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Fishing charter tips are more than just a way of showing your appreciation for a job well done—they're now expected by most crew members. But how much should you tip?
The customary gratuity tip is 15 to 20 percent of the price of the charter, so for every $500 you spend, expect to tip roughly $100. If the crew has gone above and beyond to make your trip memorable, you may want to consider increasing your gratuity.
Some people like to associate their gratuity with how many fish they caught, but this isn't necessarily the method to go by—the crew's job is to provide an enjoyable experience, not guarantee results.
At the end of the day, tipping is always up to your discretion, but remember that these hard-working people rely on gratuities to make a living. A little extra show of appreciation can go a long way.
The Purpose of a Fishing Charter
A fishing charter is a guided trip on a vessel to fish for certain species of fish in specific areas. Customers typically charter boats to take them to areas where they are more likely to have success catching fish, and the charter operator provides all of the necessary equipment.
Charters can be for half, full, or even multiple days and customers usually pay per person. Many charter operators also offer package deals that include food and lodging.
Fishing charters are popular among both recreational anglers and those looking to catch fish for commercial purposes. They provide an opportunity to catch fish that might be difficult to catch from the shore or from a small boat.
What Should You Expect From Your Fishing Charter?
Most fishing charters will include the use of a boat and all necessary fishing equipment. Some charters may also include food and lodging, but this will vary from operator to operator.
When you book a charter, be sure to ask about what is included so that you can plan accordingly.
You should also expect your charter operator to have a good knowledge of the area you'll be fishing in and know the best spots to catch the fish you're targeting. They should also be able to provide instruction on how to use the equipment if needed.
Should You Tip the Fishing Charter?
Many charter fishing companies now expect tips, and some will even add a gratuity charge to your final bill. Whether or not you choose to tip is up to you, but remember that the crew works hard to provide a good experience.
Factors of Tipping
There are a few factors you may want to consider when deciding how much to tip:
- The size of the charter: A smaller charter will likely mean more personal attention from the crew, so you may want to increase your gratuity.
- The length of the trip: A longer trip will no doubt be more work for the crew.
- The level of service: Did the crew go above and beyond to make your trip enjoyable?
- Your results: This should not be the only factor, but if you had an especially successful day, you may want to leave a larger tip.
Do You Tip Boat Captains?
While it is not required, it is customary to tip the captain of your charter fishing boat. A good rule of thumb is $20-$50, depending on the length of the trip and the level of service you received.
What About Other Crew Members?
In addition to the captain, you may also want to consider tipping other crew members such as deckhands or first mates. Again, there is no set amount, but $10–$20 per person is a good starting point.
When in doubt, err on the side of generosity—these people work hard to make your charter fishing trip enjoyable, and a little extra money can go a long way.
When Not to Tip?
There are a few exceptions to the rule when it comes to tipping charter fishing crews. If you feel that the crew did not do their job or provide adequate service, you are not obligated to leave a tip. In addition, if the charter company includes a gratuity in the price of your trip, there is no need to leave an additional tip.
How Much Should You Tip Fishing Guides?
Fishing guides provide a valuable service, and it is customary to give thanks through gratuity—and a verbal "thank you" of course! A good rule of thumb is $20-$50 per day, depending on the level of service you received.
If you had a great time and caught a lot of fish, you may want to consider increasing your gratuity. Conversely, if you feel that the guide did not do a good job, you are not obligated to leave a tip. When in doubt, err on the side of generosity.
On the other hand, if you didn't catch a lot of fish, the crew was sour, or didn't do anything to try and improve your experience, you may want to forego a gratuity altogether. Did the skipper shift his ship in order to look for fish? Did the mate test various methods, perhaps utilizing different equipment or bait? If the answer is no, then the crew likely didn't do everything they could have to make your trip successful.
The Bottom Line
Fishing charter tips are now expected by most crews, and the standard gratuity is 15 to 20 percent of the charter price. You may also want to consider tipping the captain and other crew members. When in doubt, being more generous is always nice.
In the end, it's up to your discretion, but remember people rely on tips to make a living and a little extra show of appreciation can go a long way.
Leave a note about how your fishing charter went in the comments below! And how much did you decide to tip and why? Do you have any other questions about charter fishing tipping etiquette? I am happy to answer them in the comments!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Ritchie Hughie