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Club rescue boat rotas

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MikeBz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MikeBz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Club rescue boat rotas
    Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 8:28am

Well this topic isn't exactly dinghy development, but this is where most of the dinghy racing discussion happens...

Our club is almost entirely run by volunteers, including race office and rescue boat duties.  We have a system in place whereby everyone gets 2 duties to do per season (not too arduous is it?).  At the end of the previous season a chart goes up on the club noticeboard, and you can pick your duties from what's available, or you can wait and have them allocated to you.   When the sailing program is published and sent to every member it contains a complete list of duties & names.  A few weeks before your duty you get a card through the post reminding you of it, and imploring you to 'phone if you really can't make it and really can't find anyone who will swap duties with you.

Sadly some people are either extremely forgetful or extremely selfish and just don't turn up and don't even have the courtesy to let anyone know they won't be turning up.  When this happens there are 3 options - 1) Scout around at the last minute begging for someone to man a rescue boat (this sometimes works in the summer, but not on a cold winter Sunday), 2) Abandon racing at the last minute so everyone is disappointed and angry, or 3) put everyone who has signed on to race into a hat and draw out a boat, so just 2 people are disappointed and angry.

Well I guess you can see where this is going - it happened yesterday, and yours truly was drawn out of the hat.  It's pretty disappointing at the best of times, but when you don't get to sail very often to have to pull your boat back up the ramp, dump it in the dinghy park and dash off to spend the race doing someone else's duty that they couldn't be bothered to is galling in the extreme.

So, to get back to the point, what do other clubs do about this?  Do you 'punish' people?   If you put a 'fine' system in place then presumably you'll get people who are happy to pay the fine and not do their duty, which is no help.  And then what do you do with habitual offenders?

I can understand that some people (as in this case I believe) only use the club facilities on the odd occasion and maybe feel that they don't 'need' to do a duty, but you'd think they'd at least have the decency to tell someone.  Of course it's possible they 'forgot', but if I were to see that she (oops) didn't forget to go to an open meeting instead then I'd find that one a bit hard to believe.

I had to sleep on it for a night before posting this - yesterday I was mad enough to have named, shamed and defamed which probably wouldn't have been very constructive.

Mike

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ChrisJ View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ChrisJ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 8:49am

£50 "fine" with your fees, and you are not put onto the rota.

£100 fine if you do not turn up to do your duty.

The same applies to Race Officer, rescue boat and bar duties.

The money goes into the same pot as the club joining fees - to help improve the club long-term, rather than on short term repairs and maintenance.

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Pierre View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pierre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 8:55am

Hi Mike.

You're not alone in this scenario (surprise surprise) and it is very frustratiing for all concerned.  I think one of the things that was mooted at my club was a kind of name and shame, and then serious questions being asked about whether these peoples membership was really needed by the club.

Trouble is, there are a fair proportion of people out there who really don't give a damn and are extremely selfish, and unless there is some kind of public embarrassment factor, they'll continue to do it.  We have, on the odd occaision, even had the OOD not turn up....

Anyway, you get my sympathy, if not a solution.

 

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MikeBz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MikeBz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 10:27am

The one 'nice' thing to come out of it was that when we finally got ashore the other guys in our fleet had packed our boat up for us.  That was really appreciated.  Thanks guys!

Mike

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Post Options Post Options   Quote James Bell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 10:28am

This is a very good topic and a difficult issue.

I think that at least 50% of the time, when people don't turn up to duties it really is simply because they've forgotten.

If the rota is done at the start of the year, it can be easy to forget when your duty is, especially if you don't sail on a regular basis.

We found that at our club, after an automated email reminder system was setup, the number of people turning up to duties dramatically increased. A reminder email is automatically sent one week before the persons duty (obv this is no good for people without email, but it is cheap and it has been effective).

An extension of this would be to send a postcard reminder a week before, which could then be pinned to a noteboard at home, although more expensive and labour intensive.

Another idea is to rota people into teams, so they're always down for duty with the same group of people.

I know of one club who have thrown members out who have failed to turn up to duties on more two or three occassions unless there has been an exceptional reason. This does seem slightly draconian but the fact is they rarely have a problem with people turning for duties, and their rationale is if people consistently fail to turn up, do you really want them as members of the club? I guess that might be okay if you can afford to lose members!

It is a shame when people don't or are unwilling to help with duties because ultimately it really is quite simple - you can't have it both ways: either you have cheap membership fees with most things being run by volunteers, or if members don't like that, they have a choice, they can join a professional club and pay considerably higher fees to have those duties done by paid staff!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Lucy Lee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 11:33am

One alternative is to auction off the duties: if you don't want to do them then you have to pay more membership fees, or alternatively you can volunteer to do more duties for a reduction in fees (payable at the end of the season as a reimbursement). If you are getting reduced membership for more duties & you don't turn up then you forfit the reimbursement.

The important thing is to make sure you don't just set an abitrary 'get out of duties' fee, but it changes yearly depending on the number of people who are willing to do more duties for smaller fees (always popular with students!). That way it is very clear what the 'value' of the duties is. If no-one wants to do duties you have to pay someone, which gets mighty expensive.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Coolhand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 11:33am

Instead of a “stick” how about a “carrot”.

 

Each duty earns you a meaningful reduction in your membership fee &/or boat park fees.

 

e.g. Do 3 duties a year and store your boat for free.

 

If the overall fees for the majority unwilling to help went up by 10% to cover the costs they could hardly complain.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote jeffers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 1:45pm

Mike,

We have a similar system to yourself but with a few minor differences. The first is that it is written in to the club rules that certain membership types must do a set number of duties per year (e.g. Family members do 2 duties per year and individual members do 1 duty per year). This duty can be done by anyone who is suitably able or qualified to do so. For example in a family membership dad might do both duties so the kids can sail.

It is made crystal clear (in a nice way) when you join the club that duties are comulsory and required as part of your membership of the club. To back this up everyone gets a small reminder slip through the post between 1 and 2 weeks before the duty and it is the reponsibility of the OOD to call round a few days before to ensure people are going to turn up and serve as an extra little reminder. We also run a voluntary duty system through the winter (which is when I guess most of the problems occur) which requires you to do a duty to qualify your results for each series you sail in. This works very well as if people are not signed up for a duty you can apply a certain amount of pressure to them. It also eliminates the people who really don't want to get cold and wet as their duties are not required from them through the winter months.

Paul

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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 2:00pm

We have had exactly the same. I think most clubs suffer to a greater or lesser extent.We like you send out reminder notices by email or post about two weeks before and like you ask them to look for replacements. I have frequently stood in at the last minute as have several other regulars. One lady whinged the "we dont race so why should we do our ONE duty per year. I took some action on this recently by making a serious comment in my write up as commodore in our quarterly Log.

It went along the lines that we are a community and that the committee put in a great deal of their own precious time to ensure the club runs smoothly. Without the input of past and present commitees (who happen to be mainly made up of racers) their would be no club and no facilities. It states in our membership rules booklet that every member is expected to do one duty per year and that many do far more than one. After all one short day in a whole year is little to ask for the privelidge of sailing in such a beautiful setting etc etc.

Basically you can only shame people but without mentioning names. As said previously in the thread you will always get the few who are too selfish to consider anyone else.

There are no easy answers so best of luck.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Claymore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 04 at 3:14pm
Sounds like we are lucky at our club then. We have some people who are more than happy to drive the rescue boats as they don't sail. Great for an evening points race as they only need to be there once or twice in a month. Usually the racers take up a rota for OOD and away we go.

Also helps that they like thier cameras as well and give us lots of photo's for the club website. This also helps with the duties come regatta time as they can get some good shots for the various websites and promotions. Need to get a few more OODs trained up but we are getting there.
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