My biggest issue with tipping isn't the concept, it's the assumption of common knowledge. If tipping is expected, then I'd better be told upfront
that it's expected, or else I'm not going to know that I'm "supposed" to tip (and I'm not going to do it). Hardly anywhere bothers to make this clear, however. Anyone who grew up in the U.S. knows about tipping waitstaff at a restaurant because it's so common, but chartering or hired skippering isn't exactly something that most of the country grows up around. If I didn't know any better, I would treat it the same way I treat a plumber or an accountant or an attorney or a doctor—they tell me how much it costs, and I pay them that amount.
If hired skippering wants to operate on a different price model, that's fine and I have no problem with it. Some places actually do this, but rarely do they make it as clear as it should be (Blue Water Sailing School
, for example, at least has
a reference to tipping—it's buried in their FAQ, and is only obliquely referenced on their pricing pages, but it's at least somewhere
, so a person like me who is actually trying to find out about them in a non-lazy fashion would know in advance that it's part of the expectation. Other places, however (like Black Rock Sailing School
in Boston, to pick one at random on the Googles), either make no mention of it at all or have it so deeply buried that I can't find it. So if I were looking to take a course at Black Rock, I have no idea if a gratuity is expected to be part of that transaction—and I wouldn't provide one, as a result (unless it was so great that I felt they deserved someone on top of the agreed upon price on the basis of sheer outstandingness).