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Sharing Tips
Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:09 PM

Dear Crew Confessor,

Recently I was hired to do a temp stew job for a night time cruise.  Of course my work began long before the guests arrival and ended hours after their departure.   My assignment was to be the bartender and as such I had more than average "face time" with the charter clients.  At the end of the evening the man who had clearly been the host of the cocktail cruise pulled me aside and gave me nearly a thousand dollars.  Of course I thanked him, the whole group couldn't have been nicer and they were a pleasure to serve.  After they left I went into the galley where the crew was hanging out, everyone in the sort of upbeat happy mood you find after a charter, no matter how brief, ends.  I asked the Captain what the policy was on board, if tips were divided equally?  I knew this had been a corporate charter and typically the tip is just put in the contract.  My intention was to proudly offer the "extra" that I had gotten to the pot.  His response?  "Oh, temp/day workers don't get any tips, tips are just for regular crew."  

My question Crew Confessor is this:  was I wrong to keep the money and not say a word about it?


I Kept the Money

Crew Confessor
Posted: Thursday, November 27, 2008 9:15 PM
Joined: 20/11/2008
Posts: 94

Dear Kept the Money,

It is unfortunate that the Captain felt that the team work concept only applied to part of his team. If the Captain was swept overboard would it be only "regular" crew who were obligated to save him. Extreme perhaps but on a yacht, team work isn't just about everyone checking to make sure the heads are operating, it can have serious implications. In a more mundane sense when you are "on charter" everyone is (or should be) working their butts off, all for a common goal of making sure the guests are pleased as can be, the vessel is able to operate safely with all systems working and safety for all passengers. For these and other reasons I oppose yacht policies that do not give a standard share of the gratuity to temporary/short term workers employed by the vessel. They are working as hard or harder than the regular crew AND most of them are looking for a full time job and paying for their shore based expenses, never sure when their next freelance gig will be or when they'll find a full time job. You should have had every expectation of earning a gratuity, after all it was a charter. The Captain should have made his policy clear before you accepted the job. I do not fault you for keeping the money. You did not say if you were the only temp worker that day. If there were others you should have shared the tip with them, fair is fair, after all. Captains: How do you feel about this? Crew: Has this ever happened to you when you were freelancing?
Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2008 12:09 PM

The tip, if given by the principle charter guest was clearly given for the whole crew (he wouldnt know or probably even care who is temp or full time crew) so, regardless of the Captains view, by keeping the tip, you probably pocketed the rest of the crews tip.

Posted: Sunday, December 14, 2008 4:22 AM
as per the captains point of view, keep the tip, several captain i have worked with in the past change the tipping policy often. 2 have even gotten fired for keeping tips from the crew. the captain should have mentioned the tipping policy when you got hired NOT after the charter keep it and do not mention it to anybody
Crew Confessor
Posted: Monday, December 15, 2008 4:17 AM
Joined: 20/11/2008
Posts: 94

To the previous anonymous posters: Poster #1) Key here is that this was a corporate charter with a built in gratuity. Poster #2) I don't have much patience for Captains who alter their tipping policy on the fly. And why anyone would work under a Captain that does not believe in splitting the tips equally I'll never know. Often the crew on the bottom of the totem pole work the hardest on charter and the fact is that if you have more experience and/or seniority on board you are getting paid more in salary. Tips should be equally divided amongst the crew on charter and I'm sure there are lots of Captains who disagree but I think it's the right thing to do, I'm just sayin.
Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2009 8:04 AM

Well, it think if the tip was for the whole crew it would have been given to the capt to divi up or the guest maybe would have mentioned it was for the whole crew, at least you asked the Capt what the policy was in regards to the tip as your intentions were good.  With that response from the Capt, i would have done the same thing, is the capt gonna chase you down to give you a tip when the charter has been settled, I DONT THINK SO.  Or did he mention that a tip was going to be given to you when he fixed you up at the end of the charter?????  Im sure the other crew members who sat in the crew mess for the whole charter watching movies etc worked hard that night making sure the guests we having a good time and that their drinks were full etc......

Dont loose sleep over this, just dont tell anyone it was you.


Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2009 9:19 AM
The trusty crew confessor gives good advice.  Many times as captain I have the most face time and receive this big wad of cash.  Tips are shared out  to all crew, irrespective  of  face time.  The engineer may very well have spent two  18 hr days bringing the new  sound system on line for the trip.  The Stewardess might have double timed it to bring the yacht up to standard.  The  Chef stressed out as usual.   All tips go into the cookie jar and are distributed to crew in a transparent manner, this includes the tip for temp crew.  Don't break this cycle.
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 2:43 AM
Joined: 24/11/2008
Posts: 20

Splitting tips is tough, I would say that in most cases they shoud be split evenly, but there are exceptions to the rule. As an Engineer I'm often the one who doesn't see much of the guests, doesn't have to stay up until 3am serving drinks or sit on the back of a jet ski for 4 hours, and I have known some cases where an 'extra' tip was given to the interior crew, which was then split evenly, and I've felt guilty about taking their money. It's a hard call, but I think that if I was really bothered about getting the extra cash in the pocket, then I'd go and be a stew, although in all likeliness I'd be such a bad one that I'd never get a tip anyway!
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:09 AM
Joined: 24/07/2008
Posts: 5

I agree with most of what is written. However, sometimes it takes a little more than just turning up on the day to get an equal share of a tip. I'm sure temp crew work just as hard as regular crew on the night but they probably get a few days off before and after their next gig anyway (through no fault of their own). Regular charter crew work all year round with very few days off in between and the tip I feel covers this. As a regular temp for the same boat a share of some of the tip is fair enough but to come on a week charter out of the whole year and expect a couple of extra grand well its a tough call. I want everyone to make as much money as they can and just be happy. All I'm saying is some consideration must be given to the countless days of preperation that go into getting that tip. If you think the salary covers that fair enough but a charter boat in my experience works a lot harder ALL year round and the tips cover that. Maybe before you're employed as a temp a deal of say 20% of the tip could be yours???? It all depends on the situation I suppose.
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 4:30 AM
Yeah well Timo, while you are working full time on a that busy charter yacht YOU are getting paid ALL THE TIME, and getting your ROOM and BOARD paid for. The freelance people? Well sometimes they're really busy, and sometimes not so much. Unlike many full time yacht crew they are maintaining homes ashore, and even the very busy ones may go for extended periods of time with no work. Good freelancers who can step on a boat and assess what is needed and get along with the existing crew, and really do a great job are a breed apart --- and worth their weight in gold. They earn every euro/dollar of their equal share of the tips. Timo, what part of "they are not a salaried, full time, all expense paid, health insurance, vacation etc... crew member" don't you understand? Do you really want to begrudge that person, the hired gun, part of a gratuity that they so obviously deserve?
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