, but that will only help so much.

Sorry for all of the questions. We live in a small town where we rarely even lock our doors to our house and car. And all of our charters have been mostly in the Virgin Islands so the worst we've had to deal with is the restaurant owners at Anegada stopping by to tell us about their nightly beach BBQ. I hope the boat boys aren't as bad as I imagine. If it's something we constantly have to deal with it could put a serious damper on our vacation . It almost would make sense to hire a security guard to accompany you on your charter to deal with the boat boys and keep an eye on your boat and belongings. I guess that would be the benefit of having a captain on a charter in this area.

Thanks for any info or advice.

Matt
Now that I'm back from my trip I can tell you exactly what to expect . Our experience with boat boys was overall very positive. These guys were never a nuisance, and on the contrary provided us with much-needed services at reasonable prices.

In all instances, we knew whether we wanted to anchor or moor in each anchorage we were going into and had a good idea of what we wanted to do there. This helps because you know whether you want them to help you find a mooring or a spot to anchor or if you just want to say "no thanks" and proceed on your own.

Heading into Tobago Cays , Union Island, and Bequia we were approached by a boat boy as we sailed into the anchorage. I always greeted them and in every case they communicated what they were approaching us for. Nobody was aggressive or boarded the boat - which I had read about online somewhere and was my biggest fear.

Heading into Tobago Cays we were approached by Free Willy... an awesome and pleasant guy. He never gave us the hard sell on anything. He showed us a great place to drop the hook. And as with boat boys had on other islands, he asked us if we wanted to do a fresh lobster beach BBQ. We obliged and it was GREAT. Each boat boy seems to be tied with a chef on the beach, but from what I gather all the chefs are great. It's fresh lobster, or chicken, or fish, rice, fried plantains, veggies, and desert and it was GOOD food. All very cool.

The next day I ended up doing a favor for a cruiser by diving on his new Bavaria 50 that had lost its prop (for the second time!?) and installing a new one. As a thank you, he bought us another beach BBQ through his boat boy which was awesome yet again.

In the harbours where we refused boat boy service we just said "No thanks we're going to anchor, and they left us alone.

In most anchorages there are also guys who will come around and offer to get you groceries, fresh baguettes, croissants, beer whatever. All respectful and not pushy and providing a much needed svc in these remote anchorages.

When I went into Union Island, I knew I wanted to reprovision and get fuel and water. A guy came out and met us at the harbour entrance and I told him what we needed. He brought us to his friend's dock and restaurant where we were able to get fuel delivered, fresh clean water from the dock, ice, and reprovision.

Discuss all prices beforehand (I probably paid too much for my diesel and water), offer your boat boy a cold beer, and you'll be just fine.

The one bad thing that happened in Union was after I re-provisioned I went out into the mooring field and a boat boy put us on a mooring (flat fee collected by parks dept) that when I dove it was severely chafed. We had very high winds that week, so I ended up ditching it and dropping the anchor that evening. So, check your mooring in Union. Mustique was the only other place we grabbed a mooring (bc you have to) and that mooring was solid.
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:35   #34
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

I should also add that the term “boat boy” is misleading - some of these guys were young, but many were middle aged.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:38   #35
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

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Originally Posted by Peregrine1983 View Post
I should also add that the term “boat boy” is misleading - some of these guys were young, but many were middle aged.
Your story reminded me of the movie “Lord Jim” with Peter O’Toole. He let his imagination run away, abandoned a sound ship. Your mind can be a dangerous place. Stay out of it.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:57   #36
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

Thanks for the great reply Peregrine - really helps ease my concerns. And hearing your description of the beach BBQs is making me hungry too. Sounds like based on what you described (and any additional information we will get during our briefing) we should be good to go. Even though we are starting our charter in Marigot Bay, I think we are going to head straight to Bequia as I've heard that there have been issues in St. Lucia and St. Vincent recently. Plus, we only have ten nights and plenty of places we are hoping to see in the Grenadines and Grenada.

We'll be sure to discuss prices with the vendors prior to accepting their services. But for the boat boys that initially come out to help us with anchoring/mooring do we negotiate a price with them or just give them a tip? And will they sometimes collect the mooring fee or will someone else come around for that? We will also be diligent in terms of backing down and/or diving any mooring ball we end up on - though I hope to be on the hook more often than on a ball.

Thanks again,

Matt
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Old 10-01-2018, 13:12   #37
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

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for the boat boys that initially come out to help us with anchoring/mooring do we negotiate a price with them or just give them a tip? And will they sometimes collect the mooring fee or will someone else come around for that?

Matt
Hey Matt,

Glad to help. When Free Willy (most of the guys will introduce themselves with hilarious nicknames btw) showed us a good anchorage in Tobago Cays, we ended up doing a beach BBQ with him. However, if I had declined the BBQ I probably would have thrown him a tip - like $20 EC.

When you pick up a mooring in Mustique (they are pricey - think it was like $75 US for 3 nights?) it is the harbourmaster who comes to your boat, so you just pay the fee.

In Union Island when we took a mooring the boat boy helped us tie up and then gave us a receipt with his name on it which we then presented to the harbourmaster. I believe I gave him like $20EC after he helped us tie up and then paid the ranger something like $15 US. My numbers for the mooring fees may be a tad off...
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Old 10-01-2018, 15:20   #38
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

I sail the Grenadines often and I have never had a bad experience with a boat boy.
They are there to make a living and I do buisness with them when needed.

Mustique usually does not have boat boys as the mooring field is owned by Mystique. They charge you 3 days minimum even if you stay only one night. Now that is extortion :-)
Specially since besides getting drinks at Basils, Musique is boring. You get a cab to show you around and point at big mansions and say this one belongs to Mick Jagger, this one to Tommy Hillfiger etc" For me it's boring. Unless i get to see Mick in a bathrobe fetching his newspaper and waving at me I don't see the interest.
Tobago Cays and Union morning are managed by the TCMP ( Tobago Cay Marine Park )
45EC per night
Like any mooring you use, ALWAYS dive to check for chaffing. Many credit card captains get them in there prop.
Also some moorings in Clifton are owned by the restaurant and you get it free if you have diner there.
Bequia....why use a Mooring ball, there is room for hundreds of boats to drop the hook.

Usually coming into an anchorage, the boat boy will show up and sign you a ball. If you want one tell yes if not sign him that you will use your hook.
If you do use them, they expect tips. I found over the years that yes money is ok but I now bring cheap headlamps flash lights bought at any electronic store and give them one. They love those.

Tobago Cays, Romeo makes the best grilled lobsters.

Bequia, Zorro Taxi will give you the best guided tour of the Island.

Union, be sure to check out JT Pro center if you're there on a full moon. Very good full moon party.

Wow, I'm getting all worked up. Cant wait to get back there. I will be sailing there starting march 3rd.
Beam winds
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Old 10-01-2018, 17:37   #39
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

I felt the same way about mustique. In retrospect I would have skipped it and spent another day in Bequia.
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Old 10-01-2018, 18:01   #40
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

Thanks again for the replies. I think I'll print this thread out and bring it down with me to refer to the names and places.

We were planning on stopping at Mustique, partly because the blues festival will be going on. Not sure how big of an event it is, but sounds like there are some pretty well known artists there. And I do want to experience Basil's - which I think was just, or will be recently reopened when we get down there. However, we will have our three kids (9, 12, 16) with us so not sure how jazzed they are about going. We'll see...

Will definitely be stopping at Bequia, Tabogo Cays, Union, and all of the other usual suspects. My son and I kiteboard so we will also be seeking out places that we can launch from, but where my wife and two girls will still have something fun to do besides sit on a windy beach with sand blowing in their hair. I have a map that shows the common spots, but if we can also get launching form the boat dialed in it would open things up quite a bit.

Matt
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:02   #41
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

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Thanks again for the replies. I think I'll print this thread out and bring it down with me to refer to the names and places.

We were planning on stopping at Mustique, partly because the blues festival will be going on. Not sure how big of an event it is, but sounds like there are some pretty well known artists there. And I do want to experience Basil's - which I think was just, or will be recently reopened when we get down there. However, we will have our three kids (9, 12, 16) with us so not sure how jazzed they are about going. We'll see...

Will definitely be stopping at Bequia, Tabogo Cays, Union, and all of the other usual suspects. My son and I kiteboard so we will also be seeking out places that we can launch from, but where my wife and two girls will still have something fun to do besides sit on a windy beach with sand blowing in their hair. I have a map that shows the common spots, but if we can also get launching form the boat dialed in it would open things up quite a bit.

Matt
For Kiting. The JT Pro center in Clifton on Union.
Frigate Island on Union ( need safety boat )
Mayreau on windward side.
Tobago Cays but you need to check with the rangers first.
Palm Island
When are you going?
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:03   #42
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

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Originally Posted by capnmatt View Post
Thanks again for the replies. I think I'll print this thread out and bring it down with me to refer to the names and places.

We were planning on stopping at Mustique, partly because the blues festival will be going on. Not sure how big of an event it is, but sounds like there are some pretty well known artists there. And I do want to experience Basil's - which I think was just, or will be recently reopened when we get down there. However, we will have our three kids (9, 12, 16) with us so not sure how jazzed they are about going. We'll see...

Will definitely be stopping at Bequia, Tabogo Cays, Union, and all of the other usual suspects. My son and I kiteboard so we will also be seeking out places that we can launch from, but where my wife and two girls will still have something fun to do besides sit on a windy beach with sand blowing in their hair. I have a map that shows the common spots, but if we can also get launching form the boat dialed in it would open things up quite a bit.

Matt
For Kiting. The JT Pro center in Clifton on Union.
Frigate Island on Union ( need safety boat )
Mayreau on windward side.
Tobago Cays but you need to check with the rangers first.
Palm Island
When are you going?
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Old 14-01-2018, 20:04   #43
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Re: Boat Boys - moorings and tipping

Sorry, missed your follow-up Flagman until just now. We are boarding the boat on Feb 3 in St. Lucia and heading out the next morning. We are hoping to make it from Marigot to Admiralty Bay in one (long) day as it sounds like a good idea to stay away from St. Lucia and St. Vincent at this time. Then down the chain from there and turning the boat in on the 13th in Grenada. I printed a map of all of the main kiting spots so will have that to guide us. We hope to hit all the spot you mentioned plus a couple others.

Matt
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