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End of contract bonus/private tips
Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:01 PM
Joined: 28/03/2013
Posts: 7

Good day,


I would appreciate some experienced crews input.


For the last three years I have been Captain of a 20m yacht, I am the first and only crewmember the owner has hired. In this time we have got on well. I was rehired after an initial trial season and have worked hard with continual great feedback. In addition to many owner and family trips (about 4 months/year) I have also managed a major refit which the owner is very happy with.


As part of the deal, I was promised a bonus for completing the contract and getting the yacht back to our homeport safely after extensive cruising on both sides of the pond. The only thing not agreed upon was the amount the bonus would be. I have now received an excellent written reference and the owner and his family are genuinely happy with me.


However, I have now received my bonus which was 2000USD, my pay is 5400USD/month. 


How would you feel about this bonus? 


I was expecting between 1 and 3 months pay. Do you think my expectations are realistic? I want to discuss this with the owner but don't want to come across as an ungrateful ****** and sour what has been, otherwise, a great three years.




Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2018 7:59 AM

I noted that the era of generous tips, bonus and salaries somehow is close to it's end.

 Anyway in your case if the amount of the bonus was not well agreed in advance it remained at the sole discretion of the owner.

 Before going to claim for it you have to evaluate if a couple of thousand of dollars worth more than a good relationship with your owner and the job on what you consider a good boat.

 Remember that there is always something better in the market, but unfortunately there is also something much worse.

Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2018 12:12 PM
Joined: 02/08/2017
Posts: 1

While I'm sure it feels like you are being screwed over and I personally understand the feeling, the simple fact is that you did not discuss or negotiate up front about what the bonus would be, which ultimately led to this situation.

Additionally, you got paid during the entire time and were always expected to do your best and to complete the various assigned tasks perfectly, which I'm assuming you did as you're no in receipt of a great reference. 


The bonus is 37% of a months salary and is an extra... 


The fact is, you're employed to do a great job and for that you agreed to a salary, so essentially anything over and above that is exactly that, a bonus. 


I'm wondering what you thought would be a good bonus? 


Captain's and crews are hired, just like regular employees, to do great work and to perform, which it sounds like you did. 


Project Managers usually have clear targets wrt to time and cost and often receive bonuses based on better than expected performance and time and cost savings, but it's always negotiated up front. 


Practically, you might be able to chat to the owner about it, but there is huge risk in souring your relationship and given that you're at the start of your career, I'd advise you look ahead and use this as a lesson to be remembered next time you are offered a potential bonus.

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 4:08 PM
Joined: 28/03/2013
Posts: 7

thanks for your replies.

This has really split opinion with all my captain friends, half say they would be outraged and confront the owner and the other half say its a bonus, so just be happy even if it isn't a big bonus.

The boss is a good guy who i happily worked for over three years and i want to remain on good friendly terms with him so i will say nothing unless he randomly brings it up. I really think that he thinks its a great bonus and would be upset if he knew it wasn't which is what complicates the matter for me.

A captain on the dock here said he felt for me as he got "screwed over" big time by his last boss of eight years who "didn't even give a years salary", he got 9 months salary as a bonus.... 

Matthew, how would you go about negotiating a bonus in advance? Just asking what they think a reasonable one is and getting it in writing? 

Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2018 10:58 PM
Joined: 15/12/2013
Posts: 39

Others love to tell you to go confront the owner when, if it was them, no way they would. Don't listen to those trying to stir things up. I have no idea the level of work or quality of work you did. I know people who get $1000 holiday bonuses and others who get $5000. The thing is you didn't negotiate an amount, the owner had no contractual obligation to provide anything so accept the $2000 graciously as a gift. Next time look at the entire compensation package. I find $5400 a month low but then I'm use to dealing with US flagged boats and US Captains, subject to US taxes. I don't know what your situation was. You say excellent feedback and reference and now is not the time to go messing all that up. You could turn a positive situation into a negative quickly. If I was renewing with the owner, I might suggest a little salary increase would be in order based on your performance.
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