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Author Topic: Model boat clubs  (Read 1873 times)

destroyer42

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Model boat clubs
« on: January 14, 2024, 03:31:52 pm »

Hi All,
How is your club doing,?
 1. is membership down since covid?
 2. Do you have a job getting new members?
 3. Do you have a problem in getting attendance to pondside or club meetings.
 I would be interesting discussion in what your club is upto to promote the hobby as we dont want it going downhill like the current model railway enthusiasts are going.
 Whats your views?


Destroyer42
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kinmel

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2024, 06:07:49 pm »

We have found that membership subscriptions affect recruitment rates
Colwyn Bay MBC had 38 sailing members on 1st January 2023 and despite 3 deaths last year, we start 2024 with 72 sailing members.
That includes five older long-time members whose health prevents them from sailing as often as they did in the past and they are listed as "retired". They enjoy full club facilities, including insurance, free of charge. 

People attending full time education have full free membership and if under 16years old must be accompanied by a guardian/parent which again is free membership, unless the adult also sails models of their own.

From 2016 to 2019 the full member annual subscription rate was 25 a year and membership was all but static. In reaction to the Covid lockdown, there were no membership fees in 2020 and membership climbed slightly.

Subs in 2021and 2022 were 20 and membership remained steady, but 2023's 15 subs brought the big jump in membership.

For 2024 the subs are now 10, which covers our annual costs.

Retention gets as much attention as recruitment.
 
We discovered some years ago that a significant number of members who did not renew, did not want to leave but for many reasons could not afford the subscription at that time - unemployment, illness, or unexpected bills came first.   Our club holds sufficient funds to let members ride out such matters.  The Treasurer always follows up lapsed memberships and if money is a problem then he donates a membership to them in total confidence.  The accounts show the member's renewal as if it had been paid in the normal way, with the discrepancy being matched against a debit "Membership Donation".   Those members happily pay as normal in future years and we retain a valued member.      The scheme itself is not a secret and some approach the Treasurer first.

The club has a number of spare boats, usually sent in by widows!    They are maintained ready to sail and available to all.   New members, especially junior members start off with just one boat and many become bored that it is the same experience every week.  We encourage people to sail these spare boats as well as their own.
Many of these donated boats have been neglected when they reach us and are used to get new members interested in model building and repairs, they get to keep it too !

Broader horizons

After a lot of discussion it was decided to trial r/c model vehicles; not as a separate entity, but fully integrated into the model boat club.    "Model boats in the lake - model vehicles in the Forest"  The council were happy to give us an enclosed area of the park for the vehicles and our existing insurance covered vehicles too.   It cost the club about 400 for equipment and it not only attracts new members, but many of us boaters both sail and drive.

Lastly,  we seek to include events and competitions.
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PJM

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2024, 06:44:57 pm »

What terrific ideas to retain and attract members. I dont belong to a club as locally it is all about racing. I wait until they have packed up and gone home before sailing my mix of 900 mm monsoon, dragon 65, laser, club 500 and perkasa.



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NickelBelter

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2024, 09:04:27 pm »

Hi All,
How is your club doing,?
 1. is membership down since covid?
 2. Do you have a job getting new members?
 3. Do you have a problem in getting attendance to pondside or club meetings.
 I would be interesting discussion in what your club is upto to promote the hobby as we dont want it going downhill like the current model railway enthusiasts are going.
 Whats your views?


Destroyer42

I'm a member of a club (Winnipeg MBC), but not involved in the executive committee.  My views are only my own.

1) no, it's gone up a bit if anything.  A couple of people dropped out during the coof plague and have since rejoined.
2) not 'a job', we get a few members per year from what I can tell, mostly from public exhibitions and our Facebook group
3) yes, somewhat.  I have to travel about an hour to meetings as do several other members so we do not get out as often as people that live right within the city.  We've formed a Weedbuster committee within the club too, because during the hot summers all of our potential venues have serious weed issues that discourage a lot of people from making the trip.  The good news is that one pond is pretty much ours to meddle with as we choose, and we have some welder/fabricators who are cooking up weed dredges and rakes.

As far as promotional efforts, we have a Regatta each year, usually in May and we appear at several shows with either static or running displays.  One of these is a big county-fair type deal (the Red River Ex) and we get a very good response despite being a bit of a fish out of water amongst the carnival rides, animal shows and tractor pulling.  We also appear at some smaller fairs, at the Marine Museum up in Selkirk (probably my fave venue) and a large model train and hobby show each September.  We have a set of pool-noodle boats to give the public, especially children, a chance to try driving something themselves without worrying about damage or sinking.

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philk

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2024, 10:54:24 am »

Good, useful thread this keep it going. I don't have much to contribute unfortunately I am a member of a club but not particularly involved as I do many show either as a one man band or with a separate display team
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dougal99

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2024, 02:44:59 pm »

Our membership has remained at around 35-40 for a very long time. Most losses seem to be due to father time or the grim reaper.We seem to attract a few new members each year, but most are retired.Given our membership numbers we only get about a dozen regularly sailing however, we do sail all year (weather permitting).We attend local events when invited with a static show and of course Mayhem weekend.
I would take issue with the statement that model rail is going downhill. If model boating had as many participants as model rail it would be in a far better position. The closure of one retailer and the cancelling of one show is not armageddon. The hobby supports at least 4 magazines and a multitude of shows large and small. however, I don't think the two hobbies are comparable. Just my opinkon.
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SailorGreg

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2024, 03:02:08 pm »

My club is, I am happy to say, thriving.  We have about twice the number we did before Covid lockdowns (20+ has gone to 40+).  That said, our regular turnouts are nothing like that number, we get 12-14 on a good day and less than half that if it's cold and wet (we have no clubhouse or shelter at the lake).  Of course, if everyone turned up at the same time, there wouldn't be room on the lake for all to play together!  {:-{

We have a rather different situation to most clubs.  We use the old boating lake of what used to be a Hi-Di-Hi type holiday camp.  During lockdown, they undertook a major redevelopment (which was already in the advanced planning stage) and removed all the old chalets and some other buildings and replaced them with several hundred large static caravans.  These are available for sale as well as holiday rents, and several of our new members are owners on the site.  We also have a regular audience in the summer from the holiday makers and we get a bit of a plug in the site's PR, as they view us as an added attraction for their visitors.  A couple of our regular members keep some boats handy for the onlookers to have a go.  We also have a rotating theme for each Sunday gathering - Tugs, Warships and rescue boats, Sailing regatta, Speedboats and when there is a 5th Sunday, Model boat show.  This is by way of a suggestion, not an order, so of course all boats are always welcome, but it does mean that if you bring your tug to Tug Sunday, you are likely to be sailing in good company.


Our subs are 10 a year which covers our club insurance and a few other sundries (such as treatments to try and keep the dreaded weed at bay during the summer).  Although we have no permanent base, we do manage to provide tea, coffee and biscuits at every session, and if the weather really does turn horrible, we retire to the site's public lounge to talk model boats and set the world to rights.

And we are always open to new members!   O0

Greg
Hayling Island Model Boat Club

destroyer42

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2024, 05:37:05 pm »

Hi All,
Keep the comments coming, it makes an interesting read about clubs around the country and further away.
our club has 72 members as of date, but prior to the lockdown we had over a 100 members, some have gone elswhere due to weed problems, some have passed on and some don't even turn up although they pay for membership its only a small number of members ( same Faces) that turn up each week to sail their models. There some interesting posts regarding recruitment and retention of members which I find interesting.
Even our club  AGM has a problem getting members to attend once a year. We as a club have an active website and a facebook page to keep members up to date on events as well as attending shows, but numbers have been on the decline attending these, but I take on board some of the ides/comments from Kinmel on this subject going forward.
 Regards
Destroyer42
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SteamboatPhil

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2024, 05:46:45 pm »

My grandfather started the Blackheath Model Power boat Club (based in south London) in 1928, in those days and into the 30's and 40's our members included Edger Westbury, Alan Rayman, John Benson, Jim King, all very knowledgable in high speed steam.
In the 60's and 70's the club was mainly family members (yes we all got into it) at one point we had 23 members, good for the time and a small club........and then......modern times.....those thinking machines (computers and games)
My late father (who was chairman) tried all sorts of new things to encourage the young (we were a free running boat club...ie straight running) Sadly nothing worked.
We have lost a lot of members over the years and now we are a club of just 7, but still keen.
New ideas always welcom, our main meeting these days is of course at the mayhem event when all the club turns up.
Fingers crossed for the future
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Klunk

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2024, 07:07:18 pm »

God I've written this about 6 times now!
Pre covid 45 members, we now have 60! On average we are getting 25 to 30 members every sunday!
Over the last 10 years, I have streamlined the clubs income and expenditure. Reduced insurance from 650 to 90, everyone pays less sub, down to 15 from 25. Monthly meetings during the 8 winter months included in membership now.
Club income is now supplemented by boats donated to the club, these are from non members who contact us, we collect them then do them up and resell within the club or on ebay/marketplace. This now covers all expenses amply.
I have made it a point of being available to all club members on sundats to sort problems out, or give advice. Club nights are themed around subjects like glues to use, basics of soldering, batteries and charging, using wood or plastics for building etc.
We opened up sailing on a Wednesday morning, and we always have tea and coffee available, with biscuits at every meeting.
Most importantly,  I use mobile messaging for weather reports every sunday, and to keep members upto date with up coming shows.
I found its very important to keep club members upto date on anything happening within the club, so we also use fb as another means of reporting, with pictures of boats being sailed every sunday. We have a club member who is and avid photographer, and we now have 4 complete photo albums of our adventures.
During the summer months, may to September we hold a bacon roll sunday once a month , cake sundays, club 500 racing with jelly babies as prizes.

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TheLongBuild

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2024, 09:03:24 pm »

Hi Klunk
See PM Sent  :-))

phil_parker

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2024, 09:17:22 am »


 I would be interesting discussion in what your club is upto to promote the hobby as we dont want it going downhill like the current model railway enthusiasts are going.

Someone reads, and believes all he sees in the newspapers. One shop closing (interesting it's big enough to make the news, most model shop closures don't) and a show where the organisers have decided after 30 years they would rather build models than deal with NEC bureaucracy, does not, a disaster make.

On the plus side, sales are up, show attendance is getting back to pre-Covid levels and there is ever more on social media.

The model boat world can only dream of such failure...
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Barney Magrew

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2024, 09:44:18 am »

The Plymouth Model Boat Club  has a very good membership of 40+, a well attended race Sunday and an even better attendance on Free Sail Sunday.  Unfortunataely, despite being "Britain's Ocean City" we do not have a lake of our own having to make do with an ornamental pond in the Centre of town.  40+ years ago we had two boating ponds which were demolished to make room for a new traffice sytem with a promise that they would be rebuilt......no such luck but we have something like 5 skateboard parks that the boarders don't seem to want to use.   Despite several requests to the Council we can't seem to get anyone to respond.  A new pond has just been built in our Central park which, with a bit of foresight from our Council could have been almost prefect for our use but................................In case anyone thinks "Plymouth" that rings a bell....this is the Council that cut down 100+ trees in the dead of night to make way for a refurbish that no one really wanted anyway.

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NickelBelter

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2024, 04:46:12 pm »

Someone reads, and believes all he sees in the newspapers. One shop closing (interesting it's big enough to make the news, most model shop closures don't) and a show where the organisers have decided after 30 years they would rather build models than deal with NEC bureaucracy, does not, a disaster make.

On the plus side, sales are up, show attendance is getting back to pre-Covid levels and there is ever more on social media.

The model boat world can only dream of such failure...

I agree!  When I was a wee boy my father was into it, and I used to get Model Railroader magazines until a few years ago.  Everything has changed completely.  They've solved the problem of how to run multiple engines on the same piece of track with DCC, and the accuracy and quality of the models has gone up considerably.  Accuracy is way up and on off-the-shelf plastic models too, not just fancy brass locos that you had to beg, plead and threaten to get to run right.  There's several YT channels dealing with building a model railroad and countless layout tours. 

I wonder if it has something to do with model railroading being the inverse of model boating - you buy the locos and rolling stock and you build the world they run in.  Weatherproof, non-seasonal and you get to indulge in a little bit of consumerism which we all love. 

EDIT:  Since we're talking about clubs, I wonder if model railroaders need clubs more than model boaters.  Many people, especially my generation, are not able to get their hands on a piece of property to build their own layout inside. 
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TheLongBuild

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2024, 08:12:46 am »

.  They've solved the problem of how to run multiple engines on the same piece of track with DCC
.


I was running multiple trains on tracks back in the late 80,s with Zero one, could run 16 trains.



Dave_S.

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2024, 10:49:42 am »

I am a volunteer at Pendon Museum ( https://pendonmuseum.com/ ) and our visitors represent every age group, including enthusiastic and knowledgeable youngsters, so although this is the apex of railway & scenic modelling, there does seem to be plenty of life in the hobby yet.
The museum was recently featured on a TV show about model railways and our visitor numbers increased - many of them had come along as a result of seeing the Dartmoor & Vale scenes on television.
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gingyer

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2024, 01:08:19 pm »

reading this thread with interest.
I note people saying they have cut membership fees, but can I ask
how many have a clubhouse and how has the increase on bills affected that expense?
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TheLongBuild

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2024, 06:05:42 pm »

reading this thread with interest.
I note people saying they have cut membership fees, but can I ask
how many have a clubhouse and how has the increase on bills affected that expense?


We have the Lakeside pavilion :}  and separate workshop and our fees have been 12.00 for over 10 years. :-)

jaymac

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2024, 07:27:33 pm »

Wow only 1 . 20 a month that's good
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kinmel

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2024, 08:57:59 am »

Colwyn Bay is fortunate in having a lakeside boathouse and use of an adjacent council office's toilets, kitchen and a meeting room outside weekday office hours.  Vehicles with a club issued permit and key can open the bollards and have unrestricted parking at the lakeside at any time.
Our Licence from the Council includes all this free of charge.  Our only cost is buying the tea and coffee etc for our refreshments and weed management ( 200 a year)   
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gingyer

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2024, 01:46:27 pm »

Colwyn Bay is fortunate in having a lakeside boathouse and use of an adjacent council office's toilets, kitchen and a meeting room outside weekday office hours.  Vehicles with a club issued permit and key can open the bollards and have unrestricted parking at the lakeside at any time.
Our Licence from the Council includes all this free of charge.  Our only cost is buying the tea and coffee etc for our refreshments and weed management ( 200 a year)   


that is really good of the council to support you like this.
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kinmel

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Re: Model boat clubs
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2024, 02:53:09 pm »

It is a two way thing, be on first name terms with managers and councillors and more importantly contribute time and effort towards improvements to the park.   We repair and paint all the seat benches and picnic tables in the park as and when necessary and carry out other repairs when we see them.  We lend gazebos, marquees, table and chairs, generators etc. to other groups holding an event in the park.
We even buy 25kg sacks of duck/swan food and give children watching the models small bags of it to feed to the lake's birds.   Do it away from where we launch and that area is then clear of swans !

Being embedded in the park's "community" builds trust both ways.      Introducing model vehicles took a 10 minute phonecall to the Director of Open Spaces and no paperwork.
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