Allocation of Duties – A Guide for New and Current Members – V1.1

Sailing is going through a difficult period with most clubs in the UK seeing falling memberships and reduced income.  We are all lucky to be part of a successful sailing club and a significant part of this success is down to our racing activities.  We now often see over 50 boats participating in a series and we have National Classes queuing up to hold events with us.  We are also back to a situation, which used to be the norm, where there is a waiting list for dinghy park spaces.

The club, as we are sure you are aware, is run by volunteers and a condition of membership is that all Full, Family/Partnership and Youth/Student Members 18 years of age and older must undertake 2-3 duties a year to support the club and our sailing programme. As we sail on an exposed coast, safety must be the prime concern in running our club. The officers of the club have a duty of care to all members sailing at club events and must ensure that these are effectively managed and with appropriate safety cover provided. Members also have a responsibility to each other to cooperate with this process and the majority understand this and do so willingly.

We have however recently seen a worrying increase in the number of members not showing up for their duties and making no attempt, or a very limited attempt, to arrange a substitute, to the extent that during 2015, barely a week went by without at least one member not showing up for a duty .   For the safety of members we cannot allow this situation to continue and so we will be making some changes in preparation for 2016.  To that end a working group of some of the most senior members of the club have been meeting over the past 12 months to identify why people don’t turn up for their duties and to put measures in place to help prevent this happening in the future.

Issues identified / common reasons given include, but are not limited to:

  • Not returning any duty preferences and then being unhappy with duties allocated.
  • Being a non-sailing member and deciding that they wouldn’t be any help if they did a duty
  • Too busy at work.
  • Growing family commitments.
  • Personal issues.
  • Having Weddings /Anniversaries spring up.
  • Unexpectedly going away for the weekend and so on…

To resolve these issues, on top of the existing duty swap system6, we are making the following changes:

  • Removing the duty process from the membership renewal to raise its profile, to draw attention to the fact that it needs to be completed and to make it easier to manage1
  • Allow non sailing members2 to be excused from sailing duties if they wish.
  • Allow members to buy themselves out of doing duties for the coming season3
  • Hold a list of suitable people who can stand in as replacements for members who aren’t able to attend at the last minute4
  • Lastly having been given all these opportunities to work out a solution for their duties if a member still doesn’t turn up for a duty then the committee reserves the right to impose a financial penalty on that members renewal for the following year.5

We hope that what we are proposing is both fair and helpful and will also serve to reduce the amount of ‘no-shows’ considerably. It has to be remembered that we are not asking anyone to do anything extra or new, all we are trying to achieve is to get members to do the duties that they signed up and agreed to do when they submitted their membership form to join the club.

1 Members will be requested to submit their duty preferences through the Duty Preference Form on the Club website here

2 Non Sailing Member is defined as a member who has never sailed and is never likely to sail.  They might, for example, be included within a family membership but only because they are the spouse or parent of members who do sail.

3 For a fixed fee of £150 per Member, a member can buy themselves out of doing duties for the coming season. It is anticipated that this option will only be requested by members in exceptional circumstances. If this proves not to be the case then the Committee reserves the right to withdraw this facility.

4 The Club will hold a list of suitable members who, for a fee of £40, are prepared to stand in last minute for a member who has a last minute emergency. This is a private arrangement between the members concerned, the club only holds the list of people prepared to stand in.

5 The Committee reserves the right to charge £75 for each duty missed when a member has made no attempt whatsoever to do his duty. This will be levied on the membership renewal of the member for the following year.

6 DutyMan, enables you to arrange a duty swap with other members. It can be accessed through the club website here using the login details that have already been emailed to you. If you cannot remember your login details you can request a reminder using the appropriate help button on the bottom right of the DutyMan welcome page. Once logged in you will be able to see the duty roster for the entire season with your duty dates underlined in red on the left hand side. You will also be able to see members who are already requesting swaps (the red/blue arrows to the right hand side of their names) plus the members directory containing all members email addresses and phone numbers. Follow the directions for requesting a swap by email and if that doesn’t seem to be producing a result or if time is short you will need to phone suitable members instead.  Once a telephone swap is arranged please email Helen Bruno so that the Roster can be updated.

Screen Shot of DutyMan showing your duties which are underlined in red on the left and people who are looking to swap duties on the left



Screenshot showing Members Directory in DutyMan where you can find contact details for all club members.