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Thread: How much to tip captains

  1. #1
    Member Raptor_1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Eagle River, AK

    Default How much to tip captains

    Going on a halibut charter next month and just wondering how much you generally tip the captain and crew. I know it all depends on performance of said captain and crew but looking for a rough idea. Good day on the water, good crew say $50 for each of the crew?? $100? I have no idea and don't want to piss the crew off if they show us a good time.
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

  2. #2
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States


    If you do a search there was a thread about this a month or two ago.

    When I was on charters and it was jus tthe captin I would tip what I could afford at the time. So it was anywhere from $25-$50.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  3. #3
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    the 907

    Default You make the call

    As said before, depends on how they treat you and how it all went.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  4. #4


    Not quite sure how it goes in Alaska but down here it's along the same line as if you were eating dinner out.
    15-20% is the norm for a good trip, that means if the captain and mates did the right thing for you even if you didn't put a lot of fish in the boat. From experience I can tell you sometimes the fish just don't bite no matter how many times the captain moves or how attentive the mates are.
    I also have to say that the boat keeps a lot of fish to sell to the market. This must be negotiated in advance so there's no problem when you get back to the dock. The great majority of customers are from out of town staying in hotels and such. In that case most customers are happy being sent back with a decent baggie full of fillets for dinner and don't care what happens to the rest of the fish.
    But like I said, if the capt and mates are a bunch of dicks then tipping them, just like you may do to a rude waiter, is up to you.

  5. #5
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Bandon, OR


    @White Dog-
    Sport Boats keeping/selling fish at market is a major no-no here in AK. Fish a client harvests are their fish... period.

    I don't think the number of fish boated should affect the tip at all... as others have stated, the experience you have - how much above and beyond the captain and crew go for your enjoyment - should dictate.

    It's been said before and I'll say it again, one of the best tips I can receive is repeat or referral business. If you had a great time, book with the same captain next time. If there won't be a next time, get out there and tell everyone you know who MIGHT be coming that way.

    If you do have the ability to leave a cash tip - know that it will be greatly appreciated. Also, for the mathematically challenged, if you're applying the 10-20% guideline as in restaurants, remember that that is a TOTAL amount, not per crew member... For example, if you paid $1500 to charter a boat for the day, and brought 3 friends with you, between the 4 of you, there should be between $150 and $300 handed out TOTAL to everyone involved. You don't tip 10% for the waiter, 10% for the bus boy, 10% for the cook, 10% to the hostess, etc... even if dinner was great!

    Dig around in these forums a bit (search function is in the blue bar at the top of the thread...) there have been several informative and mildly heated discussions on the matter lately!

    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR

  6. #6

    Default White Dog,

    That's exactly how it works for the most part in Hawaii. The boat can sell lots of fish.
    I used to deckand for a few years and I have to say that the tips that meant the most were the ones I got when we didn't get fish in the boat. I mean, a dollar is a dollar no matter the reasoning behind it, but to get a tip in somewhat dire fish circumstances is a compliment I think. Man I loved doing that (deckhanding), love cleaning fish too but there's just not much of a living to make unless you step up to the plate and run your own operation; then you have insurance, fees, fuel, etc. But I like to talk, entertain, & fish; the 3 things I think are important for folks paying to fish.
    I cleaned a guy's reds the other day on the Kenai if he'd let me have the bellies (which he would've tossed) for halibut fishing; gave him ziplocs too; he told me I can follow him all over the place!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    I tip on effort and attitude. If no fish were caught and the capt did all he could to find them and was a great guy to fish with i tip well. If we caught fish and the guy was a jerk which is rare, i dont tip at all.

  8. #8

    Default going out on a limb

    Quote Originally Posted by Raptor_1 View Post
    I have no idea and don't want to piss the crew off if they show us a good time.

    While there are always exceptions, most quality captains/crews/guides do not get "pissed" if they do not receive a tip. As I have stated many times, tips are great, but not required! The last thing that I want is for the whole issue of tipping to interfere with a lasting friendship/relationship.

    I understand, and have been in a position where I looked to offer a tip and found the wallet empty/lacking. I also understand that an ever increasing price is paid for the charter. With that price, one should expect a quality trip, great personality, and hard work.

    So, back to how much... If you offer a tip, you should be able to walk away without wondering enough or too much. It is as simple as that. Go with your heart. I have been most blessed by a sincere heart felt thank you, a future reference, or even a booking for the next year than by a person calculating the obligitory 10-20%. I am also blessed to see the smile of a proud dad when the kid's rod is bent, or when a person fulfills their lifelong dream of catching a nice Alaskan salmon, or they see and appreciate the majestic beauty of this great land...

    I do think that you will find very similar attitudes and beliefs with most quality captains/crews/guides.

    Good luck

  9. #9

    Default Get your fish first!

    It doesn't matter how much fish you catch. Make **** sure it gets on the plane with you.

    We went fishing in Sitka, had a blast. My friends kid had the trip of a lifetime. He caught a 38lb king and a 100 plus pound hali. However, when we got home, we had more tail fillets of hali than fish we caught (yes, we counted 4 tail fillets per hali). Also, no big slab fillets of salmon. All cut into small 1 lb sections. WE instructed them to not cut the big fish into small sections.

    Poor kid is heartbroken. Gets home to find small floor scraps. I hold the captain partially responsible. We complained to him and he has really done nothing to help. We complained to the processor and we were told to FO four times. Guy was a complete *******. You'd think a big shop like that would try to make it right. We tipped this guy huge. 25% plus. He worked pretty hard for us. AK is beautiful.

    The captain turned in the right amount of fish. The processor screwed us. He set us up with this processor. I cannot post the name as they will delete my post. Send me a personal message and I'll tell you the processor to stay away from.

    We figure we were shorted 40% on both our hali and salmon. Not to mention we were given small scraps compared to the fish we caught.

    The moral of the story. Do not take your fish to be processed by a shop that sells fish commercially as well as processing for the sport fisherman. I've been doing research since we got smoked and found out this is pretty common in Sitka. I fished British Columbia about 10 years before going to Sitka (Strong CAD made me give it a try) and never had problems there.

    If you go to Sitka, make sure they pack your fish in weird sizes. SOmething like 3lb instead of 1lb. I'd ask to see my fish after the first day to make sure it is done right.

    BTW, these guys have a couple of BBB complaints on them. CHeck out BBB before getting your fish processed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default 0

    Zero Tips, Get Your Own Boat, Or Rent It!


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