There are often a lot of questions about the duties that members are required to perform, so we have pulled together a few frequently asked questions.
Why do we need to do duties?
Ans. It is normal practice across all sailing clubs in the UK for members to perform duties to keep the club running. There are no employees of the club, nor anyone paid to perform duties. The club is run by volunteers, and by sharing the activities between us by performing organised duties, we are able to run regular sailing and racing. Without the duties, the club does not operate.
What duties will I be expected to perform?
Ans. Typically, there are several roles, allocated based on sailing ability, experience, and training on using the safety boat. Race officer and Assistant Race Officer are generally allocated to people with sailing racing experience. Rescue Driver and Rescue Assistant are allocated to people with experience on operating the safety boat. Galley and galley assistant are allocated to everyone else to help serving teas, coffees and sandwiches.
How many duties will I be expected to do each year?
Ans. Typically, each member is required to do one Sunday duty per quarter, but in practice it often works out to be just 2 or 3 times a year. Its approximately 3-6hrs volunteering per duty. If you are rota’ed on a particular date and cannot perform the duty, you need to organise a replacement.
How will I know what duties and dates I will need to volunteer?
Ans. We use a system called DutyMan, which allocates everyone duties on sailing dates. If you know you will be unavailable on a particular date, you can use the system to request and action duty swaps.
Will I receive training for the duties?
Ans. If you need training, then yes. We often put regular volunteers through the RYA powerboat courses to have the skills and experience to operate the safetyboat. We also run Race Officer training sessions. The notes for which are on the club website.
If I volunteer for other clubs (eg. Scouts or Sailability), am I still expected to do duties?
Ans. Great that you volunteer for other clubs too, but that does not keep the sailing club operating, so we expect everyone to perform the Sunday duties.
Can I do Wednesday duties instead of Sunday duties?
Ans. Everyone is expected to do the rota’ed Sunday duties. If you want to volunteer for the Wednesday evening sailing and rota then that’s great too, but you still have the obligation to perform the Sunday duties.
What happens if I cannot do a duty, say due to illness?
Ans. If possible, please try to organise a replacement for your duty, through DutyMan or via email. Please also let the commodore know (mailto::firstname.lastname@example.org).
What happens if I don’t want to do the duties?
Ans. We hope this isn’t the case, but maybe sailing clubs aren’t for you, as they all operate on the same principles of members performing duties. Members who repeatedly fail to perform duties will not be invited to renew their membership.
Can I negotiate which duties I perform?
Ans. We operate on the basis of fairness and transparency, and everyone is expected to perform duties. There are no exceptions. On the membership form you can tick the boxes of the duties which you have skills to perform. You will then be allocated duties in the DutyMan system.
What happens if I don’t renew my membership?
Ans. We hope you continue to enjoy your sailing membership, but we understand that things change and you might want to move on. Good luck with your new challenges. If you have a boat in the compound, please remove it before the end of the expired membership. If your boat is still in the compound in the new membership year, it will be moved to the back of the compound. We will remind you to remove your boat, and after a few months, your boat will be disposed or sold as a last resort (following the agreed process in point 11 of the membership form Ts & Cs).