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tipping dive instructors
Shaz789 - 12/30/2014 7:16 PM
Category: New Diver Q&A
Replies: 17

How much should you tip your instructor for the advanced open water course? I want to make sure I am in the ballpark of average....
LatitudeAdjustment - 12/31/2014 5:39 AM
I tip DM’s and boat crew $5 a tank or at least 10% on a liveaboard but you paid the instructor for the course. I would only tip if he threw in something else.
Eric_R - 12/31/2014 2:42 PM
If the instructor went above and beyond what you thought was expected then a tip would be a great way to show your appreciation for their service. I would think 10%-15% would be fine for a $200 course.
SeaGoat - 12/31/2014 3:17 PM
As an instructor, I agree with the guys here. However, most instructors aren’t rolling in the dough - if I average out my hours, I make about $6-$9 per hour depending on how much time I spend with a particular class and when I mentioned it to some friends at other shops, that’s pretty typical. Most of us teach because we love diving and we want others to love it too.

That said, I personally would feel weird about receiving a tip (however, I teach on a military base so it might be different) but sometimes a thank you card, baked goods or a nice 6-pack are great ways to show your thanks. You can also send a letter of appreciation to their employer your certifying agency on their behalf.
Arieh - 1/03/2015 8:07 AM
when i learnt to dive, (which was years before anyone cared about getting certified), diving was a hobby and a passion. Scuba was something you shared to make friends and no one did it for money. We all had jobs, and diving was for utter pleasure. When we shared our skills and abilities, it was to expand our intellect, while getting those same rewards in return from the more experianced. To discuss tipping, profiteering and to accept tips for a passion that one should care to share, is shameful and pathetic...... And If you are paying extra to get your wife certificate with a tip, you should not be bragging that you bribed her instructor. You should probably also mind that if you yourself are not mindful about her competence, and can not pass your confidence on to her yourself, then you and her should probably not be diving.
Shaz789 - 1/03/2015 12:44 PM
Hi all - Thank you for your replies -

Ultimately I decided to give our instructor a tip as he has and continues to give outstanding service -above and beyond - we are not done but almost with certification - He is caring and awesome and when I thought about it I felt that something - not mega bucks, but something was necessary to say thank you... Just didn’t feel like a card or something baked was right...

Thank you so much
Arieh - 1/04/2015 12:43 AM
you wouldn’t be right to think that I earned a single penny from introducing and guiding divers Mr. #503. even when living with one foot in the gutter for two years, i never accected a dime ... like those who dove and taught before me, my only rewards from them (besides reliving our dive stories, and remembering their sense for finding new meanings from life) is that outside of my ex-wife, I have their lifetime friendships.
I taught more then several on how to dive, and i continue to lead less experienced divers on just about every excursion i take when i show up without a dive buddy. ...
My DM is not and was never for providing a service!!!! my DM (when younger) meant that I was physically capable to meet challenges that todays DM’s and instructors will never understand today, or would ever find the physical ability to attain.. ... my "passion" to show others occurred well before they made it a monopoly to be "certified", and before one learnt of the BC. .........
Arieh - 1/04/2015 12:47 AM
signed Arieh, age 49, diving since age 14,(1980) and only certified when it was getting harder to get air at age 23
Greg - 1/04/2015 8:51 AM
As an instructor, I don’t expect tips. I do expect my gear helpers to receive tips and they usually receive $10-$20. I did get a $100 tip one time, but it was because I saved a student from drowning after they freaked out when they took off their mask 15 feet underwater.
John_giu - 1/09/2015 8:52 PM
If the instructor is the employee of a resort, like Sandals, or of a dive shop
a tip might be in order. But not to a dive master who is being paid directly for the service.
The old school standard you tip a bartender but not the bar owner.
MDW - 1/24/2015 8:40 PM
I’d say tipping should be like for any other service. If the instructor is working for himself (you are paying him for the course), that is equivalent to the owner of any other business. They should be charging you what they need to make on the course. If you booked the class with a "dive shop" rest assured the shop is keeping almost all the money and paying the instructor next to nothing (or actual nothing) for doing all the work.

My standard is if your barber owns his barbershop, don’t tip. If he just work there for someone else, tip. If your waiter owns the restaurant, no tip. Regular underpaid waiter, tip.

So, if you take a class from an independent instructor, no tip unless he was truly extraordinary. If you paid a shop for the class, give the instructor some bucks (because the shop did not). Or better yet, don’t buy classes from shops where they keep all the money and have instructors doing all the work more or less for free.
DiveBuddyChgo - 1/25/2015 4:09 AM
Instructors are dive professionals and should get paid what they are worth by the shop. You should tip the same amount that You tipped all of your college professors. Teachers, Postmen, Landscape crew, Firemen, Police and all of the other service professionals. They all work hard also but not as a hobby. You are already paid your bill for that service to the shop.
bronxdiver - 1/25/2015 7:27 AM
I understand i pay a service to the shop but unless its the owner teaching the course usually i tip like i would at a restuarant to a certain degree 15-20%. The shop im affiliated with the owner doesnt teach the courses anymore his staff does. They ALL make the same pay $13hr that they pay taxes on. I know diving is a hobby but some maybe trying to generate money from it as a second job. I know plenty of friends who are bartenders bought into the bar and lost their blue collar job and luckily they kept the nights they bartended cause it got them through the bad times. Poeple might not left as much as before but they still provide u with a personal service. I do see alot of old school replies here. Barbershop owner i give $1-$2 the non owner who pays rent to the barber for his chair space i give $20 on a $15 haircut. Barbers by me charge $5per person chair fee, beauty salons more. In new york if ur a instructor whose not affiliated with a shop you have to pay a fee to the place ur teaching ur course out of for class room space or pool time depending. So its not all gravy for the instructor. I think more and more dive shops close now cause costs have gone up and they try not to raise the cost on us, but their lossing money. Gets to a point hobby or not ur time is worth something and people just dnt have time anymore when they have families when their not making any cash. I do give a small tip to my garbage men and postman still because its the same crew all the time and they take care of me on certain things. I even give a small envelope at the holidays to my doorman and employees that mybuilding collects for, even though i dnt get tipped at my job. Some jobs today the base pay is minimal and u hope u can make up alittle something in tips. Watersports has a reputation of barely being minimal pay its just fun in the sun, but when ur doing this as a main source of income u like alittle appreciation at the end. After reading some of these comments now i understand why some places add the tip into the bill cause some people i think wouldnt leave a dollar.
RockRat2008 - 5/27/2015 9:52 AM
@bronxdiver - I like your attitude. As a DiveMaster who works for a struggling shop I pretty much work anywhere from 10-30 hours "part-time" after my full-time 40+ hour a week job for air fills. The shop owner is trying to keep the doors open and I am doing My part to help so yes, tips help. If I didn’t have a decent job already I wouldn’t be able to afford gas to and from the dive shop every day b/c it is a 20 mile drive each way.

I’m in the pool helping every pool session, and there for every check out dive. I’m the one loading gear, unloading gear, etc. and often times not even for a thank you.

We have already had more than one dive shop in the area close because shops can’t afford to pay staff because people can buy something for $5 cheaper online.

So just because you think someone is getting paid well, or making enough, or the cost of them being there should be built into a course doesn’t mean it is always the case.

If someone does something that earns them a tip above and beyond normal service then they should be recognized for it.

drops .02 in the bucket and gets off the soapbox