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Tipping your dive instructor

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by LawyerScubaGirl, May 6, 2013.

  1. LawyerScubaGirl

    LawyerScubaGirl Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Houston, TX
    10
    1
    0
    My boyfriend will be certified in Playa Del Carmen in June. I was certified in Cozumel a couple of years ago and I cannot remember now what I tipped my instructor. I'd like some ideas on what to tip.

    Information that may or may not matter - my father and I have used the dive shop a few times, we're friendly with the whole crew there (friends on Facebook, always use them when we're in PDC, etc.)

    So, thoughts? My boyfriend will do academic instruction online before we get there and then he'll do the pool/OW dives there. What would be appropriate to tip the instructor per day? Also, don't know if it matters or not, but the instructor also owns the dive shop along with her husband.

    Thanks for insight!!
     
  2. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,107
    2,608
    113
    Lots of threads on this. My experience (here at least) is I've never seen an instructor being tipped for anything. Not that I think that's right. I've seen and tipped divemasters on U.S. charters-- usually $10 per tank. The only tip I've gotten so far for assisting with a class is one free beer, which is one more than the instructor got. I tipped a DM in Panama and he was quite surprised. I guess it varies.
     
  3. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    3,623
    2,626
    113
    It's rare that I do not receive a tip. Sometimes it's just 20 bucks. Sometimes it's a bottle of booze (I don't drink, but my friends do, so thank you anyway). Sometimes it's an annual pass to Ginnie ($350). Once it was a custom Bare XCS2 Drysuit ($2000+). Usually, for a 4 day technical class, the tip of choice seems to be a Ben Franklin. Which is awesome by me.

    Granted I am teaching technical classes, and we usually develop a pretty solid friendship. It is very rare that I don't receive any tip. In fact, I can count the number of times on one hand.
    My friend Jim once received an all expense paid trip to the carribean for a tip. I'm pretty sure it was $5k+

    I guess people realize that we're not getting rich out here, but doing it because we love it. When I'm teaching, I'm taking a serious cut in pay (about 500%) from doing my real job.
     
    oly5050user likes this.
  4. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    16,879
    8,582
    113
    As an instructor I will say that I never expect tips. Yet I have gotten them and they are greatly appreciated. The "tips" that mean the most though have not been in cash. They've been in the form of referrals, students sending me pictures of them on their dives in a dream location, and one family that posed on the beach in the Dominican Republic and had written "Thanks Jim" in three foot high letters in the sand. Another one way up there is a scrimshawed mako tooth that I have been wearing for going on four years now from a couple who traveled over 1400 miles round trip with three dogs to take my AOW class.

    There have also been dinners and lunches and a couple times people slipped me a few extra bucks after getting worked over pretty good in one of my classes. But the best tip I can get is when a diver says to me that the training they got from me made them look like old hands compared to other people in the water. And they then send their friends, family, or come back themselves for more training.
     
  5. LawyerScubaGirl

    LawyerScubaGirl Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Houston, TX
    10
    1
    0
    Thank you for the replies, I really appreciate it! We love this dive shop, the owners and the DMs have been great every time we've gone with them. They are incredibly good people so we want to be sure we tip appropriately for the training. We've only ever gone out with them for dives, both my Dad and I certified elsewhere before we ever knew of this shop. We always tip for the dives of course, but neither of us was sure about the tipping for certification.

    I think we'll go ahead and offer a tip at the end of the certification process and if it's refused, then so be it, but we do want to at least offer.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  6. oly5050user

    oly5050user Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Westchester NY
    3,938
    739
    113
    20% of the cost of the training would be good. If more time/effort required and the instr spent additional time with student ,then bigger tip..I have gotten anything from $20.-$100. to all paid for trips to Grand Cayman/Fla keys/Bahamas...
     
  7. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location:
    1,756
    677
    113
    20% of my OW cert course is $112. That seems like a lot to tip...
    I'm interested in following this discussion, as it never occurred to me I'd need to tip my instructors (taking OW next month). I figured the high cost of the class was because they were paid decently. (On the other hand, I'd tip the divemaster who takes me out for $80 for a 2 tank dive, because that seems pretty cheap for the time spent + equipment costs/boat fuel etc)
     
  8. kaerius

    kaerius Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sweden
    381
    38
    28
    I know some instructors make more money in tips than they do in wages, particularly in the carribean. In most of the world however, tips are rare, but of course always welcome. I've been tipped by students(DSD and OW), always a nice surprise. :)

    Even a $20 will make your instructor quite happy, possible exception in some locations. Buying them a beer is a fairly common tip as well.
     
  9. fred3798

    fred3798 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada
    207
    73
    28
    Why tip for a course? Tipping is for extra service or providing for personal comfort. I tip waiters, taxis, DMs for sure. Course instructors? What ever for?
     
    Jax, paulw and BDSC like this.
  10. oly5050user

    oly5050user Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Westchester NY
    3,938
    739
    113
    If a student does not "get it" during a class and the instr puts in extra effort and time to get this person up to speed, do you not think that deserves a tip? I have seen an instructor put in an extra 4-5 hours of their own time for a student and not get a tip.He is not paid hourly but on a per head basis. If one of my students need extra time I no longer offer time on a free basis. The class they signed up for runs on a set schedule. If they cannot keep up in the time allotted and need extra time there is a charge for it. I tell them its $75. for an extra pool session one to one or they can join the next group class, if there is space in it, on the schedule at no charge. Very unusual for me to have a student who needs the extra time.
    How about the instructor who can teach a class and make it fun for you?
    How about the instructor who assists you with getting your gear on, or getting you into the water/out of the water? He/she could have let you carry it all yourself, not assist you into or out of the water, made the class a military exercise rather than fun..

    ---------- Post added May 6th, 2013 at 08:25 PM ----------

    Here in NY a ow course (pool & classroom) runs in the area of $200-$300. So that is a tip of $40.-$60.Even if a class of 5 collect $20. each and hand the instructor $100. I am sure the instructor would be grateful..training dives over 2 days run around $240. so a tip of $40. would be appreciated.
    High cost of class does not translate into high pay for instructor. Costs involved to run a class is high. Pool time is super expensive.Can be as much as $50. PER STUDENT for EACH pool session.This is why many NY stores that rent a pool try to get away with as little as 1 or 2 pool sessions. Figure how many hours a class runs and divide that into what the class costs. Typical class runs 16-18 hours,if you pay $300. for a class that comes out to $16. an hour. Instructor typically gets less than $4. of that in a group class of 4 students.
     

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