To Tip or Not to Tip your dive guide or instructor that is the question. When your are in your home town, you have a good understanding of when to tip and how much.
You know you’re expected to tip a certain percentage in your typical restaurant and that you need to take out a loan to tip at a gourmet restaurant. When you go on a luxury cruise, the cruise line will make a “suggested” tip.
It is a suggestion, but if you do not tell them otherwise, they will add it to your bill. On a dive boat, especially one that is abroad, the answer is not as clear. On a dive trip, unless the dive center says no tips, you should plan to tip. How much and who, is a more complicated answer.
When you are on vacation, a good portion of your expenses will be tips
While I might not consciously think about it, when I am on a dive boat for the first time there are some factors that I consider when deciding who and how much to tip.
You will tip the bellhop, the restaurant staff, the taxi driver, just anyone that provides a service.
So when you make your vacation budget, ensure that your dive budget includes tips too. The level of service you receive will of course vary with the people that serve you. Unless the crew was totally incompetent, I would suggest you tip a few coins in the tip box and never come back again.
Working at a dive center and on a dive boat or as part of a support team for shore dives is a wonderful job, a dream job for many. However, the reality no one gets rich working a dive boat or preparing a shore dive.
Photo Credit: Doun Dounell
An instructor might make a decent living. However, he or she will earn the most with teaching the courses. The fun dives will earn him / here little. A divemaster might even be working for free. Internships in the dive industry are becoming more common. The cost of becoming a divemaster and becoming an instructor is very high. Getting a job after recently becoming a pro, is not that easy.
Some resorts offer an internship, in this arrangement the student pays a reduced fee for their training with an understanding they will work for the center during their training and a period after. They may work in the dive retail store, clean rental gear or work as a member of the boat crew before completing their training.
While it borderlines on slave labor, it does allow the person to get the certification they want and real experience. The other members of the boat crew will likely be working for minimum wage. In much of the world, the minimum wage is near poverty level.
In Cancun Mexico, they just raised the minimum wage, but it is still less than $5 a day. Vietnam and Cambodia are less. While Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines, all popular dive destinations minimum wage is still less than $10 a day. So adding a few extra dollars, Euros, Pounds, or whatever the local currency is will surely help them more than it will hurt you.
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This article is published by The Scuba Page, the online magazine for Scuba Dive lovers around the world. The Scuba Page is part of RUSHKULT : the online booking platform for adventure sports. Visit the RUSHKULT platform to book your next Scuba Dive training, guided trip and accommodation.