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Tipping on a charter


315angler

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Hoping to get some feedback on charter etiquette. Got into a discussion w a friend about how much to tip a charter. The charters I have been on we never knew what to do so tipped like at a restaurant like 20% of the cost of the trip. My friend is planning a charter and thought this was absurd because charters are expensive. Just looking for some feedback on what is expected/ what is the norm? Any feedback is appreciated thanks so much.

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I tip only if the service is good.  Good fishing can make up for poor service, but only to a point in my eyes.  If the overall experience isnt good, then I wont tip.  Just like at a restaurant.  I wont tip at all if the service is bad

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If the captain busts his butt, you absolutely should tip him. Its a service .... Similar to a server in a restaurant.... Despite what people think, Charter Captains don't make a lot of money. Between fuel, insurance, gear replacement, paying a mate, and all the other expenses of boat maintenance..... The old saying is totally true. B.O.A.T - break out another thousand. Have a great time on your trip.

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I agree the cost of a trip (gas, tackle, maintenance) doesn't leave much left for profit.

$500 might seem like a lot of money, but if you burn $150 in gas, $20 in bait, $30 to $50

in maintenance (averaged over many trips), insurance, certification, any lost tackle/leaders,

the cost is probably at least $300 or more, for about 8 hours of fishing.  That means you

might make $200 in 10 hours (captain needs to be there 1 hr before and after trip) - and you

still have to pay a first mate $100. So You make $100 in 10 hours - below minimum wage.

And that doesn't even include amortization of the boat. So you paid $60k for the boat and it's going

to last 10 years? That's $6000 per year you are burning up in depreciation. 60 trips per year is a lot, but say that many, is $100 per trip.  That leaves $0 for the captain.

 

They don't do it to get rich.

 

If they worked hard, you should tip minimum 10%, average 15%. If you were lucky and caught a bunch of great fish on top - at least 20%.

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The IRS Office suspected a fishing boat owner wasn't paying proper wages to his deckhand and sent an agent to investigate him.

IRS Auditor: "I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them."

Boat Owner: " Well, there's Clarence, my deckhand, he's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $1,000 a week plus free room and board.

Then there's the mentally challenged guy... He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of the work around here.

He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of Bundaberg Rum and a dozen Crown Lagers every Saturday night so he can cope with life... He also gets to sleep with my wife occasionally."

IRS Auditor: "That's the guy I want to talk to - the mentally challenged one."

Boat Owner: "That'll be me. What'd you want to know"?

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The tip is for the mate at least that what the guy I mate for does and he gives me 50 on top of that for a half day trip and I bust my butt setting,cleaning and put different stuff out if something not working well basically never stop moving 15% is good if fish are getting in the boat

Edited by darkwater1
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I work on a boat the runs 160 to 180 trips per year if your charter has a mate on board tipping the mate 75 / 100 a day is not out if the ordinary having. Captain and mate on the boat for the trip adds to the experience and specially if it ruff out . Regardless how good the fishing is should have nothing. To do how you tip . No matter. What we give are all the give the customers A memorable experience.

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I do a lot of off shore salt water fishing for tuna and wahoo. The trips are very expensive. A 24 hour tuna trip to the canyons runs 3600.00 on average. All of the boats we sail with require a 20% tip of the cost of the trip for the mate as the captains pay them nothing. That comes to a tip of 720.00 for the mate for his time prior to the boat sailing as well as the cleaning of fish and cleaning of the boat once back at the dock. The mates average 30 hours of work for a 24 hour trip. If you do the math, they are making 24.00 an hour while the captain keeps the full fare.The 3600.00 trip really costs 4320.00 no matter how you slice it. In my opinion, 20% on a Lake Ontario trip sounds fair.

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I do a lot of off shore salt water fishing for tuna and wahoo. The trips are very expensive. A 24 hour tuna trip to the canyons runs 3600.00 on average. All of the boats we sail with require a 20% tip of the cost of the trip for the mate as the captains pay them nothing. That comes to a tip of 720.00 for the mate for his time prior to the boat sailing as well as the cleaning of fish and cleaning of the boat once back at the dock. The mates average 30 hours of work for a 24 hour trip. If you do the math, they are making 24.00 an hour while the captain keeps the full fare.The 3600.00 trip really costs 4320.00 no matter how you slice it. In my opinion, 20% on a Lake Ontario trip sounds fair.

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Well said matter fact when the fishings tougher we work harder to try to put more fish in the boat then when the fish are biting and we don't have to work so hard

I do a lot of off shore salt water fishing for tuna and wahoo. The trips are very expensive. A 24 hour tuna trip to the canyons runs 3600.00 on average. All of the boats we sail with require a 20% tip of the cost of the trip for the mate as the captains pay them nothing. That comes to a tip of 720.00 for the mate for his time prior to the boat sailing as well as the cleaning of fish and cleaning of the boat once back at the dock. The mates average 30 hours of work for a 24 hour trip. If you do the math, they are making 24.00 an hour while the captain keeps the full fare.The 3600.00 trip really costs 4320.00 no matter how you slice it. In my opinion, 20% on a Lake Ontario trip sounds fair.

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Do you tip the Captain & the mate? You already are paying for the charter service, which the Captain set his prices on & gets his $$ for sure. The mate is working setting lines & doing most of the work on the trip if he is doing his job. I have been on hunting trips where the "guides" did nothing but show us the stands we would hunt from, They did not get a tip & we did not return! jmo.

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Lineman that's a good follow up question I can't remember how it was handled I haven't been in so long. Does the tip go to the mate or to captain to give to mate?

Prob directly to mate right?

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I would personally never hire a charter operator who has a "forced gratuity" policy. It's not up for the captain to dictate how much the tip should be. The service should dictate the tip. If the captain wants to make sure the mate gets paid a certain amount, then he should pay him that amount. I work to dam hard for my money. Dam if I'm going to be forced to give it to someone else if they don't earn it. FWIW I've never had a lazy deck hand, and have always tipped well. But I won't be strong armed

Edited by jigstick
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The Captain we fish with every year gets a nice tip from my friends and i regardless of how many fish we catch.He works his butt off to put us on fish and he isn't afraid to pick up and run offshore if he gets a good report.He also cleans and bags our fish which is nice and he's a great guy to talk to.Sometimes the bite is tough and no matter what he tries the fishing just sucks.I think it's more of the experience rather than the catching that to many people get wrapped up in.

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I've found the best practice is to be honest when contacting captains.  Tell your friend to let them know he wants to book the trip of a lifetime but wont be tipping because he feels their price is absurd.

 

When he finds the right charter to book they should both be very happy.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I only been on one charter . the weather was bad and the fishing was worse . the four of us paid for the charter and gave the mate 100 bucks  on way off the boat . that mate work his butt off in down pouring rain . that's been 20 years ago been fishing trout and salmon on our own ever cents

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