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Should yacht clubs stop charging a joining fee?

tony_lavelle

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27 Sep 2005
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246
Location
Medway
Many clubs have declining membership and struggle to pay the rent and other costs. To encourage new members should these clubs drop their joining fees?

Many golf clubs with the same problem has stopped charging to join.
 

prv

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29 Nov 2009
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Southampton
Only if they have reason to think that the fee is what's stopping people who would otherwise join. I have nothing against sailing clubs, but I'm not a member of one and am unlikely to become so any time soon. That's got nothing to do with any joining fee, and a club somewhere dropping theirs isn't going to make me suddenly want to join.

Pete
 

dunedin

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3 Feb 2004
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Boat (now back in) the Clyde
Surely it is a matter of supply and demand, and for each individual club to decide?

Many clubs don't have joining fees anyway. In others the members jointly own some expensive assets, so makes sense for new joiners to inject some "capital" in the form of the membership fee.
If the benefits don't match the overall membership costs (including annual fee) don't join
 

drakes drum

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24 Dec 2014
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612
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bristol & st mawes
How do they pay costs by decreasing income? I cant imagine many boat owners being put off membership by the odd £200 joining fee so I cant see the absence of a joining fee doing much for membership income.And the clubs I am a member of dont have declining membership either
 

vyv_cox

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16 May 2001
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North Wales, sailing Aegean Sea.
A minor golf club near to us seems to have no joining fee, but the annual membership fee is £532, which is enormous by comparison with yacht club memberships in our area.
 

Colvic Watson

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23 Nov 2004
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Norfolk
Well so far it's stopped us joining the local club in each of the three paces we were berthed over the last 12 years. When you have a family of five it's a big sum before you've worked out if you like the place. Why not charge six months trial membership in lieu of a joining fee? If it's nice you stay, if you don't like it they keep the money. But clubs never change.
 

bedouin

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I've never understood the logic behind that - and it has certainly put me off joining in the past. The yacht club doesn't incur much additional cost in signing up a member.

RYSC has a much more sensible approach - they heavily discount the first year's membership
 

sailorman

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Here or there
Well so far it's stopped us joining the local club in each of the three paces we were berthed over the last 12 years. When you have a family of five it's a big sum before you've worked out if you like the place. Why not charge six months trial membership in lieu of a joining fee? If it's nice you stay, if you don't like it they keep the money. But clubs never change.
Your present location Club ,has never had joining fees & probably the cheapest family memberships fees on the East Coast @ £80
 

Toutvabien

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17 Sep 2002
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Location
East London
I would go further and suggest that those struggling to attract and keep new members offer the first year free or half price to encourage people to try membership. A lot of clubs seem to have large premises, with associated fixed costs, and struggle to get many people through the door. I was in our club on a few Friday and Saturday evenings last summer when the bar staff outnumbered the customers.
 

bedouin

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Which club is that?
Dyslexia strikes again :)

RSYC - Royal Southampton at Ocean Village

I haven't got round to joining them yet either - but more likely to because of their virtually free first year - nothing to lose. After the first year though the fee is on the high side - certainly for someone like me who would get limited use from the club.
 

Foolish Muse

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27 Dec 2012
Messages
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Our club has several levels of initiation fee, depending on the age of the new member. The age cut off points are at 19, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45. For example a 34 year old pays $2,600 less than a 45 year old. We are watching our membership get very old and want to attract younger members. This seems to be helping us get new members. Also initiation fees can be paid over 2 years.

Our moorage fees are slightly less than the private marina down the road, but our monthly yacht club fees make it a bit more expensive. But you get all the benefits of one of the world's most beautiful yacht clubs.
 

Woodlouse

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7 Jan 2006
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Behind your curtains.
I've never understood the logic behind that - and it has certainly put me off joining in the past. The yacht club doesn't incur much additional cost in signing up a member.

RYSC has a much more sensible approach - they heavily discount the first year's membership
The joining fee isn't to cover the cost of signing up. Essentially you are buying a stake in the premises and assets, your annual fee is then for covering running costs. Should the club ever liquidate then as a member you'd be eligible for a portion of any remaining proceeds.
 

Robin

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30 May 2001
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home again, where democracy needs no guns
The joining fee isn't to cover the cost of signing up. Essentially you are buying a stake in the premises and assets, your annual fee is then for covering running costs. Should the club ever liquidate then as a member you'd be eligible for a portion of any remaining proceeds.
+1 Spot on:encouragement: and for those wanting a free entry ask not what the club can do for you but what you can do for the club. Too many people it seems like the idea of cheaper food and beer and/or a cheaper mooring but are always too busy to join in with club activities.

OUr local 'club' here in Florida is more a swanky restaurant with valet parking and has very little resembling a British YC and most of the members are on ginormous mobos. We are still offshore ( cheaper dues) members of our club back in Poole, just in case we win the lottery and go back home. I was a founder member of one dinghy sailing club, inland, then a member of LIlliput SC a Poole SC, with an ancient and very small cruiser, then later, and still am a member of Parkstone YC in Poole which is IMO one of, if not THE best yacht club in the UK. When we joined PYC 25 years or more ago there was a joining fee, spread over 2 years, the 1st year being considered probationary from both club and applicant. The club owns a very nice clubhouse with restaurant etc, has extensiveshoreside storage areas for dinghies in summer and laid up boats in winter and has boatyard facilities and a splendid yacht haven (marina). It is only fair that aspiring new members should contribute something towards the value of assets paid for by the existing membership.

It is all too easy for people to criticise when they have no idea how things work. The alternative for those that think it easy is to go buy some waterside land and start a new club, then see how they feel about it a few years down the line.
 
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Resolution

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16 Feb 2006
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3,242
Entry Fees and subscriptions are subject to the usual principles of economics, driven by supply and demand. If your club needs more revenue from members, either get the existing members to pay more, or try to increase the number of members. My club, like many, did away with the entry fee at the start of the recession in order to encourage new members. Subs were also held at a level. Today, membership has grown and finances are apparently in good shape, so a modest entry fee has been re-instated.

In accounting terms, I would expect most clubs treat Entry Fees and annual subs in the same manner, ie as ordinary revenue. Entry Fees are one-off items of revenue, not a capital subscription, so not related really to the value of existing assets in the club. Members rights in a liquidation will be covered elsewhere in the Rules or Articles, and are most unlikely to refer to Entry Fees. In rare cases, like the Royal HK YC, or (?)Wentworth Golf Club, there may be a class of member who has subscribed to a debenture (ie a loan to the club) and these can be worth tens of thousands of pounds and would be refundable in a liquidation (if there are enough assets).
 
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Colvic Watson

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23 Nov 2004
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Norfolk
Your present location Club ,has never had joining fees & probably the cheapest family memberships fees on the East Coast @ £80
Was that a yacht club? I thought it was just a restaurant/bar with very friendly clientele. We considered joining RHYC but the joining fee out us off when we didn't know if we'd like it. Now that we've left the Orwell and moved to the Blyth for a while we'll see what's there.
 

Foolish Muse

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27 Dec 2012
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375
Essentially you are buying a stake in the premises and assets,
There is a private golf club in central Toronto which has the highest real estate prices in Canada. The land is worth millions of dollars to each member. Needless to say no one is giving up their membership, which is passed down from generation to generation. I once asked why they don't sell it all. Their answer: "Where would we golf?"
 

sailorman

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21 May 2003
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Here or there
Was that a yacht club? I thought it was just a restaurant/bar with very friendly clientèle. We considered joining RHYC but the joining fee out us off when we didn't know if we'd like it. Now that we've left the Orwell and moved to the Blyth for a while we'll see what's there.
Since 1978 as it happens,& RYA Affiliated as too.
 
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