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How much to tip deep sea fishing

Written by Capt. Noah on Saturday, 07 July 2012. Posted in Fishing Advice

Fishing Charter Tips and Gratuity Guide


Tips and gratuities on fishing boats have gone from being optional to expected. Many crew members work mostly or entirely for tips and most will work as hard as they can to impress you. Like any gratuity, however, if you receive bad service it is well within your right to withhold some or all of the crews tips.

The customary gratuity is 15-20% of the price of a charter. In other words, $100 for every $500 you spend. If the crew has gone considerably far out of their way for you, you may tip more, just like in a restaurant.

Some people like to associate a gratuity with how much fish they catch. Certainly, if you’re catching a lot of fish that Captain and mate are working extra hard to get the fish in, bait new lines, and filet it back on the dock. Having said that, if you do not catch a lot of fish, it doesn’t mean that the crew wasn’t good or didn’t work hard to make your trip enjoyable. Sadly, there are days where the fish just aren’t biting and that’s why they call this sport fishing and not catching, it's not always the crews fault.

If you don’t catch a lot of fish and are considering an appropriate gratuity, consider how far out of their way did the crew go to try and find the fish or entertain you in other ways. Did the captain move the boat around in search of fish? Did the mate try different techniques, perhaps with different equipment or bait? If the answer is yes, than the crew likely did everything they could, and may have even worked harder than on an ordinary day. In this case it would be appropriate to give them a generous tip.

If, on the other hand, you didn’t catch fish, the crew was sour, or didn’t do anything to try and find the fish, than you probably have a good case for withholding a gratuity.

About the Author

Capt. Noah

Capt. Noah

Noah is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and PADI divemaster. He grew up in South Florida and has a passion for all things involving water. He is one of the rare bread of boaters who loves sailing and power boating. Noah sails competitvely and enjoys travelling, photography, and cooking. 


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