Scuba Diving Tipping Etiquette

Answering All Your Questions On Scuba Tipping:
Who, When, How, Liveaboard, Instructors & More

Scuba diving tipping etiquette  can be a cause of a lot of stress for new divers. Who to tip, when to tip, how to tip and much more are questions all new divers have.

I share my experience and take on tipping etiquette when you go scuba diving. This video covers whether to tip, who to tip, when to tip, how much to tip, tipping on a liveaboard, tipping a course instructor and a private dive guide. I hope this video helps you and answers your questions about giving gratuities when you scuba dive.

Enjoy the video! And  let me know if you  have any questions! 

scuba diving tipping etiquette

Transcript: Scuba Diving Tipping Etiquette

So your dive is over and now comes the part that gives many new divers angst and stress. Do you tip? How much do you tip? When do you tip and who do you tip? Stay tuned for those answers and more. So first we're going to talk about tips relating to like a day trip, like a two tank dive on a boat or a shore dive with a dive master and we'll get into liveaboard and dive guide tipping later on in the video.

Now of course, the first question is to tip or not to tip? Now a caveat here for all these tips is to check what the local customs are where you are diving because things can be different in different parts of the world. But I will give you my experience of where I have been diving and what the custom has been.

But first I want you to remember that tipping is not mandatory. Tipping is always an option. But that being said where I do most of my diving, which would be in the United States and in the Caribbean, tipping is not mandatory but most of the dive crew make a substantial amount of their income from tipping, not from their salary.

scuba diving gear on boat

So do take that in mind when you decide whether to tip or not to tip. Now, I'll say in the US and the Caribbean, it is customary to tip the dive crew. Some outfits will have a tip jar right on the boat or perhaps in the dive shop, mostly I've seen it on the boat. They usually bring it out after the dive is done.

A lot of times there's a sign there "Tips are always appreciated". However, like I said, it is not mandatory. And if you receive poor service or weren't happy with the trip, for whatever reason, don't feel obligated to tip. I know it's easier said than done, especially for us that grew up in the states because we're used to tipping and we understand that the service crew is probably depending on these tips to make a substantial amount of their income. So please do take that in mind if you decide not to tip.

Now, the next question is, do you tip the dive master and or the crew? Now this one's a little more iffy, but in my experience, the majority of shops that I have dove with tend to pool all their tips together. So if you give a the tip to the dive master, give it to the crew, or if you just put it in the jar, they usually end up splitting it. I don't know if it's equally, I'm not sure about that, but they end up splitting it among the crew. So then you don't have to worry about distributing, you know, $10 here or $10 there, whatever the case may be.

And if you're not sure if they pool, you can always ask, there's nothing wrong with that. Always ask any question you want. Don't be embarrassed if you're not sure. Or if you don't even want to ask, if you want to give the dive master some separately, then the crew some separately or the boat captain separately, that's totally fine too.

However you want to do it. It would be fine with the crew because there will always be appreciative of any tip they do get. We've actually gone both ways when we've gone on our dive vacations. Sometimes we'll tip the dive master. Sometimes we'll tip the dive master and the crews. We want to make sure that they both get their equal share, especially if they have done a fabulous job.

Say the divemaster showed us like 50 different things that went out of his way to give us a good dive. You want to make sure he knows that you appreciate it. Even if he may pool it later, that's totally fine. But you want to make sure or we want to make sure that we, he knows that we appreciate the effort that he put in. And the same with the crew, because they do a lot of work and they do a lot of the heavy work.

scuba diving in cozumel

So sometimes we will just tip the crew separately and the dive master separately. Sometimes we'll just put it in the jar, however they want to do it. Or however we feel we should do it that day, either way is fine. So don't get all stressed out about it. The only thing I will say is just make sure you do tip if the service warrants it.

So tell me what is a custom where you dive the most are tips expected or not? I would love to hear how your area operates. You can just tell me in the comments below. Now the next question. If you are on a multi-day dive trip, do you tip at the end of the day or do you tip at the end of the trip? Now, if you're on a multi-day dive trip and you know if you're going to have the same crew and the same dive master for the whole length of your stay, then you can tip at the end of the trip. But one drawback here is they may think you're not tipping them so you may just want to put a little hint in there, too then. Since you know they're going to be working with you the whole time that you're on the trip that you'll tip them at the end of the stay, and that's perfectly fine. But if you feel more comfortable tipping at the end of the day go ahead and tip them at the end of the day for what they did for you that day.

But sometimes the crew changes up, you know, you're going to have a different dive crew, one day, different dive crew the next day, maybe a different dive crew in the mornings as opposed to a different dive crew in the afternoon. Or if you know that's going to happen, I would tip at the end of each, if you're doing a two tank dive, tip at the end of the two tank dive. And then when you go in the afternoon with another two tank dive with the other crew, just tip them after your two tank, dive is over.

And that way the tips will be distributed more appropriately to those people that did work with you during your dive. And then of course, we come to the million dollar question, how much to tip. Now, there are two schools of thoughts on this. Some say to tip according to the price of the dive, while some say to tip per tank. If you do want to tip based on the price of the dive, a tip of 10 to 15% of the price of the dive seems to be the norm.

Of course, you can adjust that up to 20%, down to 5%, whatever, depending on level of service you've received. So on a typical price of a hundred dollar two tank dive, at least that's typical in the Caribbean, the dive crew would receive 10 to $15 for that two tank dive or up to $20 if you feel their service warranted it.

Now, if you prefer to tip on a per tank basis, the general consensus is 5 to $10 per tank per diver. And again, adjust according to the service rendered. So on a two tank dive, the dive crew would receive 10 to $20 per diver. Now what we normally do, I would say the majority of the time we tip on a per tank basis.

And I would say the amount is related to the service received. However, it'll be a very rare thing for us not to tip. And now on to liveaboard tipping. Obviously it's going to be much different than your typical day boat diving trip because on your liveaboard you're going to have your dive master or your dive crew.

You're also going to have your hotel your waiters, waitresses and everything in between. Now many times the liveaboard will give you some guidance on tipping. Now, the norm seems to be about 10% of the price of a liveaboard package. So if you're on a $3,000 liveaboard trip for the week, that would mean that you would leave a tip of approximately $300.

And like any other thing, you can increase it or you can decrease it depending on the level of service received and what you feel is warranted. So diving is cheap, said nobody ever. Now, if you're wondering about tipping your dive instructor, if you're taking a course, that's also another area for tipping. Lots of places to tip in the dive industry.

Then the norm for tipping, a, a dive instructor for your course is normally about 10 to 20% of the price of the course give or take like always. Now, if you hire a private dive guide, like if you want someone to take you alone on the dive, even though say there's another 10 people on the dive and there's dive masters there, you have your own private dive master.

So you only go with him and he shows just the two of you around or whoever it may be. So he's separate from the other dive master that takes the rest of the people out from the boat. And if you do do this you would tip that dive guide separately from the rest of the boat crew. And I would tip him just like the regular, where we said before on per tank basis, five to $10 per tank. Or maybe more if they went, you know, extenuating circumstances and it was a difficult dive and they did an outstanding job, just the same thing.

But he has taken his time to take you around and you are the only ones tipping him so also do take that in mind. I did hire a dive guide one time. It was when we're doing our first night dive. We were in Coco view in Roatan and I was very anxious about that night dive, even though it was a very short, easy, shore entry, and you go either way on the wall but I wanted a guide because like I said it was our first night dive. I didn't know what to expect. So we did hire this guide and he was excellent so I was so glad we had him. And then we were fine with the rest of the trip, just going out on our own every night, which was wonderful. But we did tip him separately. We tipped him a little more because he waited all day and he waited for us at night and so we could be interrupting his evening plans or whatever. So we did give him a nice tip. Now, if you want some more tips for beginner scuba divers click on this link right here where I'll give you some quick and easy boat diving tips. And I'll also link to it in the description below. I hope to see you over there. In the meantime, happy and safe diving.

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