The average tip a crew receives at the end of a charter is normally between five and 10 per cent, David Price, yacht charter manager at Hill Robinson, tells The Superyacht Owner. It should also, he adds, be given to the captain directly for equal distribution among the crew. “I make a point of finding out how much the tip is. That way it is shared evenly among the crew. Captains are instructed to share equally to the entire crew,” he says.

There have been occasions when guests have requested specific amounts go to individual crewmembers, but this is rarely adhered to. “Guests ask for this, but the captain will distribute evenly. Hill Robinson will intervene otherwise. A successful charter is a crew team effort,” adds Price.

One superyacht captain, of a 60m charter motoryacht, tells The Superyacht Owner he has had the same request made at the end of a charter. “I have frequently had charters hand over the tip at the end of the charter and start to explain which crewmembers should get what, but I stop them in their tracks and explain that our policy is to split it equally.”

However, the pot that is split equally, in some cases, is less than it was previously, adds the captain. “Many charterers have a fixed figure in their head for the whole charter out of which everything, including crew tip, should be settled. As more costs get added on to their charter, like VAT now in the Med, less of that figure is left at the end and so the crew tip gets inevitably squeezed.” Another reason crew tips are getting smaller, he adds, is down to brokers offering discounts on the advertised charter rate.

Crew need to realise the tip is not guaranteed, but given if the client and his or guests had a good time and felt like they were well looked after."
- David Price, yacht charter manager, Hill Robinson

Crew tips are generally expected these days, but we should remember that the tip is a form of gratuity for excellent service. “Sadly, tipping has become expected, and I expect there are some captains who go back to the client and ask for more if they don’t feel what is left is enough,” concludes Price. “Crew need to realise the tip is not guaranteed, but given if the client and his or guests had a good time and felt like they were well looked after.”

There are some ways the industry works to incentivise crew on charter, aside from just the tip at the end. Fraser Yachts runs its annual Captains’ Dinner awards during the Monaco Yacht Show, whereby charter crew are given awards based on real feedback. In addition, Camper & Nicholsons runs its annual Crew Stars competition, whereby crewmembers and their yachts are voted for on a Facebook group, which includes crew agents, brokers and even charter guests and owners.

Alison Rentoul, crew performance engineer for Camper & Nicholsons and owner of The Crew Coach, believes more obvious and genuine recognition is the way forward. “Crew might actually get more pleasure out of just doing the job well and then receiving the recognition from the guests. And if they get money on top of that then that’s a bonus, and that’s really how it should be,” she explains. “I really think that guests who stand there on the aft deck and genuinely say thank you, crew really take that to heart.”