Yacht Clubs Tips

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What is a burgee?

Watch the Burgee

Yacht club membership has its privileges. One of them is a really cool unique flag that every club assigns to its members. This flag is called a “Burgee,” and its purpose is to identify each yacht club's member boats. A burgee can be triangular or rectangular, and is sallow-tailed. Some insignia that represents the club or squadron membership is depicted on the flag itself. Each vessel flies its flag differently. Contemporary vessels fly the burgee from a lanyard under the starboard spreader on the mast. Older boats fly it from the main masthead. Power boats place their burgee off a short staff on the bow.

What is a PFD?

Forget PDAs, What About PFDs?

Many sailing clubs focus on the thrill of the ride, being surrounded by nature, maybe even catching some rays on the deck of your yacht. All of this is very romantic and could invite a few public displays of affection...but what's often missing from this scene?

PDFs - Personal Flotation Devices. Usually water skiers wear them all the time, however, if you and your fellow club members/crew opt not to wear them, be sure each person on the boat is assigned a PFD and knows where they have stowed it. Do regular maintenance checks on the stock of PFDs to ensure there are no rips, mildew or loose straps.

Can I join a yacht club if I don't own a boat?

Yacht Club Membership...Without the Yacht

If you think you need to own a yacht in order to join a yacht club, think again! In reality, many fans of sailing simply don't have the time to get out on the water as much as they'd like. Many yacht clubs understand this, and have provided services along with membership that allow you to take a boat from their private fleet when and if you're able! Prices for membership can range from $400 to over $1,000 a year, depending on the types of boats you're taking, how long and how often you sail, and whether or not you will need lessons as well. Don't let your lack of boat ownership keep you from your favorite hobby. Do some research and find the right yacht club for you.

What are Rules of the Sea?

When a Yacht Should Yield

Once you have taken the step to join a boating community, you have more responsibility on the waters. Yacht clubs, for example, must follow strict rules of the sea. One of these rules is understanding which vessels have the right-of-way on the water. A power boat must keep out of the way of the following:

  • A sailing vessel (using only sails and no motor – otherwise it becomes a power vessel), and vessels propelled by oars or paddles.
  • A vessel engaged in fishing, whose fishing equipment restricts its maneuverability. Typically, this is a commercial fishing vessel.
  • A vessel with restricted movement (like a towboat) and/or a boat that is working (i.e., transferring supplies to another boat, towing, etc.).
  • A broken/non-running vessel.

Should I join a yacht club?

Why Join a Boat Club?

So, you like to sail. But is it really worth it to you to join a boat club/yacht club? If you spend a lot of time sailing or racing, it can most certainly be a benefit. Most clubs can be joined online and for a nominal annual fee. In turn, you receive countless forms of assistance with your paid membership. Racing insurance is often discounted or covered in full. Club's websites offer tips and pointers to hone your sailing skills. Many sites also offer courses themselves or can point you in the best direction to find a place to brush up on your skills. Not the least of club membership is the ability to reach out to a large community of like minds who enjoy sailing just as much as you do.

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