Crew Pool Development Plan

Crew Pool Project Development Plan 2017


 Crew Pool is a way to bring new members into Cruising Clubs and should be supported by the RYA as a recognised and well-conceived initiative.

The potential to draw in to boating, people who would otherwise not have the opportunity is very clear.  The 2017 target is 18 new CP members with at least half trained to Competent Crew.

Ways to reduce training cost to new CP members are being developed to lower that barrier into the Cruising cum Yachting community.

When adopted by significant numbers of RYA affiliated Clubs it will have a very beneficial impact on the decline in club membership.

It is completely based upon established RYA training and qualifications.

There will be challenges as there always are with new ideas.  However the project Leadership at SPYC are prepared for this and determined to make it work.

The details of the plan have been worked through and set out below every aspect of the process has been considered.


The club has already committed funds to the project and £1500 has been set aside to get the project rolling by underwriting the cost of Instructors.

Many members have donated equipment and other resources – However we still need help to meet the start-up costs.

Although a budget has been set for all of the items below we do not have the resources to meet them all – the crucial items are marked #.

Reference Library                                     £400 to £600 #

Charts                                                          £100

Other Training Aids                                  £200 #

Software                                                      £300 #

Advertising                                                  £400

Promotional activities                               £500

Hand bills and posters                               £600 #

Enhancement of Insurances                      £170 – £300 #

Running volunteer boats                            £1000 #

Hire of Qualified Instructors                      £1500 – £2000

Stock of Log books                                         £100 #

Training/study room                                     £1000 #

Expert talk fees                                               £200


After an extensive study of RYA reports, surveys and benchmarks, then comparing the data to our club membership demographics it becomes very obvious that we need to focus on innovative ways to attract new and younger people thus assuring club longevity.

Crew Pool is primarily aimed at younger non boat owning people. However, it also has the flexibility to capture older non boating people who have aspirations but are unsure of which path to take.

So far we have 6 CP members who are totally new to boating and we are looking to significantly grow this number over the course of the 2017 season.  That growth being mostly from within dinghy sailing, former dinghy sailors and complete new comers. The main attraction being it immediately gives them a path into experiencing larger boats and offshore boating. Giving them the opportunity to develop their skills in a way that would otherwise not be available.

This is achieved through a program that is embedded within an RYA affiliated Yacht Club and fully supported by the general membership.

The short, medium and long term benefits for the club being to secure a future pool of skilled crew and grow the membership numbers.

In addition it provides individual CP members opportunities to take that next step which leads to becoming a large boat owner/skipper.

At all stages CP members will be encouraged to take RYA recognised qualifications and develop their knowledge and practical skills.

We are investing a great deal of time, effort and money into this project and we believe that for the first time ever a cruising club is perusing an RYA inspired development plan which has been embedded into that club.

This is a challenging project for any club it involves a very large upfront investment in time, effort and cash.  It also puts big demands on volunteer owner/skippers.  However the long term rewards are clear and predictable.

The CP project is driven from top down with a willing, supporting team who also have a dedicated Crew Pool Development Officer to ensure this membership category takes the correct paths to achieve our goals.

Additional benefits.

Spin offs from developing a stream of experienced, younger and fitter crew will also make it possible for older owners to tap into to this club membership pool. In many cases giving them the confidence and opportunity to continue boating for longer than they otherwise could.  Thereby slowing down the rate of retirement from boating and improving club membership retention.

This is a pioneering new and innovative form of boating participation. Not just putting crew with boats but developing those individual crew members and within the club find ways to break down the barriers that can exist between skippers and potential crew.

We are fully committed to moving this project forward and will make development changes as we do so. To date we have received very positive feedback. Once we have demonstrated how effective the process can be other clubs will probably follow suit.

We will continue to work on the same path as and seek support from the regional RYA team. Such support will widen the credibility of SPYC as a highly regarded, progressive yacht club within the greater RYA organisation.

The larger Yacht owning fraternity generally do not have a clear path into their world from that of the small craft community.  We see Crew Pool becoming that missing path into owning and/or sailing larger Yachts and Motor Cruisers.


Crew Pool Personal Development Path and RYA Training Program:

 Join   Recruitment, Promote, Advertise, Posters, Leaflets, Promo visits to dinghy clubs, RYA PTBO day, Club open days, Facebook / Tweeter pages, Website, Membership endorsement word of mouth, Recommendations, Links with preferred suppliers ……………….

 Tasters 1,2,3     Fixed dates for CP in annual calendar, Volunteer club skippers provided, Experience Day sailing in light/moderate conditions, Experience helming, Demonstrate basic rope working skills, Experience mooring & general boat handling , Experience sail setting, Impart basic rules of the road Do’s & Don’ts at this stage we introduction a personal log book to record activities and debrief students. Each session is recorded and signed off by the experienced club skipper, counter signed by Club Commodore……………………………………….

 Aspirations and assessment of training needs    Discussions with clubs CP development manager and individual students continually taking place to secure buy in to the process and to jointly understand the students training needs and aspirations. At this stage discuss the RYA training available to them, understanding how far they want to go, what are their goals in short, medium & long term.  Ensuring before we invest more into that individual they are enjoying the journey and how dedicated they are to going further……..

 Personal development path   – From one to one discussions a training path is jointly agreed that will identify what training they will need in the short & medium term to reach an accredited competent level. Dependant on volunteer skippers assessments after a min of x3 experience days we would envisage students will have already reached a reasonable standard of knowledge and confidence to allow them to be plugged into RYA courses……….

 Start Sailing course   Practical 2 days sailing course with RYA certified instructor. This will become our base minimum accredited standard acceptable to our club which opens the gate into crewing on other members boats under our Crew Pool project …………………………….

 Listed as available Crew    Website CP listings, introduce to skippers who always want /need crew. The CP members then have more opportunities to build and log boating hours, have fun, develop skills and gain more experience. Open club social events will also allow then to get more involved and interact with the general membership and get to know the skippers who want crew…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 Club resources    The club has made further investments in providing space to convert into a training suite to accommodate 10 students. This area will have all modern facilities to conduct shore based training , reference Library, Videos, DVDs, Navigational programs, Latest up to date Charts, Almanacs, Loaded PC, Projector, Screen, Weather research tools, weather charts etc. All CP students will be encouraged to use this facility whenever possible to gain further knowledge as they move along the training path …………………………………………..

Competent Crew Course   – As students move down the development path the first logical step in the accredited cycle is the RYA Competent Crew course for this we will probably use club boats and bring in a RYA accredited training skipper for on board training & certification. This proposal will reduce costs and make it more attractive to CP students thus getting them moving along the RYA training path and into more expansive training courses dependant on their targeted boating goals and aspirations in the longer term.

It will also provide the skipper with an opportunity to do a practical for their next qualification.

We recognise that in the early days there may not be enough candidates to cover the cost of the instructor and running the boat so we have budgeted to underwrite the cost in order to not hold up the development of CP members who are ready to do the course

 Building Hours   – As CP members log up more practical boating hours with Crew Pool days and invitations to cruise from club boat owner/skippers they inevitably will require to build up more knowledge and attaining greater skills. It will therefore be the responsibility of the clubs CP Development Officer to ensure all CP members will have the opportunities to plug into various RYA development courses as and when the time is right……………………………………

 VHF Course   –  Training  CP members  on such matters as VHF use will be high on to do list. Therefore further cost effective training at the right time will be needed. The a club we will provide shore based training facilities for single day training accommodating up to 10 candidates max. The club will again buy in RYA instructors from accredited preferred suppliers again providing good value for money………………….………………………………………………

Radar Course  –  Understanding what Radar can and cannot do is vital knowledge and if a CP member is on watch or at the helm it is important that they know how to use the radar.

 Reappraisal of aspirations and training needs   – A continuing informal process of review in an effort to match student training needs with that of their aspirations and current ability. The CP development manager will keep written records of progress to ensure the all CP students are given the right amount of training or support at the right time and that is tailored to them as an individual. We will promote the RYA accredited training path and explain how the RYA training progression works and how it can be sourced. At all times we will be careful to explain what their opportunities are as a fully developed club member. Whether it be future instructors, flag officers, committee members, event organisers/hosts.  Having nurtured & development this stream of membership it is our intention to keep hold of them and the skill source they will represent.

Further Training   – To reach higher goals students will wish to attain far greater skills than our base requirement . We need to be aware of this and support them in reaching those skill levels which could mean Sea Survival, First Aid, Coastal Skipper theory/practical and beyond.

Build on RYA Qualifications and Certificates  –  All students will be different they will have different requirements , have a different learning rates and it is our job to ensure they are comfortable and happy with the whole process a process that is fully embedded within the club. A path to take that will end in that individual having reached a level of qualification they can take anywhere as proof of their boating ability.

Costs & Benefits :

Club costs –

  • Crew Pool Project promotional activities
  • Dedicated Crew Pool development officer with direct reporting line into the club commodore
  • On shore training facilities that can take up to 10 students
  • Up to x 8 experienced supporting skipper / boat owners to cover offshore taster and scheduled Crew Pool event days
  • A schedule of 10 dedicated Crew Pool days set over April / December 2017

Instructor costs –

  • The club will buy in accredited RYA training estimated total to be 5 days in 2017

Benefits –

  • We introduce a new innovative type of yacht club membership category, one that attracts a fresh stream of none boat owners.
  • That membership category is trained to a minimum standard with further opportunities to expand that skill level if that members wishes to do so.
  • We provide a membership category that is focused on an individual providing them with a tailored skills development program that is fully embedded & supported within our registered yacht club.
  • Older members within the club are introduced to that Pool of membership and can therefore tap in to that crew potential with a high degree of confidence.
  • It is a fully managed non-profit exercise that has the potential to make none big boat owners into future skippers

Participant Numbers :

Agreed Club Targets

  • Our target figure in year one of this project would be to recruited a minimum 12% of our total membership number in the previous year that equates to a target of ……… 18 Crew Pool members required for 2017
  • A Crew Pool membership progress assessment will be made every quarter to ensure we meet and exceed our projected minimum set targets for that year.
  • Differing recruitment strategies will be developed if and when recruitment levels fall below expectation.
  • Our YTD figure measured at end of February was x6 Crew Pool members registered totally new to boating … so month 2 and we have are already achieved 35% of the target.

Crew Pool Outputs in 2017 :

This is a difficult number to define at it depends on individual ability to take on knowledge and the amount of time they wish to invest in gaining that knowledge and at what stage in the year they register with the club.

  • However based on projected numbers we plan to have x 9 Crew Pool members trained up to Competent Crew base level by the end of September and a further x9 trained up to that initial level by the end of the year.
  • One needs to understand it is a rolling process that needs other elements to be taken into full consideration before one can give defined numbers especially in year one of this club project.


Concluding statement:

We are a yacht club that focuses all its efforts and investments into developing sailing in company, pleasure and developing camaraderie. A club that is dynamic and innovative in its thinking and delivers a service. Our members require a high degree of transparent added value for their subscriptions received. Growth and Retention factors are key headlines within our clubs set development plan so we look to implement any initiative that can deliver a positive results under this heading without destroying what we already have in place and value.

We see this new Crew Pool project providing a valuable stream of new people into our club and we are currently investing in facilities to help CP members build and expand their knowledge of boating along with the other added skills of Navigation, Col Regulations, Maintenance engines, Safety and much more the list goes on. Being an RYA affiliated Club we naturally encourage people to become individual members and to follow the RYA training path that gives them skills to become valuable crew members or even future skippers.

The project has been noticed by people like Chris Beeson of Yachting Monthly who was very encouraging, we also have received very encouraging comments from Vernon Harten-Ash (chair of the RYA Council) who asked us to write a report for him and subsequently asked if he could pass it onto RYA publicity staff.  We have not heard more from him yet but think he was looking at how the idea could be passed along.

As a none profit making club we have invested a great deal into this project and are fully committed to seeing it meeting and exceeding our expectations. However we need support in launching the training side of this program and feel  It would be fitting for the RYA to support the project in some to get it up and running in year one.

We as big boaters value the RYA organisation as a governing and development body for all but see very little development steps being taken to secure boating membership outside that of Dinghy sailing and if we could find some way to support our project it would help us as a progressive club to redress this matter. Welcome further discussion on this subject and look forward to a positive outcome for the benefit of all.


Note :

Any support funding received would be invoiced to the RYA directly from Shotley Point Yacht Club  the costs would be clearly defined with what it covered and more importantly what benefits it achieved.

Our expectation being that you could find ways to support us with initial set up costs and underwriting of  the first 12 months training costs of £1500 to enable us take up to 18 Crew Pool students up to an accredited level of RYA competent crew from that point we will manage any further training needs.

Obviously we are very keen to push on with this project in its roll out year any support will be most welcome.