Volunteering at GWSC – Summary FAQs

I pay my membership and boat fees. Why should I have to volunteer to do duties too?

Grafham is a large Club, so we can afford to employ some paid staff – but they cannot do everything required. If the Club used paid staff to do all the work needed, your fees would have to go up – a lot!

What is a voluntary duty anyway? How much time is all this volunteering going to take?

An ‘on the water’ duty will be half a day i.e. a morning or afternoon.

My life is too busy already! How often am I expected to volunteer my time?

The minimum expectations for Club members volunteering duties are:

  • All Adult and Youth sailing members – one half-day duty per year;
  • Wednesday evening racers – one additional duty supporting Wednesday evening racing;
  • Sunday racers – two additional half-day duties supporting Sunday racing.

OK, that’s not so bad! What sorts of things can I volunteer to do?

On the water

For Leisure Sailing, Club Racing or large events like Open Meetings you can do a volunteer duty:

  • in a safety boat or a mark-laying boat or
  • on a Committee Boat, helping to manage racing.

Off the water

You can help manage large events, eg:

  • car park marshalling, or
  • tractor marshalling, or
  • shrimp control

You can also join one of the working parties (midweek and weekend)

I’m a non-sailing member. Does all this apply to me?

Our volunteer duty expectations are for our sailing members, so we don’t expect you to volunteer. We would though be delighted if non-sailing members choose to volunteer – many do so at present and some of our most valued and experienced safety boat drivers and Committee Boat teams are non-sailing members. The Club is extremely grateful for this support.

I’m a Club member aged under 18. Can I volunteer?

Yes you can! You don’t have to volunteer, but if you would like to volunteer, we would welcome your support and will train you!

Do we really need all these duty slots?

We have carefully gone through the Club’s whole programme and made adjustments where practicable. For example, we think we only need three people on a Committee Boat for Sunday Club Racing (we roster four at present) and we only need to roster one safety boat for Sunday afternoons.

I don’t really know how to do those volunteering duties. How will the Club help me learn?

The Club will offer appropriate training to volunteers:

  • Free RYA Level 1 Start Powerboating course for safety boat volunteers
  • Free RYA Level 2 Powerboat Handling course for safety boat volunteers who have completed safety boat duties on six days within twelve months
  • Free RYA Safety Boat course for safety boat volunteers who have completed safety boat duties on six days within twelve months
  • Free RYA First Aid certificate (and 3-yearly renewal) for safety boat volunteers
  • A free half-day induction course for Committee Boat volunteers
  • Buddying-up” guidance, working with a more experienced volunteer for your first off-the-water duties.

Is there any other “reward” or recognition for my volunteering?

Yes! The Club will give vouchers to recognise Volunteers’ work which can be reimbursed:

  • at the Bar,
  • in the Café,
  • for Training Courses,
  • to purchase club regalia/clothing – polo shirts, caps etc. or chandlery

GWSC is a sailing club run by its members. The Club wants to give appropriate recognition and thanks to those who contribute to keeping the Club going. We publicly recognise our most generous volunteers with annual awards.

How is this volunteering going to be managed? How do I “sign-on”?

The Club has a system called DutyMan – it is an online system on the Club website. The office staff will also take emails and phone calls, and complete DutyMan on your behalf. 

Why does the Club need to improve the volunteering system?

  • The volunteering system does work but is a little too close to the edge for comfort.
  • It’s about fairness. Those who benefit the most from the Club should contribute the most, and people need to know what is expected from them

When did the improved volunteering system start?

The new system rolled out with effect from 1 April 2017 

I am a Winter Member. How will this affect me?

We do not expect Winter Members (those who join from December to March) to do duties in this four month period because it is so short, though we would be delighted if they offer to do so.

I am a Three-Month Member. How will this affect me?

Three month members join us in conjunction with taking a course at the Training School. We do not expect them to do duties in this three month period, though we would be delighted if they offer to do so.

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