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Captain & Crew Gratuities (Tips): How much?

Everything you need to know about tipping etiquette on a yacht charter


You’ve just enjoyed the luxury yacht vacation of a lifetime and now you want to thank the crew for helping to make your time onboard so memorable, but what is the accepted amount? And how should you pay it? 

Tips are usually discretionary based on the level of service you have received, but there is a bit of a grey area with regards to how much. Read our guide on everything you need to know about crew gratuities on your luxury yacht charter.

Why tip?

The superyacht industry is a service-based industry at its core, with a crew of highly-trained professionals at your disposal for the entirety of your vacation. As such, tipping them for a job well done is customary practice on a yacht charter. 

Who gets the tip?

Most charter yachts distribute the tips equally between each crew member, regardless of their role. This is because it takes a team to ensure the overall success of a yacht charter, rather than any particular individual. 

A guest shakes hands with a deck hand on a yacht's swim platform
Stewardesses chatting onboard a yachtA captain poses next to a yacht

It can often be tempting to tip the most visible crew members, such as the stewardesses and deckhands, however less visible crew members, such as the crew chef or engineer, work just as hard behind the scenes to make the charter a memorable experience for both you and your guests.

How much?

The worldwide yachting association (MYBA) has made things a little easier by issuing tipping policy guidelines that recommend a gratuity of between 5 to 15% of the base charter cost, with 10% being the standard based on a week-long yacht charter. 

However, it’s important to remember that cultural differences can sometimes come into play when it comes to gratuities. For instance, an American crew will expect a tip of no less than 15%, whereas a European crew are usually content with a tip between 5 to 10%.

Seasons and destinations

Often the amount to tip can vary depending on the season and destination of the charter. For example, the most popular time to charter in the Mediterranean usually coincides with their high season, and as such the gratuities tend to be higher commensurate with the yacht’s base charter fee, whilst the winter rates in the Caribbean season are generally lower. 

That said, in the Mediterranean the gratuites are generally worked out at the lower end of the recommended percentage, while tips for charters around the US and Caribbean are often calculated at the upper end of the scale. So, it all balances out in the end!

Crew on board a superyacht posing for a group photo on the bridge deck in their formal charter uniform

Obviously, the amount to tip is entirely at your discretion, and if you feel you have received top-notch service from the crew throughout the charter, then by all means reward them for all their hard work. Conversely, if you are in any way disappointed with the level of service you have received then the tip should reflect that.

When do I pay it?

It is customary for any tipping to take place at the end of the charter and to be presented to the captain (see below), who will then divide it among the crew. 

How do I pay it?

On smaller charter yachts, the tip is typically collected amongst the guests and presented to the captain for distribution, but the crew gratuity can also be deducted from the Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) at the end of a charter, with any credit balance from the APA to be returned to you. 

Close up of a captain's hat in a yacht's bridge

Alternatively, to avoid carrying large amounts of cash the crew gratuity can be held in escrow with your on-shore broker for distribution once the charter has ended, subject to your agreement.

Need more advice?

For more advice about tipping etiquette on your luxury yacht charter, please speak with your preferred yacht charter broker.

For any further information about booking or chartering a luxury yacht, please take a look at our comprehensive advice guides.

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