Q: Anonymous, Junior Deckhand, 24:
"I spent a huge amount of time with the charterer’s kids this trip, and he passed me an extra thousand euros on the way to the airport and said it made all the difference to their holiday.
The First Mate saw this and told me to keep it, but then I got back to the boat and the 2nd stew had told everyone the charterer gave her extra money too, and has volunteered to share it. We’ll all get an extra 100 once it was divided, so who cares? She should have just kept it, and I want to keep mine but now feel bad. Who’s right? What do crew normally do with extra tips?"
A: The Crew Coach:
This is a wonderful question as I’m sure there’s not one person in yachting who hasn’t encountered this at some point- especially when we’ve gone above and beyond and the guest has made it very clear that it was us who made his or her holiday special. So I’m going to tell you something that someone once pointed out to me.
Would the guest have tipped at all if the toilets weren’t working? If the chef cooked badly? If the laundry person shrunk their clothes or their bathroom was never cleaned properly? The guest might not have ever met any of those crew members or know their names, but that’s not to say that their work behind the scenes did not create the very perfect circumstances for you to put on a show with the charterer’s kids, and for the second stew to impress them with her service skills. You can’t teach the kids how to jetski if the engineer doesn’t keep the jetski working… you see my point.
This is especially important as boats get bigger and there are more and more crew not having guest contact. Be wary of thinking that your role is somehow more special because you are ‘guest facing.’ This is the kind of thinking that does real damage to team morale.
There is nothing more important to a well-functioning crew than trust. The crew have to trust each other, and money issues can really get in the way of this. For the sake of a thousand euro Is it worth your crew suspecting you of hiding money from them? And the First Mate who encouraged you to keep the money; do you think maybe he got some extra too? You’re not sure, are you? And because he told you to keep it, now you might be wondering what other things he lies about or hides from the team. See how quickly this kind of thing can damage a person’s reputation?
Team trust is damaged as soon as one person breaks it, and even though you were in favour this time it might be another crew member next time, and you don’t want to be suspecting everyone of hiding their tips after every charter.
In my experience most crew tend to be very fair. The last time I saw this happen the girls who got the extra money declared it, and the crew all decided as one, to let them keep it. They really had gone above and beyond, and everyone knew that the initial tip they had received was also down to these girls in large part, as they had done an astonishing job with the guests and their kids.
I’m not saying you don’t deserve the extra tip, you probably do. But what I am saying is that it’s probably not worth risking losing the trust of your crew by keeping it, and it’s always nice to find out that they think you deserve it too. We’re not poor in the yachting industry, so don’t let 1000 euro eat away at your integrity and potentially damage your reputation.
What are your thoughts about splitting tips? Share your comments below!