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BELOW DECK MEDITERRANEAN — Pictured: (l-r) Colin Macy-O’Toole, Joao Franco, Kasey Cohen — | Zev Schmitz/Bravo

Beyond getting to explore exotic locations like Tahiti and the Caribbean, crew members on Below Deck also make a good amount of coin. In addition to their base salary and practically free room and board, crew members make a tip, which can amount to some serious money.

But the crew works very hard for that tip. It could mean dressing up like Cupid for a foamy birthday party or throwing a pig roast with native dancers on a remote beach. Crew members can work up to an 18-hour day trying to meet the guests’ needs, which can be exhausting.

Sometimes tip amounts match the effort of the crew. Sometimes it doesn’t. Harsh weather conditions or the guests’ whims sometimes mean the crew busts their butts but ends up not receiving a great tip. So what is a normal tip for a charter?

This is what the crew makes in salary

Superyacht captains make anywhere from $120,000 to $180,000 annually. The larger the vessel, the higher the salary. Some captains make up to $210,00 a year. The chef typically makes anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000, and the bosun can expect between $48,000 to $60,000.

A chief stew might start at around $62,000 but could be making up to $80,000 on a larger yacht. The interior crew are also well paid and make between $50,000 to $70,000. Deckhands are looking at $40,000 to $55,000.

Tip money isn’t always divided evenly

The captain on Below Deck typically divides tip money evenly amongst the crew.  Sometimes this practice can be a little hard to swallow when one team pushes harder during a specific charter. When chief stew Kate Chastain and second stew carried the majority of a charter on Below Deck, Chastain couldn’t help but tweet. “I hope you all are enjoying tonight’s #BelowDeck, keep in mind while you watch that all crew were splitting tips evenly….that notion adds extra oomph.”

While this practice seems to be the easiest way to distribute tip money, it isn’t always the case. Tip distribution is handled differently on each yacht,  according to Yachting Pages Media Group. Guests are directed to give all tip money to the captain, they can still tip specific crew members individually too. But the practice of giving individual tips is discouraged, and crew is advised to refuse the tip money.

What’s a standard tip?

Just like any hospitality service, tipping is based on a percentage of the total bill. The Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association recommends guests tip anywhere from 5% to 15% as a customary range. Gratuity is given at the guest’s discretion, and the crew cannot drop any hints or make suggestions about tips during the charter.

On Below Deck, the captain is handed an envelope brimming with cash at the end of the charter. However, guests can wait to review the account statement before adding in gratuities. Or wait for the final bill reconciliation to award tip money.

In 2018, the nine-member crew working on My Seanna earned a $20,000 tip. However, Captain Lee Rosbach couldn’t resist adding the tip could have been larger if the stream of errors hadn’t occurred.