Etiquette for Tipping Instructors, Divemasters and/or Boat Crew
1. To Tip or Not to Tip?
As diving is a service industry, it is customary to tip your instructor, guide, and/or crew. Some operators will even have a tip jar in the shop or on the boat. However, it is not mandatory to tip. If you received poor service or weren’t happy with the service or trip, don’t feel obligated to tip. Just keep in mind that for the most part, the DM/crew depend on tips for the majority of their income. So if you don’t tip, please make sure the service warrants that action.
2. Tip Divemaster and/or Crew?
Most shops pool the tips and split them among the divemaster and crew. If you are not sure who to give a tip to, you can always ask. Or, give some to the DM and some to the captain. That way they decide how it is distributed.
3. Tip Each Day or at the End of Dive Trip?
If you are on a multi-day dive trip, should you tip the divemaster/crew on a daily basis or at the end of your stay? If you know you will have the same divemaster and crew for the length of your stay, it is appropriate to tip at the end of the stay. However, one drawback here is that the crew may think you are not going to tip them at all. If the crew changes daily, tipping at the end of each day is recommended. That way the tips will be distributed more appropriately to those who gave you the service.
4. How Much to Tip?
Some divers tip according to the price of the dive while others tip a dollar amount per tank. If you tip based on the price of the dive, a tip of 10-15% of the price seems to be the norm. Obviously you can tip more or less depending on the level of service you received. So on a typical price of $70 for a 2 tank dive, the crew would receive in the range of $7-$11. If you prefer to tip on a per dive basis, the general consensus seems to be $5-$10 per tank per diver. So on a 2 tank dive the crew would receive $10-$20 per person. Again, adjust this according to the service received.
5. When/How to Tip?
It is customary to give tips to your instructor at the end of the class and to the DM/crew at the end of the day as you get off the boat. Some boats will have jars but you may prefer to give the tips directly to the crew. Either is appropriate, just do what you’re comfortable with.
6. Still Not Sure?
If you still aren’t sure about tipping, just ask around. Talk to some of the locals and your fellow divers. They can guide you as to what is appropriate and customary in the area. And remember, tipping is optional and based upon on the perceived level of service received from the instructor, divemaster and crew.