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Despite not seeing the Below Deck captains taking a portion of the tip, Captain Lee Rosbach says he does receive tip money from the charters.

Captain Lee Rosbach
Captain Lee Rosbach |Ralph Bavaro/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

A fan recently wondered on Twitter whether the entire tip goes only to the crew. However, the tip seen given out to the crew on the show is only a portion of it. For instance, crew members received $1,000 each when “Max and Dax” left a $12,000 tip. Only eight crew members are on the show, which meant $4,000 of the tip money went to crew not seen on the show, plus the captain.

“I do indeed share,” Rosbach responded to the fan question about the tip share. “We all do, even the crew you don’t see.” 

Yacht captains typically receive a tip

Below Deck captains are never seen taking the tip money. Instead, they hand out wads of cash to the crew who are featured on the series. However, in general yacht captains also take part in the tip.

“A yacht captain’s salary can be supplemented by any tips left by charter guests at the conclusion of their time on board,” according to Yachting Pages Media Group. “Taking this into account, a captain’s take-home pay is generally a lot larger than their contracted salary.”

As seen on the show, tips are almost always given in cash. “All tips should be given directly to the captain so that he can divide the amount out between all the crew. It is important to remember that there may be crew that have worked just as hard as others but have been less visible during your trip,” according to Boat International.

Captain Lee Rosbach discussed the ‘plane ticket’ approach to tips

While tip money is typically divided equally, some yachties recounted scenarios where the captain kept the majority of the tips. Rosbach replied to a 2014 thread on Dockwalk about the tip amount captains (and the crew) should take.

“I do not think it is fair for the Captain to keep the lions share of the gratuity,” Rosbach replied on the thread. “On any yacht I have command of, we have a policy that I inform all crew from the date they start, concerning tips. We all share equally. Everyone gets the same amount.”


‘Below Deck’: Are Tips Always Given in Cash?

Rosbach continued: “If a [particular] crew member is not pulling their weight and really doesn’t deserve a full share of the tip I handle it this way. I still divide the tip evenly and the crew member who really doesn’t deserve a full share gets something extra in his or her envelope along with their full share, a one way plane ticket home.”  

Rosbach concluded by saying this policy has always worked well for him.