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Tipping at Cobalt Coast

Discussion in 'Cayman Islands' started by BettyfromToronto, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. BettyfromToronto

    BettyfromToronto Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel, Mexico
    679
    297
    63
    Hello fellow SBers.

    We are off to Grand Cayman in two weeks and I have a question about tipping at Cobalt Coast.

    We usually dive 3x a year at Scuba Club Cozumel and tip as follows:

    $5 per tank per person for the DM
    $10-15 per day to the boat crew which is the Captain and two amazing crew who help us in/out of the water and with moving gear to new tank for the second dive.

    I hear Cobalt Coast has 2 DMs on the boat plus the Captain. No crew per se.
    One DM goes in first and leads the group and then is out first to help divers back on the boat.
    Second DM is last in after helping all divers into the water and then last back on the boat.

    What is the normal tipping charge with a set-up like this? Depending on the # of divers we may or may not follow the DM as we hate crowds all trying to see what s/he is pointing out and may just go our own way.

    Would love to hear from everyone who has been there.

    Thanks
    Betty
     
  2. Reidster

    Reidster Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Macomb, Michigan
    87
    16
    8
    Hi Betty. As you know, we were there almost a month ago now . . . how time flies . . .
    That was about it how it worked -captain, 2 DMs most of the time, but not always.

    You bring your bag to the pickup truck and toss the gear in the back - the staff will help if needed. Once you get arrive at the site where you load onto the boat, you take your gear down the dock to the boat, again if you need help one of their staff could help. Once we were on the boat, we did our own gear set up (which I personally prefer) and once we were out of the water on the 1st dive, we transferred our bcs over to the next tank ourselves. I think that was pretty much how everyone did it - I really didn't see either the captain or the DMs really helping with anyone, but I'm sure if you asked, that they would be more than happy to help out.

    It is correct that the option was given to buddy teams to venture off on their own if they wished rather than follow the DMs. They stated it in their dive briefing (which was always outstanding), but if they don't - I would ask them if it would be ok if you and your buddy could . . .

    I asked in the dive shop if there was a recommended tipping amount - Greg, I believe that was his name, just smiled and said the staff would appreciate any tip given. They have a jar in the dive shop where you can drop it. That is divided up amongst all the staff. Also, take into consideration, that if you choose to go shorediving over at lighthouse, that they will truck you over there (less than a 10 minute ride), so we considered than in our tipping. Definitely do that a couple of times while you're there. We (my wife actually) gave some extra money to one of the DMs who helped her while her BC was self inflating . . . on her first dive . . . when he noticed me trying to help out, he intervened and assisted. In hindsight, I should have detached the inflator hose myself, but she has experienced some anxiety on previous dive trips, especially first couple of dives, so it was probably best that the DM intervened. So if you have any special help, etc., I'd give something to him/her privately.

    We tipped at the end of the week - it averaged to about $8 / dive for everything.

    We also tipped the wait staff and housekeeping at the end of the week as well.
     
  3. BettyfromToronto

    BettyfromToronto Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel, Mexico
    679
    297
    63
    Reidster: Thanks for the info. Yes I remember you were there just recently. Was it really a month ago???

    We are hoping that we can dive from the docks and not be trucked about (except for the Lighthouse shore dive).

    Is that $8/day per person? And it just goes into a jar at the end of the week? That is easy especially since there will be two DMs. That means we can bring bigger US bills versus smaller bills to split up among many people.

    I also prefer doing my own gear...but I know the crew put the BC on the 2nd tank in Coz but that was more to make sure everyone got a full second tank. Not usually an issue for us because we dive Nitrox both dives and our names are on the tanks.

    As for the restaurant; our tips are included in the full meal plan but I know we can tip more if we get great service I have heard a few stories of people tipping 15% at the time of their meal and then being shocked when they pay their bill at the end of the week and find another 15% there.

    We will also leave something for the housekeeping staff.

    Less than two weeks and we are off. We can't wait. It has been a long 4 months since our January trip to Cozumel.

    Betty
     
    robint likes this.
  4. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Canada
    1,565
    1,062
    113
    Betty, sorry to disappoint you but, pretty unlikely to be leaving from the dock at Cobalt Coast. The Divetech boats are deep draft, the water is shallow and the prevailing winds usually produce wave action. You are more likely to be leaving from Morgan's Harbor if diving North, or West Bay Dock, if diving West. In all the times I have been up at Cobalt Coast, I can't remember ever seeing a dive boat tied at the dock. They must do so occasionally as the brochure for Cobalt Coast has a picture. The shuttle only takes a few minutes and you get to drive through "the real Cayman" on the interior roads on the Northwest of the island, an interesting experience in itself.
     
  5. Reidster

    Reidster Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Macomb, Michigan
    87
    16
    8
    During the week we were there 4 weeks ago, they tried to let us off the boat after our morning dives at the dock in front of Cobalt. It was our last day of diving and it was really calm. But you could see why they are reluctant to do it: it is very shallow - they had us all move toward the bow to lessen the weight toward the stern. Even so, it was a tricky maneuver.
    As I stated in my reports, initially I was concerned about having to shuttle over to the boat, but it really wasn't that bad at all.
     
  6. billinwilliamston

    billinwilliamston Manta Ray

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Key West
    579
    104
    43
    do they allow you to put the tip on your credit card at the end of the week when you settle up like ocean frontiers does? we found that to be very convenient and, since there is no cayman version of the irs, a credit card tip is the same as a cash tip to the folks who receive it.
     
  7. Sorrows

    Sorrows Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location:
    495
    97
    0
    We leave in less than a week (we'll just miss you, Betty!) and are eager to get more suggestions from the insiders! So you really don't tip individually?

    We are hoping to do plenty of shore dives (Cobalt and Lighthouse) while we are there. How does that work out? Do you have to tell them ahead of time?
     
  8. gb_williams

    gb_williams Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Smyrna, Georgia
    223
    123
    43
    Among the Divetech crew, everybody does nearly everything. On a two tank boat dive, there is no single captain who stays on board while the other two dive. They rotate. One person stays up while two go in the water. On the next dive, the who stayed up will dive. The two in the water also trade off on dives between lead and trail. The staff will rotate around, too. You may have Christain, Helen and Anton one day and Steve, Jeni and Carl the next. That's why my wife and I put our tip in the jar. Although, if there are one or two DMs who have been especially helpful, you could certainly consider individual tips as well.

    Also, don't expect valet service diving. Most divers change their own tanks between dives. That doesn't mean you won't get top flight service. You'll get as much help as you need or ask for, and every DM is very vigilant, especially about safety.

    As for docking at Cobalt Coast -- that is the prefered place to dock. Attatude and Tanata have moorings just off the dock, near the mini wall. But, the weather doesn't always cooperate. In 6 trips/weeks to Cobalt Coast, 2 1/2 had us boarding at the dock. One trip at the end of May, another over the 4th of July and once in February for a couple of days before the waves got too high. It all depends on the wind direction. Usually, late spring and early summer months have the flatest seas and the best viz.

    ---------- Post added May 1st, 2013 at 02:42 PM ----------

    The mornings will be boat diving. In the afternoon, you can dive either location. I will usually tell Greg or Emma at the desk that I'd like to go Lighthouse after lunch. Sometimes, they'll have a van or truck scheduled to go there and they'll tell me to be ready at a particular time. Other times they'll say, "Come by when you're ready." Yet, other times, it's more spur of the moment. I'll show up and ask if I can get a ride to Lighthouse.

    When you're done with your dive at Lighthouse, whoever is minding the shop will call and someone will drive over from Cobalt and pick you up.

    For night dives at Lighthouse, sometimes there are organized night dives led by a DM. These have extra charges. But, if you want to dive on your own, and there is a group going over for a night dive, if there's room, you can hitch a ride.

    I do most of my nightdives at Cobalt Coast. Before the dive shop closes, I'll get my weights and a tank and store them in my locker. Tanks of air are left out and are available. But, weights are not. If you want Nitrox, you'll have to get it and gauge it before the shop closes.
     
  9. BettyfromToronto

    BettyfromToronto Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel, Mexico
    679
    297
    63
    Thanks for the details gb. I hear about getting weights a lot. We usually get our weights on arrival and put them in our BCD pockets and that's it for the week. I hope we don't have to keep switching them in & out every day for a week.

    As for the tips; we were told our package includes the meal tips so yes I will give more if someone gives us special service but otherwise no; not if it is already included. I guess the stories are of people putting the meal on their "bill" and not realizing that comes with a tip and then they go and leave cash too on the table. That means they are paying a double tip. Sorry for the confusion.

    Also Redister had suggested $8/person/dive. If there are 3 on the boat that switch around roles we might leave more. Not sure I want it on my VISA as we have to pay the exchange rate + the international transaction fee. Better to use cash from my US bank account. I assume there are safes in the room to protect our valuables?

    Thanks again everyone
    Betty

    Sorrows: Ignore the PM I just send you. Hadn't seen your reply here. Yes too bad we'll miss you but I will look for your trip report for any last minute tips I can use.
     
  10. gb_williams

    gb_williams Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Smyrna, Georgia
    223
    123
    43
     
    BettyfromToronto and Sorrows like this.

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