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Old 10-19-2008
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How much to Tip at Harbor?

So I'm new to cruising this summer, and I've been wondering:
1. When to tip, when not to tip?
2. How much to tip?
3. Does it matter if I'm at my homeport or visiting a port?

First, at my home port, where I see the same guys/gals every week, do I tip them with each launch service, or do I wait till the of the season? Or don't tip at all? In either case, how much?

Secondly at a visiting port...do you tip for the return of a round trip only, or each 1-way?

Do you tip every person who helps you at a marina or harbor whether they're a harbormaster/assistant or a marina person?

Does the percentage or dollar amount vary depending on if it's a dockhand or launch person?

I don't want to be rude, but I also don't want to look like a fool or pay more than is customary.
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Personally, I only tip if I get service above what is part of the fee I pay. It's certainly a nice gesture to tip or give a gift once a season at your homeport, but it's not something, I at least, feel is required.
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This is a very good question. Last year when in St. Augustine I stopped at a Marina there. A dockhand helped secure my boat, directed me to the nearest restrooms, the water and power hook-ups...the usual. I got the feeling that he was expecting a tip. I did not tip him but thought afterwards I should have. My feeling has been that Americans tip too much but when in Rome ...etc. I paid $80+ per night to the Marina and I did not need the assistance docking but still felt guilty enough that next time I will. It would be nice to hear how others deal with these situations so that we can get some sort of consensis.
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As a dockhand...I can tell you that in visiting marinas a tip of a couple of bucks on up to 5 bucks for those that REALLY help you is appreciated upon arrival. It is also RARE to get one from a sailor...and normal to get one from a power boater. Don't ask me why...just the way it is.
I would not feel obligated to tip anyone who did not greet you in a friendly manner and do more than take a couple of lines around a cleat. But when someone is friendly, sticks around to help with spring lines, fenders and electric/water connections and marina and local advice...it is a good thing to encourage that kind of service.
My particular pet peeve is those who call in and ask us to stick around after closing time for their late arrival and then simply say thanks! Ditto those who come in, in a storm or squall and leave us soaking wet with the same end result after wrestling them into their slip.

I don't know what the routine is on launch services as a local, and I would suggest asking other local owners, but as a transient I always tipped the kid a few bucks per round trip.
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cam - I would guess that most powerboats are a tad more flush than sailors. Anyone that can afford $1,000 fill-ups, certainly has more spare cash than I do
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer View Post
cam - I would guess that most powerboats are a tad more flush than sailors. Anyone that can afford $1,000 fill-ups, certainly has more spare cash than I do
OTOH, you're out cruising, and the dockhands are doing a tough job for minimum wage ... I'm with Cam and figure that what is a small amount of money for me will really make some kid's day, and encourage future "above and beyond" service.
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Actually, PBZ's not cruising, he is on a boat so the authorities have a harder time figuring out where he is...
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Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Actually, PBZ's not cruising, he is on a boat so the authorities have a harder time figuring out where he is...
IF that were true, it would be all the more reason to want to be remembered fondly: "Huh? Aria? Gee officer, we get so many boats in here, I just don' remember any partickler one" vs: "Aria? Yeah, I remember the cheap SOB"

Actuall, not the case, we've met John IRL and he's not bad for a conservative
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I occasionally go to downtown annapolis by boat and get a slip at a marina that charges me $20 for two hours. The slip I get doesn't have docklines and is ordinarily too big, so the help from the dockhand is really appreciated. I generally tip $5. Does that seem reasonable? To me it often doesn't seem like enough, but $10 seems like toomuch and something like $7 seems cheesy.
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This side of the pond, and in northern climes, tipping is less common.... that may explain why there are very few dockhands. If you get some help with lines, it will be from another yachtie, whereby a sailor is more likely to help than a motor boater. The harbour masters don't seem to expect tips but compensate by increasing the fees each year and they provide little more than advice, and only if you ask the right questions.
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