Ed Hamilton & Co.


Tipping Etiquette for Private Crewed Yacht Charters

Unless the gratuity is included in your crewed yacht charter, which is very rare and always clearly stated, it is expected that charter guests tip the crew at the end of the charter.

Tips can make up a large portion of a crew’s pay. By keeping it as a separate item, the charterer can reward a crew that has done a fabulous job and a crew can feel that if they go the extra mile, they have a chance of getting a bonus for their extra efforts.

How much should you give? For private yachts in the Caribbean, the range is 10 to 20 percent of the charter fee; while tipping etiquette in the Mediterranean is 5%-15%. If the charter fee does not include meals, the tip should be based on just the boat fee. There is some variation on this rule of thumb, we’re always happy to confirm the appropriate gratuity range for your crew. 

Using the Caribbean as an example, if you feel the crew has done a good job, 20% is a good tip – by giving 15%, you are telling the crew that things were OK but not perfect. Leaving a tip of 10% sends the message that while the crew did their job, service was noticeably lacking. 

These guidelines are the same for hired crews or owner-operators. Many of the owner-operators work hard to cover the cost of the cruising lifestyle they have chosen and don’t have the funds of an absentee owner who might have invested in a boat just for personal vacations. There are of course exceptions – not all absentee owners are wealthy or owner/operators broke, but the same rules apply regarding gratuities!

Unless you have strong opinions, give just one gratuity to the captain, which the crew will divide up between themselves. While crews prefer cash of course, please check with us for the alternative payment method that will work for you crew.  For large charters where the tip can run well into five figures, it is obviously impractical to use cash, and tips are often wired to the boat at the end of the charter.

Please don’t be one of those charterers that try to trick the system. We have had guests write copious, glowing notes in the yacht’s logbook and even on the post charter form they send to us when they return home, yet they walk off the boat without leaving a gratuity that adequately reflects the service they received. 

We try hard to make sure you know about the gratuity at the very beginning of the booking process, so you can budget in this cost when selecting a boat in your price range. We also include it in the cost summary we send with the contract, to look over before confirming.

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding crew gratuities.