A huge part of the Below Deck is the presentation of the tip. The main guest of the charter will present the captain with a fat (or less fat) white envelope of cash. The tip money is not revealed until the crew meets after the guests’ departure.
An envelope is always presented. Guests never hand the captain a cheque or let the crew know that they plan to hand over some cash. While the presentation of the envelope is typically very discreet, one guest gave Captain Lee Rosbach a tip in private. But then he took out a stack because of the WiFi laggy and the food.
The guest was Timothy Sykes, who is still Rosbach’s worst host. Sykes is the only guest who made that move. Fortunately, the rest of the guests thanked the crew and simply handed the envelope over to the captain. But is a cash tip a custom for Yacht Charter vacationers who aren’t on a reality TV show? Also, what is the usual tip amount?
Even in the age of electronics, according to Boat, cash is still a custom when it comes to tipping a yacht. In some cases, the broker allows the guest to transfer the money in advance. This allows you to avoid travelling with a large amount of cash.
“Alternatively, clients can pay a tip in advance to the broker to keep as collateral to avoid carrying a large amount of cash. Once the charter is complete, the client will let me know how much to pay the crew (based on any leftovers from APA) and I can return the difference to the client,” said Maggie Vale of Churchill Yacht Partners at Boat.
Also, as can be seen on below deck, tips are given to the captain. “Yes, all tips must be given directly to the captain so that he can divide the amount among the entire crew. It’s important to remember that there may be crews who have worked as hard as others, but who have been less visible during the trip,” reports Boat.
Below Deck: How much to tip?
Below Deck crew members appear to be receiving $15,000 to $30,000 in tips for a three-day charter. Yacht brokers suggest tipping from 5% to 20% of the basic charter fee, Boat recommends. Interestingly, “it is usually towards the lower end of that scale in the Mediterranean and higher up in the United States and the Caribbean. Spectators in the Mediterranean below deck probably remember that the crew received the largest tip to date of $27,000.
The boat reports that 20 years ago the trend was to leave a tip closer to 25%. Problems arose when crews expected bigger tips and were disappointed when they did not receive the 25% tip. In fact, Boat reports that some of them were quite disappointed. That’s why the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) has created guidelines on tipping policy that keep the amounts of tips between 5% and 15%.
Below deck viewers also notice that the crew distributes the tip evenly. In some cases it is clear that certain crew members worked harder (or were ill) during the charter, but still received the same amount of tip money. According to Boot, this is common practice.