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Steve Douglas

Tipping is in the culture

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Wasn't meant for you Stew....relax! Not meant for anyone as I only read a few posts.

 

Just thinking back of the days where W**** walked off the boat without so much as a thank you even though we basically had to do everything for them short of breathing for them.

 

Unless a DM drops my camera or is rude as hell do I not tip....I've seen people not tip just because the conditions were poor or they got seasick....like the crew can really control the weather.

 

Those are the folks I'm calling W*****!

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Have to agree with your math Stew - Not sure that many operators manage 34 trips per year but there we are.

 

Fundamentally this has all come about by the culture and attitudes prevalent in the sometime richest nation on the planet (?) - the USA.

 

From the operators point of view if the punters will ultimately pay the wages by tipping - heck why not, looks like profit to me.

 

Unfortunately we seem to be up against a very large cultural problem that does not seem to be likely to go away any time in the near future.

 

Like you I do not begrudge tipping as such - but I do have a tough time with a built in expectation of payment.

 

Have also come across some cases where the 'split' of the tip was somewhat 'loaded', and not necessarily in the favour of those who performed.

 

Paul C

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Have to agree with your math Stew - Not sure that many operators manage 34 trips per year but there we are.

 

Paul C

 

undersea hunter - sea hunter, theres 2

 

Stew

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but I do have a tough time with a built in expectation of payment.

 

Remember this only an 'expectation' of payment, sure suits me a lot better to at least have that at my discretion, then to be forced to pay a tip that is included in the bill as is frequently done in Europe.

I tip, and like to tip well if service is exceptional, but by the same token if service sucks don't expect a dime, I won't be 'guilted' into it.

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who the hell are you calling a wan-er

 

 

:):D

 

I'd seriously give a big tip for that 'extra' service although it would depend on the roughness of the hand... :)

 

I'd tip how much you think it deserves not what they want... Crikey if I put 15% on my invoices I'd run out of work pretty quick.

 

Can you get arrested for bad tipping ... I think/hope not

 

Dive safe

 

DeanB

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Ok people, please refrain from using profanities, even if it's acceptable in the country you live in (for lack of understanding, which is the point of this thread). WP is a global forum and profanities in general are NOT allowed, whatever the background.

 

The actual point of this thread is to discuss whether a standard charge of XX% is in tune with local practice, across the globe. Whether I can afford a $500 or $50000 trip isn't the issue. Of course, when you go on a real luxury resort/boat, the tip is expected to reflect the price of the establishment. If a budget operation does the same thing of helping you with gear, driving the boat, guiding etc, which is part of every dive operations job description, how come the top establishment gets a $5k tip while the budget shop gets $50 for the same job? It's essentially the same job and the incremental increase in service is reflected in the incremental price increase you pay for "luxury." The point is if businesses paid their staff "properly," then it would really be a 'TIP' and not supplementing wages on behalf of the businesses. However, in real world practice, luxury establishments have a much higher expectation of gratuity than budget ones.

Aside from that, the actual amount of tip is also subjected to local customs (and this amount changes all the time.) 10% is sort of universal standard since it's easy to calculate and I believe the Judeo-Christian background of tithe also made the cross transition into gratuity.

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Since some of you are obviously on the receiving end of these tips, maybe someone can explain the following. It's always been kind of a mystery to me. The price of a liveaboard is generally a western price. The boats are generally owned by American, European or Australian owners. So you pay lets say $5000 for a 10 day trip. I can understand that. It's like paying for an expensive floating hotel.

 

Most boats ive been on have a local crew though. Indonesian, Papuan, or maybe Solomon Islanders. Lets say a single crew member gets $500 in tips. In some areas this is an insane amount of money for a local. It is in no way representative for the norm in that country/area. So how does this work? Are these crew members just incredibly wealthy by local standards? Or do the tips not get shared equally, or maybe even partly taken by the boat owner?

 

I do always pay a healthy tip, it's part of the cost of the trip, but ive always wondered how this piece of it works in practice.

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So you pay lets say $5000 for a 10 day trip. I can understand that. It's like paying for an expensive floating hotel.

 

Most boats ive been on have a local crew though. Indonesian, Papuan, or maybe Solomon Islanders. Lets say a single crew member gets $500 in tips. In some areas this is an insane amount of money for a local. It is in no way representative for the norm in that country/area. So how does this work? Are these crew members just incredibly wealthy by local standards? Or do the tips not get shared equally, or maybe even partly taken by the boat owner?

 

 

This is my point Cor, why should for instance, an Ecuadorian DM or guide working on a liveaboard out of Ecuador get double the wages of what a newly trained doctor would earn in Ecuador. None of it makes any sense. It is all very bizzare to say the least.

 

Stew

Edited by stewsmith

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Face it folks, there is no one answer. However, as generalizations go, it is the Americans who tip the most and the most often. Everyone thinks American tourists/Divers are wealthy but do not take into account that for some, they have saved for years to go on a dive trip and are no where near wealthy. It has been my experience and observations that land the German and Northern European divers who seem to have the most money but tip the least. I was on a recent trip where, for the first time in over a decade, I did not have to organize the trip. Towards the end, as is typical, I heard the group organizer make the announcement that tipping should be 15%. I always tip but I tip what I want and feel the crew deserves. Usually, most crews work their butts off.

Steve

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I was just looking at a link for diving with "Whales of the Silver Bank" in the Caribbean for a week on a live-aboard. The group that's chartering the week has the price for for boat listed at $2895 - $3295 per person. This is a snorkeling only week. They suggest 15% - 20% gratuity. 20% equals $580 - $660 tip per snorkeler. If running a full boat of 20 snorkelers, that's $11,600 - $13,200 in tips for the crew. If running with six crew members, this equals $1930 - $2200 tip for each crew member for the week...

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Since some of you are obviously on the receiving end of these tips, maybe someone can explain the following. It's always been kind of a mystery to me. The price of a liveaboard is generally a western price. The boats are generally owned by American, European or Australian owners. So you pay lets say $5000 for a 10 day trip. I can understand that. It's like paying for an expensive floating hotel.

 

Most boats ive been on have a local crew though. Indonesian, Papuan, or maybe Solomon Islanders. Lets say a single crew member gets $500 in tips. In some areas this is an insane amount of money for a local. It is in no way representative for the norm in that country/area. So how does this work? Are these crew members just incredibly wealthy by local standards? Or do the tips not get shared equally, or maybe even partly taken by the boat owner?

 

I do always pay a healthy tip, it's part of the cost of the trip, but ive always wondered how this piece of it works in practice.

 

Old post but putting my 2 cents on that.

 

There are many variations of this and there is not exactly one exact pattern, however it is clear that local guides would have a standard of living in their respective countries which are several orders of magnitude above a western dive guide working in a western country (or even a western dive guide working in a third-world country since that person would still pay a lot more than a local would pay for a lot of things). Clearly a dive guide in western country, it's not like you're there for the money...

 

In most places around the world, a lot of western dive guides roughly make $600-800 / month. In some places it is financially more interesting to be a DM than an instructor as an instructor can easily get several days certification stuck with one student, whereas as a dive guide you would get something like 10$ per head for a guided dive.

 

To come back to local dive guides and very high tipping... Having talked to a few dive business owners, what can sometimes happen is the diving crew actually not showing up to work the next weeks after receiving high tipping from some customers and thus putting the dive business in relative trouble with the next customers because the full staff is not here. Keep that in mind when you leave a 'healthy tip'.

 

As for local owning dive operations/liveaboard and charging western fees absolutely not inline with the local cost but kinda of similar to operating a liveaboard in the bahamas, yes they are extremely extremely wealthy, generally well connected politically, owning large amount of real estate in the province and they are less scrupulous about paying minimal fees to their staff (if even paying them, in some cases they are not even paid).

 

In the philippines, it is common in the hotel industry to have lots of non paid interns, the most luxurious hotels employ a huge amount of staff that are doing their 'training period' and they are paid zero, you can find the same thing in some dive operations with the lovely young smiling ladies serving you drinks and food.

 

Wetpixel is organizing a trip in Dumaguete, I would recommend people going there to get very nice with the ladies at the bar and around and finding your way into figuring out how much they are paid (not so long ago was in the range of 100-120$ / month). Now translate that to the minimum wage for your respective country, there is mostly a 10x difference. If you leave a 500$ tip, would you leave a 5000$ tip in your country ?

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A tip is just that, "A pay on top of a wage for good service." Yes, Westerners are known to be tippers. On a dive boat the staff take care of our safety and well being. I have been on fantastic live a boards and horrible live a boards. I have seen boat crews totally trash a wet camera when it could have been saved if it was handled properly. I have seen no dive masters on dives. I have seen the only two people on nitrox the first ones out on a dive and no one going in to pull the inexperienced divers from the dive. I have also seen custom meals for people with dietary needs. I have seen malfunctioning equipment being repaired. There is more than good service associated with a tip on a live a board. It is our lives they are dealing with every day. It is also our responsibility, as divers from the Western world, to respect them as workers and the local culture. That is just as important as a tip. I do agree, we as Westerners, find it difficult to understand that a big tip for good service isn't always the right thing.

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Manaul, I agree with you regarding the 'privacy' of tips. I make sure to offer a tip when I'm somewhat removed from the rest of the group. The tip is between me and the divemaster/crew, the rest of divers should not play a role in how much I give. I think its more of a personal choice based on my experience on the dive.

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I was just looking at a link for diving with "Whales of the Silver Bank" in the Caribbean for a week on a live-aboard. The group that's chartering the week has the price for for boat listed at $2895 - $3295 per person. This is a snorkeling only week. They suggest 15% - 20% gratuity. 20% equals $580 - $660 tip per snorkeler. If running a full boat of 20 snorkelers, that's $11,600 - $13,200 in tips for the crew. If running with six crew members, this equals $1930 - $2200 tip for each crew member for the week...

 

Totally agree with everything that you have written. A complete joke.

 

 

Have they got any jobs going.

 

Stew

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I have been directed here from the JASA/DD thread.

 

It irks me when I see an expensive trip expecting 15% gratuities. If boat crew/DMs get such a crappy deal, and need tips to survive, then they need to change boats/operations. Too many people in this industry work for too little money, devaluing the job for the rest of us.

 

I worked as a dive guide/instructor for 3 years, and when we got tips it was nice, but I earned enough to pay my rent, food, beer etc. I didn't rely on tips to make ends meet.

 

So, when a trip is advertised for $3k, I expect the crew to be shit hot anyway, and tips should go to those who offer excellent service.

 

Recent trip to the Red Sea, we tipped the boat crew, because they were helpful, the food was good, and they were a laugh. The guide got nothing, as he didn't even seem he wanted to dive, and offered me no insight into what was available at sites.

A couple of years ago in Tulamben, I was told the guides get $1 per diver per dive, plus a basic pay that was enough for them to live on. I did around 20 dives with them, so tipped the guide £20, which he was made up with. I also paid for him to come to the big BBQ the resort arranged, as he told me it was too expensive for him to go to.

 

We had an American guy (didn't get many in Lanzarote) come diving with us, and by way of a tip he took us for a few beers, that was ample in my book. Nowhere near the 15% mark, but it showed he appreciated the job we did.

 

Different nationalities tip differently, and different countries have a different view of tipping. And the whole thing also varies with different people.

 

The long and short of it, for me, is that tips are for service above and beyond, not just for doing your job. You chose the job, along with its pay package.

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What about the Red Sea? What is the norm out there as regards tipping these days?

 

Generally, I find the Red Sea agents and operators are very transparent about tipping. At the end of the week a couple of envelopes appear; one marked 'Guide / Captain' and the other; 'Crew'. The suggested tip of 30 Euros (less than 5% of the charter fee) per guest in each envelope would seem to be appropriate given that more than 700 euros can be shared amongst the crew and a similar amount is shared between one or two guides and the captain. There is always room for personal tipping too and attentive serving staff, cabin boys and boat boys are usually worth a handfull of extra euros.

 

10% or 15% of $5k charter fees are unrealistic and I am very appreciative of this thread for drawing my attention to this practice. So when wishing to travel to unfamiliar destinations I'll be sure to determine the level of expected tipping and to make my decisions accordingly. Caveat emptor clearly applies...

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Now that the Aggressor Fleet is raising their prices significantly, are we supposed to raise the tipping too? I love the Okeanos and will be going back to the Cocos for the 12th time this Aug with a group I am leading but one thing I hate is that at the end of the trip you go in one at a time to pay your bar, souvenir tab and then are asked how much of a tip you want to put yourself down for. It feels very awkward to me.

Steve

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They want you to add a tip openly? How...odd. Unless you insist on paying with CC. If paying by cash, they should just give you an envelope. And if people feel bad about it, combine all the tips into 1 envelope.

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Do Americans tip air hostesses and pilots. No, why on earth not !!!!!

 

Imagine the crews tip on an A380.

 

Stew

Edited by stewsmith

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10% or 15% of $5k charter fees are unrealistic and I am very appreciative of this thread for drawing my attention to this practice. So when wishing to travel to unfamiliar destinations I'll be sure to determine the level of expected tipping and to make my decisions accordingly. Caveat emptor clearly applies...

I think the important thing to remember, is that no matter what the 'expected' tip is, it's ALWAYS voluntary, and ultimately always up to the individual's discretion. Unlike gratuity that's added into bills in many European restaurants, and some American restaurants (usually when parties exceed a certain number

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I think the important thing to remember, is that no matter what the 'expected' tip is, it's ALWAYS voluntary,

 

Not unless they keep reminding you and give you the feeling you are robbing them if you dont "tip"

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Do Americans tip air hostesses and pilots. No, why on earth not !!!!!

 

Imagine the crews tip on an A380.

 

Stew

Hey Stu,hope this is not getting into an American vs the rest thing again, I hardly see why Americans should catch flak for being generous, maybe even dumbly so. I'm not American, but even growing up in South Africa we tipped routinely, even if less generously than in the US. You can't walk 10 steps in South Africa without a tip being requested. For myself I mostly tip people who I assess to be significantly less fortunate than I am financially, and to whom I think I can make a significant contribution to their financial well being, for a job well done.

But hey as in the other contentious thread, different strokes.

Edited by loftus

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Not unless they keep reminding you and give you the feeling you are robbing them if you dont "tip"

Still voluntary, your choice....

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Hey Stu,hope this is not getting into an American vs the rest thing again, I hardly see why Americans should catch flak for being generous, maybe even dumbly so. I'm not American, but even growing up in South Africa we tipped routinely, even if less generously than in the US. You can't walk 10 steps in South Africa without a tip being requested. For myself I mostly tip people who I assess to be significantly less fortunate than I am financially, to whom I think I can make a significant contribution to their financial well being, for a job well done.

 

 

American V's the rest thing again... I dont know to what you refer Jeff. I was just saying Americans as they are the ones that generally tip. Why is everyone so bloody sensative. And I never implied that they are dumb either. I was asking what I thought was a valid question.

 

Amercians ( or what ever nationality ) tip taxi drivers and waiters, so do they tip air hostesses and pilots. Simple question. I am just trying to work out why tipping is selective, in that ( some nationalities ) tip some people but not others. ie tip a waiter but not an airhostess, tip a captain of a liveaboard but not a pilot of a plane.

 

Thats all I was saying. I wasnt trying to to cause world war 3

 

And its Stew not Stu. :P Geoff, I mean Jeff

 

Stew

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American V's the rest thing again... I dont know to what you refer Jeff. I was just saying Americans as they are the ones that generally tip. Why is everyone so bloody sensative. And I never implied that they are dumb either. I was asking what I thought was a valid question.

 

Amercians ( or what ever nationality ) tip taxi drivers and waiters, so do they tip air hostesses and pilots. Simple question. I am just trying to work out why tipping is selective, in that ( some nationalities ) tip some people but not others. ie tip a waiter but not an airhostess, tip a captain of a liveaboard but not a pilot of a plane.

 

Thats all I was saying. I wasnt trying to to cause world war 3

 

And its Stew not Stu. :P Geoff, I mean Jeff

 

Stew

No worries; I think Americans generally tip the same people that others do, except maybe more generously or what some would consider excessively. I don't think tipping is uniquely American. I will agree on one thing; it really bugs me ANYTIME I am actually asked for a tip, whether it's in a restaurant or on a boat.

Best Regards,

Godfrey (Gottfried to some) :)

Edited by loftus

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