A simple point
Tips can be an annoyance, they can make us uncomfortable, and sometimes seem like a rip off.

My point is simple: The custom of tipping for certain services is a fact of life and your feelings about it are your issue. Figure out how to handle tips properly and then recognize that it is a cost of receiving services and you are in charge.

Use tipping to reward those who do a great job. I don’t use it to punish those who don’t because you can’t. They will interpret it to say that you are a jerk - that’s human nature. I’m not saying I wouldn’t tip less, of course I do, but I don’t leave them a dime and cause a scene. When they deliver the check ask to have a word and simply explain in a calm manner that you were disappointed in some way. I’ll bet that half the time you’ll see a light bulb go on and get an apology.

I Like Tips Too!
Unfortunately very few people find it appropriate to tip their moderator. I think I’ll start a new trend in tipping. Perhaps I need a virtual sign.


  • Tipping your moderator is OK! (or just join Paddling Perks)

a virtual mason jar

Hey Brent,

I have a nice graphic for you of a tip jar. I use it on my site, and every once in a great while someone drops some cash into it.

Thanks Bryan
I don’t think I’ll be putting the tip jar out just yet. I was just agreeing with the confusion that many people here voiced about when it is appropriate to tip.

Sometimes I wonder how people can use for 5 years without paying or “tipping” a single penny. Yet after a 2-hour lesson, or 5-minute cab ride a tip is expected.

The original question posted here is particularly interesting and one I’ve been asked several times over the years. I think it’s good to see some discussion on the topic and will be nice to point people to this thread in the future. certainly does not require any form of payment, and has no plans to do so anytime in the future … of course tips are always appreciated :slight_smile:

Have a great week everybody.


Working for someone else?
No way. These are self employed guides, their own boats and collect the full amount. They are ACA certified so thay can cash in on insurance. I’d like to make that money!

If you want to work for a store and make $10 an hour, do it but don’t expect people to feel sorry for you. Or have the guts to teach on your own and collect the profits and deal with the expenses.

I believe it’s called democracy.

Never crossed my mind
I just took two lessons from an instructor and it never even occurred to me to tip her. I bought her (and her helpers) an ice cream after our one trip, but that hardly counts as a tip.

I don’t recall my friend who’s a diving instructor ever being tipped. I’ll have to ask him when I see him tomorrow night.

Diving Instructor Tips
I wasn’t an instructor, I was just the guy who loaded/unloaded tanks, and drove the bus. From time to time I would get a nice tip from an older customer if I made a point to do their heavy lifting for them, but other college kids never even thought about it.

Extra If They Come Back Bloody!
I would probably give a small tip for a kayak tour, but a lesson in big surf or white water deserves a meaningful expression of gratitude. Especially if the instructor isn’t shy about getting up close.

If its an employee, that means a money tip, especially for some poor young kid working his way though college.

If its a shop owner it also means making a point of buying gear and boats from his shop, even if you pay a couple buck more.

We also had a tradition of taking the instructor to lunch after a group “lesson”

The group surf lessons I used to do weren’t so much about instruction as having someone to organize a play date for people to meet, and making sure everyone was about on the same level.

Or maybe capitalism,
democracy is a form of government, not an economic system. :slight_smile:

I’m sure you knew that, it’s just one of my pet peeves.

No one answer, apparently
I asked my fellow students after taking a class recently. The class was taught by the owners plus one of their employees. EXCELLENT instruction, so let’s get that variable out of the way right now.

Nobody really knew what was expected. Out of 6 people I asked, one said “No tip if the instructor is an owner but you might tip the employee.”

The rest said “Probably no tips for instruction–tips are for tour-guiding.”

One person added, “Buy a bunch of stuff from the shop.” (Something I was already doing! Two nice new paddles, plus a whole bunch of smaller items. Literally the whole class was buying gear there, some of it major purchases such as Gore-tex drysuits.)

BUT they also said, “Maybe send a thank-you card and perhaps a gift for the home they are building.”

I’m still wondering if I screwed up by not tipping them. I like the gift idea, so it’s not too late. I could get a gift for the shop itself, something both the owners and the employees could enjoy.

And I’ll be back for more lessons, too.

If their class was high-priced in the first place, I would not be inclined to tip. But it was very reasonable, for great instruction AND fun.

May not be in the same realm…
but I know a few ‘salon’ owners (read: barbers) who have told me it IS proper to tip an employee, but as the owner is the one making all the profit, if he/she does it, you do not tip them. So… I’d say if the owner is the one pocketing all the $$$$, he/she sure doesn’t deserve any tip on top of ALL the profit. I wouldn’t accept a tip, and have passed up many, for instructing anyone who has paid ME, the owner, for teaching him/her to paddle. Sorry, but that would be redundent pay, would it not?

Yes Brent, but
the guides are not hauling in money hand over fist from the advertising.

I have watched the forum come a long way.

  • And we all do love you. Isn’t that worth more than money?



I don’t know the protocal on “Shop …
owners” if there is any, but I would always tip the guide if he/she is providing a good service.

I would never tip the guide if he/she was not a competant guide or providing a poor service.

If the shop was just a small one man outfit I probably would tip using the same criteria as above.

Many times on trips with a group of people the group pools there tip money and gives it to the guide(s) as one purse.

Just some thoughts from guided trips over the years.

A little tipping story: Up in the Yukon territory we were looking for a shuttle to do a thirty mile section of the Yukon River and were put onto a a Germain guy who had come over on vacation and decided to stay. He was living in a shack and didn’t have squat, (reminded me of the hippie days). He agreed to carry our two kayaks on the top of his old beat up car, on his 2"x4" rack system which was secured by rope through the windows, from our take out (where we were camping) to the put-in for ten dollars (Canadian).

As we drove it was hard to understand him, but for the most part we were warned how dangerous the river could be.

At the put in I paid him the ten dollars and gave him another twenty five which I had to argue with him to take, and we parted ways, not expecting to see him again.

In the evening (about 9 PM) when we arrived back at our camp site take out. He was sitting there waiting for us and when I asked him how long he was there and why, his reply was: “Only a few hours, and I just wanted to make sure you got back safely”



Diving Instructor tips
I asked my friend who’s been a diving instructor for 30 years if ever got a tip. He said he never got a cash tip, but occasionally someone would give him a little gift or buy him a lunch after certifying dives.

The only tipping I’ve done in the dive industry is when I travel. Tips for the crew (inc. dive masters) on a boat are expected.

Here ya go, buddy