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Should yacht clubs stop charging a joining fee?

Cantata

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Your present location Club ,has never had joining fees & probably the cheapest family memberships fees on the East Coast @ £80
Oh no it's not. Hollowshore Cruising Club, family membership £45 and no joining fee.
I belong / have belonged to several clubs and none of them have ever charged a joining fee.
 

alant

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UK - Solent region
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.
Haven't most Clubs gone the Limited Company route?
 

Tranona

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Haven't most Clubs gone the Limited Company route?
Don't think so, if they are private members clubs. Some "clubs" are in fact businesses that just style themselves as "clubs". However many private members clubs like the one I belong too are professionally managed on the facilities (clubhouse, marina, yard) and the sailing activities a mixture of professional and volunteer.
 

grumpy_o_g

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Turn the question round - what does a Yacht Club provide for you? If you berth in a Marina you are effectively already a member of a Yacht Club. When I started sailing at Burnham it was all moorings and kids weren't allowed in pubs so the only place to gather after a day's sailing was in the Clubhouse. Members where mostly local so didn't have a 3 hour drive home, not that there were drink-drive laws. Add in the fact that most pubs didn;t do food and wouldn't be too happy with notice boards everywhere and briefings, awards, etc. all the time and a club was almost a given. It was also the main way of finding crew before the days of the internet, etc.

Nearly all those factors have gone now - you can meet in a local pub and get food and drink for much the same price as a club and things are arranged and organised via the web so there's just not the driver to belong to a club - unless that club offers facilities such as moorings, changing rooms for dinghy sailors, etc.
 

Tranona

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That is the problem when discussing "Yacht Clubs" as the generic term covers a wide range of different types of organisations.

However, I think that most are suffering for the same reason as the general boaty market - the reduction in the number of younger people coming in. This is compounded in some clubs by the aging membership taking up the resources like moorings that are the big attraction for some clubs. Added to this many clubs have reduced membership fees for "senior" members so fee income is falling.

So clubs end up with an aging membership which is not only living longer but keeping boats which they cannot or won't sell and fewer new people joining knowing they may have to wait many years for a berth for example.
 

GrahamM376

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Our club went "limited by guarantee" some years ago. Liability of the members if wound up is IIRC £1 each. Gliding club I used to be a member of was also a limited company. Unfortunately, clubs of all types seem to be suffering drop-off in membership and at ours attendance for socials seems to be the same 30 - 40 people (230+ members in total) although sailing events still holding up well.
 

prv

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many clubs have reduced membership fees for "senior" members
Seems an odd arrangement when it's generally those members who are most well-off. But I guess they're also the ones on the committee that sets the fees...

Pete
 

sailorman

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Turn the question round - what does a Yacht Club provide for you?If you berth in a Marina you are effectively already a member of a Yacht Club. When I started sailing at Burnham it was all moorings and kids weren't allowed in pubs so the only place to gather after a day's sailing was in the Clubhouse. Members where mostly local so didn't have a 3 hour drive home, not that there were drink-drive laws. Add in the fact that most pubs didn;t do food and wouldn't be too happy with notice boards everywhere and briefings, awards, etc. all the time and a club was almost a given. It was also the main way of finding crew before the days of the internet, etc.

Nearly all those factors have gone now - you can meet in a local pub and get food and drink for much the same price as a club and things are arranged and organised via the web so there's just not the driver to belong to a club - unless that club offers facilities such as moorings, changing rooms for dinghy sailors, etc.
Incorrect, berthing fees do not include club membership, try that 1 on @ Haven Ports YC in SYH :encouragement:
 
Last edited:

Supine Being

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Essex
I think that joining fee could be a factor in some cases, but one of many and a small one at that. In my own club's case, we waive the fee at all of our major recruitment drives and it isn't that significant anyway.

Many clubs are suffering declining memberships, and if the solution was something as simple as dropping the joining fee, they would all be very happy. As it is, the younger members that these clubs all crave are simply not considering club membership to the same degree that they did in the past. Many of the functions of a club can be covered via social media and without the expense of a club house and all the perceived stuffiness that comes along with it. How to up our game to appeal to these people when we are reliant on volunteers and goodwill is a perennial question, but I'm sure that there is no simple answer (although I would be very happy to be proved wrong).
 

langstonelayabout

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It's interesting that many clubs that have low or nil entry fee, low membership and low costs for mooring and lifting don't have a long membership list.

Yet, many are content to pay £5k a year to berth their larger yachts in a marina.

Maybe our sport has changed in the last thirty years.

There are cheap AWBs by the hundred for sale. Maybe we simply don't want 'older but good' any more.

Discuss
 

Resolution

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Seems an odd arrangement when it's generally those members who are most well-off. But I guess they're also the ones on the committee that sets the fees...

Pete
You are showing your age there Pete. Or lack of. As a recent addition to the ranks of OAPs, most of my friends claim still to be middle-aged. But can you be middle-aged when your children are also now well into middle age?
When I joined my club some decades ago the average member age of 60 seemed very old, and the age at which reduced subs kicked in (75 ish) seemed very very old.
Today I am in the senior half of the club, and we have recently upped the qualifying age for reduced subs on the grounds that people are generally living longer active lives.

Back to the rationale for reduced rates, the logic is (1) to encourage the aged and no longer active sailors to remain members but to keep on paying something; and (2) not all pensioners are well-off; my income has halved since I retired and expenditure seems unchanged! Oh, and in my club there has been a long-standing policy to recruit most of the General Committee members from the under fifties, with the commodes in their sixties.
 

Tranona

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Seems an odd arrangement when it's generally those members who are most well-off. But I guess they're also the ones on the committee that sets the fees...

Pete
Sensible when it was introduced many decades ago as the club changed its nature when the ferry terminal was built resulting in the club eventually owning a marina, partly financed by debentures. The idea was to encourage and reward long term membership. The original scheme required age and length of membership to equal 80, which 30 years ago seemed reasonable and would apply to very few members.

Of course the combination of improving life expectancy, willingness to keep owning a boat longer and the decline of new, younger members has lead to a skewed membership and reduced income. The rules have already been changed so the discount is lower - fortunately for me after I qualified!

Very difficult to change when as you say the decision makers are likely to be among those who benefit from such a rule. Likely to be a key discussion topic at the AGM.
 

Tranona

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Could not agree more - but as I suggested on another thread, not everybody who is retired has benefitted. I never imagined when I was younger that I would be as comfortable in retirement as I am, but the reasons are not hard to see in retrospect. Bought my first house at the age of 23, had children before I was 27, both went to Uni and have been self supporting ever since, still married to the same wife. Fortunately had a well paid second career starting when I was 40 so enough time to build a good pension and pay off mortgage.

Doubt that many of today's 30 and 40 year olds will find it so easy unless they have the income that can fund a big mortgage and are prepared to forgo unnecessary expenditure in their working lives - so no chance of a boat or joining a yacht club!
 

bedouin

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Those figures need taking with a large pinch of salt - they don't say quite what they seem. I am sure the generation they are talking about has a better standard of living than the older generation when they were the same age.

I think there are problems for that generation - relating to cost of housing and retirement planning - but the figures they quote don't show that
 

GrahamM376

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Those figures need taking with a large pinch of salt - they don't say quite what they seem. I am sure the generation they are talking about has a better standard of living than the older generation when they were the same age.
Older generation - you mean when half a crown would buy 5 Park Drive, a bottle of cider and a seat in the stalls?:)
 

bedouin

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Older generation - you mean when half a crown would buy 5 Park Drive, a bottle of cider and a seat in the stalls?:)
Not THAT old - I mean my generation :)

What the article actually shows is that there was a sharp increase in prosperity that pretty much started with the baby boomers and now they have reached retirement the rate of improvement has slowed dramatically - but that is a long way from saying that things are getting worse.
 
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