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Should yacht clubs stop charging a joining fee?

PhillM

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15 Nov 2010
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Solent
We are waiving the joining fee at Royal Southern at the moment. Even in the current situation, we are receiving new applications.

In my case club membership, with free access to an excellent bosun service is actually cheaper than paying to keep a dinghy shoreside. That said, there is also so much more benefit from being a club member, both when local and off cruising.
 

RobbieW

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24 Jun 2007
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On land for now
We moved down to Lake Solent a couple of years back and have struggled to find a suitable sailing club to join.

The main issue being a club which is located near where we could realistically keep the boat
Where you say 'realistically keep' what are you looking for ? River berths on the Hamble are fairly easily available for +- £3k, there are then 4 clubs to choose from, 3 on the Hamble side and 1 in Warsash. I'm a member at the RAFYC which suits my needs at reasonable cost
 

Little Grebe

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From the Needles to the Nab, from Cowes to St Cath
Despite spending my early days sailing off half tide moorings on the East Coast I have become accustomed to the convenience of a walk ashore pontoon berth. I have, perhaps, been spoiled in that my yacht club located there had its own marina along with a MDL marina located just upstream.

Unfortunately the Hamble marinas are beyond my means (I have found them rather unrestful when visiting) so otherwise I think that leaves Chichester Marine & Chichester Yacht Club and the Lymington clubs and marinas?

I have friends who keep their boat one of the Gosport marinas and are members of Portsmouth Sailing Club but their club house is the other side of the harbour.
 

Keith 66

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21 Jun 2007
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1,239
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Benfleet Essex
Then the joining fee should be refunded to the member when he or she decides to leave.
Why? its not a loan. It is only applicable for people joining as full members so associates or cadets dont pay it, nor do cadets transfering to full.
For the new full member you are buying into something that many people have spent many years & untold time building.
 

europe172

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Joined
2 Sep 2007
Messages
205
Our club has debated stopping the joining fee, But for me it shows some commitment from the new member, it makes them consider carefully the joining. It can take a lot of work to arrange a membership and this can be wasted if they join only to find it wasn’t for them. ( our joining fee is £125)
 

PhillM

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15 Nov 2010
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Solent
Despite spending my early days sailing off half tide moorings on the East Coast I have become accustomed to the convenience of a walk ashore pontoon berth. I have, perhaps, been spoiled in that my yacht club located there had its own marina along with a MDL marina located just upstream.

Unfortunately the Hamble marinas are beyond my means (I have found them rather unrestful when visiting) so otherwise I think that leaves Chichester Marine & Chichester Yacht Club and the Lymington clubs and marinas?

I have friends who keep their boat one of the Gosport marinas and are members of Portsmouth Sailing Club but their club house is the other side of the harbour.
I very much liked walk ashore. But now have a trot toward the upper end of the Hamble (opposite Universal). The convenience of the Bosun service (usually 0800-1800 daily) and ability to short stay at the club for free, means that access is almost as good as walk-ashore. Of course, when staying onboard for a while, I tend to go into a marina, but wouldn't be on my mooring / marina home anyway. So costs came down from several thousands to £700 for the HM mooring and about the same for club membership and parking.

Note the comments re the RAF. Its a good club too. However, I do like the 7x364 bosun service at Southern.
 

Mark-1

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22 Sep 2008
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I'm pretty sure joining fees help retain member as well. People will be much more careful not to let membership lapse if they know there's a substantial cost in rejoining.

Makes people think harder about joining but *much* harder about leaving and eliminates people taking a season off every now and then.
 

PhillM

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15 Nov 2010
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Solent
I'm pretty sure joining fees help retain member as well. People will be much more careful not to let membership lapse if they know there's a substantial cost in rejoining.

Makes people think harder about joining but *much* harder about leaving and eliminates people taking a season off every now and then.
TBH I am fairly sure that at my club people can suspend and rejoin without having to pay to rejoin.
 

JumbleDuck

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8 Aug 2013
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22,214
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SW Scotland
Our club has debated stopping the joining fee, But for me it shows some commitment from the new member, it makes them consider carefully the joining. It can take a lot of work to arrange a membership and this can be wasted if they join only to find it wasn’t for them. ( our joining fee is £125)
The sunk cost fallacy is lurking there. Once they have joined, the cost of arranging a membership is irrelevant; what matters is the cost of ending a membership.
 

JumbleDuck

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I'm pretty sure joining fees help retain member as well. People will be much more careful not to let membership lapse if they know there's a substantial cost in rejoining.
Only if the joining fee is more than a year's membership, of course. An even better way to retain members might be to make membership attractive and value for money.
 

lw395

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16 May 2007
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42,084
Only if the joining fee is more than a year's membership, of course. An even better way to retain members might be to make membership attractive and value for money.
It's still true that a great many clubs are happily ticking along in a stable way, catering for the same type of members who founded the club, very often generations of the same founding families.
Both my current clubs have a pretty clear ethos and are not desperately seeking any old members to bump up the cash flow. One is busier than the other, which could do with some more regular racing members.
If anyone doesn't like the way existing clubs scale their charges or run as businesses, feel free to start your own club, you never know, other people might want to join.
 

Mark-1

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22 Sep 2008
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2,858
The sunk cost fallacy is lurking there. Once they have joined, the cost of arranging a membership is irrelevant; what matters is the cost of ending a membership.
If you're sure you're never going to need to rejoin then yes. Less so if you're (say) taking a year off local sailing. ...plus there are a lot of people who *do* base decisions on the sunk cost fallacy, I'm sure we can all think of endless examples.

Only if the joining fee is more than a year's membership, of course.
In Clubs where I've been a member the joining fee was one year's membership, I've always assumed that wasn't coincidence and was chosen specifically to deter people from taking 'gap' years.

TBH I am fairly sure that at my club people can suspend and rejoin without having to pay to rejoin.
Clubs where I've been a member the threat of having to pay the joining fee was a big motivator in getting people to renew promptly. (In spite of the fact that I don't recall late payers ever actually being made to rejoin.)

I'm not especially advocating joining fees, just saying that I can see the logic.
 

lw395

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16 May 2007
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42,084
Despite spending my early days sailing off half tide moorings on the East Coast I have become accustomed to the convenience of a walk ashore pontoon berth. I have, perhaps, been spoiled in that my yacht club located there had its own marina along with a MDL marina located just upstream.

Unfortunately the Hamble marinas are beyond my means (I have found them rather unrestful when visiting) so otherwise I think that leaves Chichester Marine & Chichester Yacht Club and the Lymington clubs and marinas?

I have friends who keep their boat one of the Gosport marinas and are members of Portsmouth Sailing Club but their club house is the other side of the harbour.
No, it's Gosport that's on the 'other' side of the harbour.

Personally I would look at clubs near whichever part of the Solent I was living closest to.
Getting from Southsea to Hamble or Lymington or even Chi Marina by car is far more trouble than getting around the harbours in a dinghy.

It may sound bonkers, but you will see people accessing boats on pontoons in Haslar Marina by launching a dinghy from the Portsmouth side!
 

lw395

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42,084
If you're sure you're never going to need to rejoin then yes. Less so if you're (say) taking a year off local sailing. ...plus there are a lot of people who *do* base decisions on the sunk cost fallacy, I'm sure we can all think of endless examples.



In Clubs where I've been a member the joining fee was one year's membership, I've always assumed that wasn't coincidence and was chosen specifically to deter people from taking 'gap' years.



Clubs where I've been a member the threat of having to pay the joining fee was a big motivator in getting people to renew promptly. (In spite of the fact that I don't recall late payers ever actually being made to rejoin.)

I'm not especially advocating joining fees, just saying that I can see the logic.
Both my clubs give a little discount for paying membership by an early deadline. There is a second deadline, after which they change the code on the gate.
One has a trivial joining fee and a low sub.
The other has no joining fee, if you join late summer you can get 18 months for the price of a year.
 

Robin

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home again, where democracy needs no guns
This is an old thread and I may have said this before. Many clubs have valuable assets, like clubhouse premises in expensive areas of real estate, land, rescue boats, work boats etc. These will have been funded by existing and previous members. I believe in the event of a club closing, the assets if sold are to be divided amongst members. A joining fee is a contribution from a new applicant/member towards what existing members have already put in. This was the case at my Golf club and Yacht club back in the days we were Poole based, our current one in Cowes is a very much smaller affair and only has a tiny joining fee
 

Solent Sailor

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9 Feb 2018
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165
TBH I am fairly sure that at my club people can suspend and rejoin without having to pay to rejoin.
Technically, no they can't (or at least couldn't a few years ago) but it was waived for me and may well be for others. I had a couple of years out of membership whilst our children were tiny and we had no chance of getting anywhere near the club, let alone the water!
 

Walther

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19 Jan 2015
Messages
143
Many clubs have valuable assets, like clubhouse premises in expensive areas of real estate, land, rescue boats, work boats etc. These will have been funded by existing and previous members.... A joining fee is a contribution from a new applicant/member towards what existing members have already put in.
Sometimes this is true, sometimes not. It depends on the individual club.

Some clubs rent their premises and have little real assets. In those circumstances, it is difficult to justify more than token joining fees.

More than a few clubs with significant assets are also carrying a lot of debt on their balance sheets, which they are (very!) gradually paying down through annual ‘capital levies’ to which all members are subject. Again, in those circumstances substantial joining fees for new members are difficult to justify.

In any case, joining fees should be segregated to a special capital improvement or maintenance fund, rather than going into a club’s general revenue. Any club that treats joining fees as operating income is running a de facto Ponzi scheme.
 

JumbleDuck

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8 Aug 2013
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It's still true that a great many clubs are happily ticking along in a stable way, catering for the same type of members who founded the club, very often generations of the same founding families.
Adnd very often clubs tick along quite nicely with the same members for years ... until they all hit old age at athe same time, membership plummets and they suddenly realise that nobody (almost) has actually joined for thirty years ...

I'm not especially advocating joining fees, just saying that I can see the logic.
So can I, but I can also see that if you actually want new members, charging them double or more for the first year is likely to put a lot of people off, and demanding "commitment" from joiners sounds more like a cult than a club. At one gliding club where I flew the first year's membership was half price (no joining fee) to attract people in, and that too has its logic.

This is an old thread and I may have said this before. Many clubs have valuable assets, like clubhouse premises in expensive areas of real estate, land, rescue boats, work boats etc. These will have been funded by existing and previous members. I believe in the event of a club closing, the assets if sold are to be divided amongst members.
I knew a gliding club which ended up with something like ten members and £200k's worth of gliders. There must be some profitable opportunities for demutualisation of yacht clubs around the place.
 
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