Charter Boat Tipping Etiquette: How to Tip Your Private Charter Captain

Chartering a boat is one of the best ways to spend a day on the water. But if it’s your first time, you’re probably curious about charter boat tipping etiquette. 

Sound familiar? If so, you’re in the right place. This article reveals the ins and outs of charter boat tipping etiquette. Stay tuned to discover how much to tip a boat captain. 

Captaining a Private Charter

So, before we dive into how much to tip a boat captain, what does captaining a private charter entail? (Well, aren’t we glad you asked!) 

Depending on the crew size, charter captains take on various roles. Generally, their primary jobs include steering the ship and handling all boating operations. But of course, they also ensure that passengers have boatloads of fun. 

Because charter captains are fairly busy, it’s not uncommon for them to delegate tasks to their crew. Standard boat duties include: 

  • Setting the itinerary and being the tour guide: This includes planning the route, scouting cool sightseeing spots, and locating docks and/or ports to make photo-worthy stops.
  • Operating the boat: Captains are responsible for keeping an eye on the weather forecast. Safety always comes first on board, and captains should inform guests of emergency procedures. They also need to ensure that all safety gear functions as it should. 
  • Acting as customer liaison: Captains should provide top-notch customer service. And, of course, crew members are here to help with this. 

The captain’s services depend on how long the boating excursion lasts. And for longer trips, captains take on additional tasks:  

  • Maintaining the boat: Generally, this includes cleaning the vessel and handling minor repairs. 
  • Providing food and refreshments: Whether they’re whipping up grub on board or stopping at a dock-and-dine restaurant, captains should ensure their passengers are happy and satisfied.  

How Much Do You Tip A Boat Captain?

Now that you know what it takes to run a successful boat charter, how much do you tip a boat captain? Well, the answer to that question depends on what kind of boat charter you’re on: 

Luxury Boat or Yacht Charter

Yacht charters are the epitome of relaxation and luxury. For that reason, they are often equipped with a friendly crew, a large deck, ample seating, and in some cases, a professional chef. 

On a luxury charter, tipping depends on the quality of service you receive. Generally, people tip around 10-20 percent of the charter’s total cost. Note that the captain might distribute a percentage of the tip to the rest of their crew, depending on their contributions and duration of service. 

Boat Tipping Etiquette

Fishing Boat Charter

If you’re interested in fishing, chartering a fishing boat is an experience unlike any other. 

Usually, tipping 10-20 percent of the charter’s total cost is proper charter fishing boat tipping etiquette (and 15 percent is generally considered the norm.) Additionally, note that the captain will likely share those earnings with their crew!

Learn More About Fishing Boats

Tipping Etiquette to Consider When Chartering A Boat

Planning on chartering a boat? Familiarize yourself with charter boat tipping etiquette before you go:

  • Come prepared and know how you prefer to tip: Cash is usually king, but wire transfers will do the trick if you don’t feel like carrying around a wad of bills. 
  • Wait until the end of your trip: You don’t want to tip your captain until your experience has ended. Take your time and make sure they return you to dry land first! 
  • Tip the captain directly: Even if there’s additional crew onboard, you want to tip your captain directly. This ensures that everyone gets a fair portion.
  • Match the quality of service you received: If the captain went above and beyond during your experience, consider leaving them a larger tip as a token of your appreciation.
  • Ask for clarification: Ask the charter firm (or the captain themselves) about their tipping policy.

Consider Tipping Extra for Excellent Service

As you probably already know, deciding how much to tip depends on several factors. How long were you on the charter? What was the quality of service you received? How experienced was the captain? 

Guests might tip less if they attended a shorter charter or their captain was inattentive. 

However, we recommend tipping more if you attended a longer, high-quality charter with an experienced and attentive captain. Remember that fantastic service isn’t necessarily a given. But when it does occur, generously tipping your captain is an excellent way to thank them for the experience.  

Did this blog inspire you to charter a boat? Find charters near you on our website!

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