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Yacht Charters

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Yachtjocky, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    you obviuously have strong opinions about the charter business even though you clearly know very little about how charter yachts are operated. it's not like the car rental business, and on the crew side it's not like restaurant waiters...

    we charge the guests using the hour meters for the generators and the ecu fuel meters for the mains, price is based on the actual prices charged by the fuel dock we will refuel at after the charter, I call them on the last day to confirm price. Pretty transparent process to ensure the guests don't feel taken advantage of.

    as to the crew/tip, it's very different from restaurants and other jobs. On charters, we give 110% no matter what and it's not in hope of a better tip at the end. We have cases where the charterer prepays a 15 to 20% gratuity to the broker and that doens't change our service level. they get the best, no matter what as the incentive isn't a better tip but making sure they give good feedback to the brokers and become repeat guests or refer friends.

    once in a while, there will be guests who undertip, that's part of the business whatever the reason but we know that it's not because they were not happy with the service they received.
  2. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    It is when you have a great and trusting owner like mine. He wants a happy crew and know that won't happen when we have unpleasant charter guests. As such, we do our best (and are pretty successful) to manage the quality of clientele we charter the boat to.

    Years ago the owner subsidized the gratuity in one instance. As you'll read in Pascal's post, the gratuity is a minor part of the equation- we would still provide good service and welcome back any guests who are pleasant to have around.
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Sounds like you've got a right boat owner which explains why you've been on your boat so long. As to the rest, I would expect no less of your crew or any good crew which is why I'd expect them to be protected. Unless crews are getting paid a lot more than they used to, tips can be important. (15% of say 50K is a hunk of change). I did notice in Pascal's post:
    I'm surprised that's not standard practice today.
  4. MistrCoffe

    MistrCoffe New Member

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    The Premise

    I think the original poster must not realize that when chartering a yacht you are the owner. The difference is you are paying for a tiny piece in the weekly rate. I have seen that tiny piece is $750,000 a week, but that is as opposed to paying a couple hundred million for the boat. Now once you have it you provision it with food, drink, fuel etc. just as any owner going out for a week would. Why? Just cuz you want to cruise on a yacht and not buy one when you may only have one or two weeks a year to use it. I think the primary aspect is that there is no better personalized service than there is on a yacht, period. There are hotels that charge 3, 5 and 9000 a day for almost that kind of service, it just can't take you to BVI, Jamaica, etc.. For provisioning you pay cost. I don't think there is a better way to do it, and I don't think there is a more luxurious luxury vacation to be had. I think simple humanity requires you tip someone that prepared all your favorite foods at your request, whether on the boat or on a Bahamian beach, and the person that turned down your bed and made your towel look like a doll, and the person who set you up with the jet skis and made sure no one killed themselves, and the Captain who got you there and back with all your parts intact. That's why they call it vacation, it costs cuz you wanna do it, and you have to be paid to work cuz you don't wanna do it, but it pays for vacation.
  5. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    I just love it when all the experts jump in and tell me that "obviously I have no idea" how the business works, how a crew works really hard etc etc.

    My point is if the crew were to receive a reasonable yearly salary why would there be any need for tips. you want to keep the salaries low and get a tip for a few weeks work fine, but what about the crews on other boats.

    You want salaries to stay at or just above minimum wage that is if fine by me but I would be advocating a higher salary plus benefits so you know what your income is going to be. How many of you have heard of a cancelled charter due to...whatever reason. That lost tip is not going to be replaced in time for your next rent or car payment.

    and as for those who bury their head in the sand and deny that some crews pick and choose which charters they will work, get real and listen to some horror stories from owners & charter brokers. I think you will also find some interesting reading in some trade magazines on that subject as well.

    Maybe Ken can also enlighten me that since "my experience is in Florida" why would the charter business vary from our state to the US. Have I missed something, did Fidel or the Seminoles take us over, are we no longer part of the US. :confused:
  6. rodsteel

    rodsteel Member

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    A salary with a $30K base would seem to be a little more than minimum wage, No?

    Since many of the job postings for private yachts include a yearly bonus while the charter yachts do not, then I think the "TIPS" (To Insure Prompt Service) model is fair for the charter crew who have to work more than a 40 hour week, No?

    Rod

    P.S. If the charter cancels then the week is "normal", No?

    P.P.S. The majority of charters do not take place in US waters
  7. tirekicker11

    tirekicker11 Senior Member

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    Americans have obviously a different tipping systems than other cultures.

    I once had a fall-out with an American captain who tipped me for every little errand I did for them. I took it as a doubt in my sincerety willing to be of good service.
    I only tip when someone has gone out of his way to please me.

    Do you tip the nurse in the hospital, or the school teachers of your children?

    The hospitality business that underpays staff and expects them to supplement by tips is creating a very difficult, in-sincere and confusing system that even many Americans find hard to deal with. Hence the tipping calculator apps and shows like Seinfeld and Curb your Enthousiasm.
  8. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Nobody needs to tell you that; your posts make it obvious.

    Chartering in the US is pretty much the same all over, save for a few states that collect tax on the charter. My point was that Florida is still in the US (except for perhaps some parts of Miami), so I shared that US charters are bareboat/demise charters. Other parts of the world, such as much of the Mediterranean countries, require different contracts which are more of a commercial nature.
  9. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    Ken you wrote the following in your post, not me

    "Since your experience seems to be in Florida, this is the way it works in the US:"

    and then you wrote

    "Nobody needs to tell you that; your posts make it obvious."

    I have been an owner, charterer, manager & 44 years in the marine business so I think when I bring up a subject or start a new thread I may just have a little idea of what I am talking about.

    I wonder how many Captains and crews are receiving those yearly bonus's these days, quite alot I spoke to around Christmas time were telling me that nothing had come thru' from their bosses.

    Just like in any business there will be good guys and bad guys and in my time I have seen many instances where the last place I would want to be is along side some Captain who is telling me how wonderful he is only to discover how pitiful the yacht is below the surface.

    Case in point, I went with a friend the other day when he was buying a million dollar yacht, full time Captain who claimed he had 30 years experience, was very busy doing charters and was hoping to keep his job with the new owner. We went inside to discover not just very very dirty air conditioning screens but a drip tray overflowing into a containment area and that in turn overflowing and soaking carpets and had been for quite some time as evidenced by the mold below the carpet and the soaked material on the bulkhead.

    That was not in some little crew cabin stuck out of the way but in the master stateroom.

    He told us he was on 82,000 per year plus his boss paid him a 10,000 bonus and he kept all of the tips. So maybe 100,000 per year and he could not even clean any of the air conditioning screens.

    30K a year salary, go into a few marinas down here and offer those wages and there would be no shortage of young kids jumping at the chance and not expecting any benefits.
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    TIPS were once given to reward exceptional service, but business and the government made sure they got a piece of everything. In the U.S., business managed to have laws passed that made minimum wage 1/2 the normal minimum wage to make sure that the poor stayed poor. If you are in a tip-prone field like hospitality the IRS assumes that you received tips and will tax you on an assumed amount. So an employee such as a waiter can actually end up working for free if tips are bad. In a business with limited service capacity such as marinas these past few years the tip is more a bribe (which is common in most parts of the world, but frowned on in the U.S.) so we call it a tip. When good captains, crew, transient slips, etc. are scarce you tip so that they'll take care of you before someone else. When you're ready to cast off you want the dockhands standing by instead of getting to you when they have a chance.
    Tipping also enables you to be generous; to help people with nobody else getting their hands into their pockets, and to share your wealth and good fortune a bit. That feels good.
    Figuring tips isn't hard. For waitresses, housekeepers, etc. I leave the calculating of 15% to little old ladies. It's easier, and more appropriate to simply divide the check (before tax) by 5 (20%). When coming into a dock, that I ever expect to return to, on a midsized yacht I tip $10 per dockhand or $20 if there is only one. I'll then drop $50 on the dockmaster.
  11. tirekicker11

    tirekicker11 Senior Member

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    Then maybe that Iphone tipping app. needs to be updated with your specific marina tipping formulae ;)
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Only if it's less generous than I am. If it's more then maybe I need to be updated. I sure don't want a rep for being cheap or I could find myself short a slip for holidays.
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I agree with Ken as well based upon what you have written regarding chartering. It also seems you want to always come across in an argumentive way not typical of the majority of poster on yachtforums.

    On another note, to answer your question as to why they should tip when the crew is recieving the normal rate to work at their positions on that size yacht. The normal rate crew typically recieve is based upon a private owner that does not charter.

    A charter group on-board for a week, is almost never like an owner and guests on board for a week. The hours and work are almost always double. Charterer's typically are like College kids on Spring Break. They want to pack in every single activity that they can into every single day and basically experience as much as they can in a single week as well as eat every single meal on the boat. Owner's typically are much more relaxed and do half as many activities in a week and are typically compassionate about the crew and a lot of owners will say, hey we're going out for dinner and drinks you guys take off and do the same. I've had owners I worked for, that stayed on-board for a month straight, and would only eat dinner on the boat every 3rd night. Why, because they own the yacht and have done everything and can always do something next trip. Anyways, the tips make up for the disparity of hours. And, who says owners don't tip either? Most of the ones I work for tip me every single trip. i just did a 14 day trip/delivery with an owner and he tipped me over 15%
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Ditto. The owners that want to stay in my schedule treat me very well (at times even doubling my rate), and it's very common that I'm invited to dine ashore with the owners.
  15. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    CaptJ, so you agree that Florida is not part of the US just like Ken suggested.

    Arguementative, let me think about some of your posts should we, Obamacare being just one, telling one poster he has no idea what happened at GM. Seawalls etc etc etc.

    The list goes on and on.

    I am told that I have no idea what I am talking about and you expect me to sit back and listen to that rubbish. Have you ever owned a yacht that was chartered or have you ever paid for a charter yourself. I have done both so I speak from experience.

    Yes there is no doubt Captains and crew work harder when charterers are onboard but and it is a big but, the rest of the world also works hard every day of every week. Now try and convince me that you or a full time captain and crew work "hard" everyday and remember before you answer that I am on least one yacht on a daily basis and see exactly what goes on.

    That is not being arguementative just stating the facts that I see every day.

    I think that if you where to read my posts and understand what I am bringing up is the fact that I am advocating increasing the basic salary of those onboard so they do not have to rely on tips.
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Can't argue about increasing the basic salaries, but you'll never take tips out of the service industries. First, even if you raise basic salaries we're still not talking CEO salaries. Second, it give workers that little extra incentive to take service to that next level, even subconsciously. Third, it gives people who are fortunate, an opportunity to do something good for someone less well off and in general insures that they receive special care in return.
  17. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    NYCP123,

    you give a reasonable arguement instead of others accusing me of this & that and to be honest if they knew my past they would wonder why & how I am arguing against the tip culture. Maybe it was because I was ripped off when drunk many a night when a check was presented to me, I paid by credit card and signed for a tip of 20 to 50% or higher (depending on how good looking she was) not realizing that the little cutie had the code to hit the automatic 18%added to the check for parties larger than 6 (normally I was by myself) before the credit card was run.

    So a $50 tab was brought to me which showed a total of $59 and I would round it up to at least $75.

    I was a soft touch & paid many a young girl's rent, utility bill or even in one case for one waitress to leave town to get away from the drug culture she was in. Never dated her but did it because I am arguementative and do not like lazy Captains:cool: . Got a letter years later thanking me along with a photo of her family.

    In my bar / restuarant I stopped the tips but doubled the salary and put them all on benefits. Same staff for years.

    On my boat, the crew worked hard and again I paid them about 30% above the average on a yearly salary.

    When I have chartered my yacht I charge a flat fee, about $3,000 per week above average (if there is such a thing as average) for the size of yacht but no extra's and no tipping.

    Bistro restuarant last week, young waitress nearly in tears due to slow night and the need to have her car repaired, my tab was $530 and the total paid was $800, she is back driving and smiling and I know I can as usual get a table any time I want in that place.

    What a shame her basic salary was not high enough to pay the repair biil herself.

    So please I do not need to be lectured about tips, charterers or told that the charter contracts are different between Florida and the US.
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    No, but you may need a lecture on booze, pretty women and not signing checks without reading what is written. (the scanner runs with the pretty women).:D Back on subject though, in theory you've got a good idea. The big problem with it is that you base your rate on your costs. The other boats pass that cost on directly to the customer by paying less and suplimenting with tips. That leaves you charging more on the face of it, which makes it hard to compete. There are of course some top end charters, hotels, whatever that don't use tips, but you won't be choosing them based even slightly on price.
  19. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Nobody has said this, Ken said (twice) that since you were in Florida (as in the USA) you does not have the same tipping situation as in the Med and elsewhere.
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I don't even know how to answer to this. YOU posted the thread asking why charterers tip and pay for the fuel they use and the groceries they eat (imagine that). Now you're proclaiming to be an expert, well which is it??????

    Tipping is standard throughout the industry, period, end of story. The charterers tip AFTER the charter is concluded and the amount that THEY choose to tip. Tips are based upon the level of service they recieve. So How or why do you do you propose to change an industry standard that has been working for a century, and why? Besides no yacht knows how many charters they're going to get this year, and how many weeks the owner will be on board, and how many weeks it will be sitting idle.

    As for the seawalls, Obamacare, and GM. I was correcting false information, so other readers did not believe it as true, and even listed referances showing the FACTS, plain and simple.

    If you happen to see crew loafing a little at the dock, it might be to make up for having to work 30 days straight, 14hrs+ a day, with guests on board. You see what goes on during the downtime, not when they're not at the dock. Sort of like at your local bar between 2 and 4pm. It's after the lunch rush, yet before happy hour, so the hardworking bar crew get to loaf a little before the big rush.

    As for the restaurant or bar putting gratuity on your bill and you being too drunk to read it, or realize it. Well, maybe you should consider seeking help. I always look at every bill that is handed to me before I pay it, as does just about everyone on here.