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III. Essential PartsThe Components of the ProgramNo matter what kind of boating services a community program provides, the essentials of organization, facilities, staff, and equipment are necessary for proper and safe operation.
Management Whether you're starting, organizing, or operating a program, define the management structure. The structure will differ depending on the goals and type of organization. Is it a for-profit or non-profit organization? Is it a municipal program, youth group, camp, resort, collegiate program, marina, boating center, sailing school, sailing club?
At the top of the structure should be a Board of Directors or Trustees to oversee and be responsible for policy and financial oversight of the organization, program development and evaluation, long range planning, fund raising, public relations, and hiring the Executive Director. The Board of Directors should include individuals with specific expertise that you need for your program
This committee should consist exclusively of volunteers, not staff, or paid directors. Many programs have found the expertise, experience, and support of the committee members to be a very valuable asset. Usually these people are volunteers who generously contribute their time, advice, and services. The number of people appointed to the committee is less important than ensuring they form a group that will work well together. They need to be committed and contribute to the committee. We suggest 4 to 12 people.
Pick individuals who have specific expertise or attributes that you need for your program who can be depended upon to perform tasks. For instance, if the program must maintain equipment include a committee member experienced in boat maintenance who can advise staff.
Among the different skills and capabilities you may want are site selection, boat selection, financial management, equipment maintenance, staff selection and training, public relations, marketing, insurance, risk management, curriculum planning, and fund raising. The committee sets goals and objectives for the program, drawing on information disclosed by a market study. It must ensure staff members understand these goals and appreciate the role each member must play in achieving them. Section 5 has details on organizing and using committees.
FacilitiesThe primary structure serves as an office and communications center. It may also contain space for storage of loon and parts, and appliances for the staff such as a small refrigerator and microwave oven. This is where staff handles paperwork, money, and appointments for rentals or lessons. There should be at least two telephones, a marine radio (unless the site is on a small lake or lagoon), and a cash register. This structure can be as simple as a 12' x 15' shack or a trailer.
If the program offers lessons, space for a classroom is recommended, including chairs and a writing board. Rest rooms must be provided. They may be portable, workman-type toilets at first. Proper rest rooms with showers, changing areas and lockers can be added later. Don't forget wheelchair access. If small sailing dinghies and windsurfers are part of the program, showers are strongly suggested for health purposes. These can be coldwater, outdoor showers, but if the sailing activities are clone in cold weather or cold water, hot showers will be appreciated.
The facilities should have a couple of water outlets located in convenient areas for washing boats, sails, and clothing. A secure indoor storage space needs to be provided for program equipment (life jackets or PFDs, safety equipment, sails, rudders and other boat parts, tools, replacement parts), boat repair and maintenance, and off-season storage. If you plan to make or repair sails for the program, identify a suitable working space for this.
Movable storage racks and cabinets on wheels for boat equipment and tools will speed up boat preparation and repair, and allow multiple uses of available space. Electrical power is needed for lighting and power tools. If a snack bar or store is part of your operations, appropriate space and utilities are recommended. If the program is to be operated as a camp, you need living accommodations and an infirmary. Access to the water and boats will depend on the site and the types of boats used. For off-the-beach operations with small, lightweight craft there is no need for launching ramps and docks. Other operations may require ramps and docks. Docks and floats should have wheelchair access, especially if you plan to have sailing activities for people with physical disabilities.
If space for moorings is limited, consider land storage or "dry-sailing" the boats. This method has the advantages of reducing boat maintenance (and no anti-fouling paint will be needed on the bottom of the boats), increasing boat life, eliminating the expense of maintaining moorings, and reducing damage to boats and moorings when severe weather hits. "Dry-sailing'' boats may require a paved storage area, a method for moving the boats by trailers or dollies, and a launching ramp and/or hoists. If hoists are used, at least two are recommended to facilitate launching and to have a back up. The disadvantage is that land is needed for this storage, and waterfront areas sometimes have very little land.
But it's amazing how many boats you call store in a small area by stacking the boats on racks or standing them upright, which can be done with dinghies, catamarans and windsurfers. "Dry-sailing" keelboats up to 30 feet in length can be done without too much effort, hut experienced people should be involved when launching and hauling them. Moorings or marina-type docks are a most convenient way for storing keelboats. Docks provide good access to the boats, but they do require large initial capital investment and regular maintenance. In locations that have severe winters, ice damage to permanent docks can be an expensive and chronic problem too. If moorings are used rowboats or powerboats (launches) will be needed to transport people between tile shore and tile boats.
Note that operators of these power boats probably will need a USCG license. Contact your local USCG office for details on requirements.
StaffThe key element to a successful operation is the dedication, esprit, and stability of knowledgeable staff. These are the people who have direct contact with the public. They determine the public's perception of the program's quality and effectiveness.
Your staff is the first line of public relations and should know it. They make or break the program. Responsibilities should be clearly defined right from the beginning, and staff should have the necessary qualifications and training for their jobs -- to protect both the user and the program. This is particularly true for the program manager who is essential for a sound and smoothly functioning operation. This position should be filled by the same person over a period of several years to produce consistent operations.
This is especially important from the perspective of the staff and the user-public whose contact with the program is sporadic. The public must believe that a system is in place and that it will function in a predictable fashion. If this is accomplished, users become allies instead of critics.
A large measure of management autonomy needs to be given to the experienced manager, who should have broad sailing experience. Special boat-related considerations often will influence decisions. In municipal programs, supervisory authorities who have little sailing experience should:• Learn to sail and use the facility or, al least, visit the facility often.• Select an experienced manager in whom they have complete confidence.• DO not select a manager who lacks a sailing background even if the person has extensive recreational background.Selecting a staff is like choosing a winning team. The people must work well together and each individual's strengths and weaknesses should complement those of other staff members.
Every member of the staff needs a basic knowledge of sailing, motivation, respect for employer and fellow staff, awareness of the importance of safety, CPR and first aid training, as well as an understanding of the general goals of the program and the need to serve as a positive role model.
You need to decide what skill levels are needed. You may require certain staff members to have special skills in leadership, administration, teaching, racing, operation of powerboats, and maintenance. To pinpoint qualifications desired in prospective staff members, determine the positions and job responsibilities you expect them to perform. Do this by preparing a job description for each position. Staff requirements will depend on the services and activities that are offered by the program, and the quantity of users.Possible positions include:
Program Manager/Director has direct supervision of the program and its staff, hires/fires staff, has financial responsibilities including preparation of budget and acquisition of equipment, and oversees marketing and public relations. Depending on the management structure of the program, the Manager may be responsible for setting policy, and developing short and long range planning. Assistant Manager/Office Manager/ Secretary handles paperwork, bookkeeping and record keeping. Instruction Manager/Head Instructor oversees the instructional part of the program; needs organizational skills as well as teaching experience. He or she must be a team player with significant leadership skills. Rental Manager/Operator oversees the rental part of the program. Maintenance Manager is in charge of repair and maintenance equipment; must be able to identify need for repairs and have the skills to get them done. Sailing/windsurfing Instructors give private or group lessons for sailing and windsurfing. Boating instructors give private or group lessons for canoeing, rowing, kayaking, powerboats. Aquatic Instructors give private or group lessons for swimming, life saving, scuba diving, water skiing. Lifeguards provide safety, rescue and life saving services. Snack Bar/Store Manager runs snack bar and/or ship's store.Your program staff is the first line of public relations. They make or break the program.
Method of OperationCommittees can meet, budgets drawn, staff hired, and boats maintained in top condition, but if thought is not given to the operation of the program, you may never know who took what course, whether or not they paid, how many cotter pins you bought, or even why you needed them. And most importantly, was the program successful? Did the students learn what they were taught? Did they have fun? Did you send 30 students out on Monday morning? Did 30 students return at the end of the lesson? Did the 30 rented boats return at the end of the day? And in the same condition, or will repairs have to be made before they are rented again?
Record-keeping systems should be in place for all parts of the program: money transactions, student records, rental records, condition of equipment and facilities, maintenance logs, weather logs. (Refer to Section 5 Mechanics for more information on record keeping and forms.) A sailing program, like any other recreational program, must adopt accident prevention and emergency procedures. Establish proper communication systems, obtain and maintain first aid and safety equipment, follow-up on staff training, and define procedures to follow when an accident, rescue, or emergency occurs. (Refer to Section 5 Mechanics for more information.) Financial Considerations
There are different ways charging set-of for services rendered: direct fees, membership fees, or a combination.
With direct fees each service has a fixed fee -- paid only when that service is used. The membership system imposes a seasonal or yearly fee that allows the member full or limited' services for no additional charge or at a discounted price. The Wilmette program (Section 6 Case Histories) uses a direct tee system. The in-season storage fee for privately owned boats generates the bulk of its revenue, $72,000 (1987 estimate). Nonresidents pay fees from 30% to 50% higher than residents whose taxes include monies for the local Park District.
Sailing lesson fees bring in about $20,000 a year. When the boats are not being used for lessons, they are available lot rental. This third category of revenue yields $20,000 in a normal season. Wilmette also allows a limited number of "trail-in" permits for nonresidents, and this contributes nearly $6,000 more. Some other minor revenue categories exist, but are not central to the operation nor significant enough to consider.
In summary, revenue generated annually from direct fees to the user-public is roughly $130,000 which covers the operating expenses. Community Boating in Boston (Section 6, Case Histories) uses a membership fee system. It requires membership in the program to use the facilities and equipment. There are three membership categories for adults ($85 for 30-day membership, $175 for 75-day, and $215 for year round); the membership fee for youths (16-20 years), disabled and students is half of the adult rate; and the fee for the junior program (10-17 years) is $1.
Membership entitles you to free instruction, free use of boats, admission to social events, and guest privileges. Membership fees bring in about $350,000.
The Oswego program (Section 6 Case Histories) was organized as a foundation in 1980 to coordinate and service the boating needs of several different organizations in the community. They use a partnership budgeting method that can be applied to other programs. Small- to medium-sized programs, which have limited funding and low user fees, may find this method particularly helpful, in-kind services provided by various political entities, community service agencies, institutions, businesses, etc., can greatly reduce funds necessary for major overhead and facility support.
Thus, in-kind income from a modest-sized program can enable the total operation to be self-sustaining. See Section 5 Mechanics for further discussion of the community partnership method. Efficiency of staff is a vital factor in the profitability of your operation. As with most instructional programs, cost per hour of operation is the yardstick. On-the-water instruction, not classroom sessions, is usually the limiting factor because of the need for proper supervision. Cost per hour is a function of the number of students per instructor. If the number of students per instructor falls below four, reconsider boat selection and course programming, or adjust lesson rates to ensure financial viability. The versatility and capacity of the boats will affect the studentinstructor ratio and thereby the potential revenue of your program. US SAILING recommends that the appropriate student/instructor ratio should be around 10:1 to properly cover both efficiency and safety considerations. If low instruction fees are a goal of your sailing center, then increase the group size within safety limits.
Equipment RequirementsSailboats: The essential part of the equipment package for a sailing program is, obviously, the fleet of sailboats. Factors to consider when selecting sailboats: program users, environmental conditions, activities the boats will be used for, versatility of the boat, safety, reliability, ease of maintenance, availability of replacement parts, manufacturer or dealer support, price, and replacement value. (These are discussed in greater detail in Section 5 Mechanics.) Generally, sailboats fall into two basic categories-mono-hull and multihull. But they can be more clearly described by subdividing them into several major groups: centerboard sailboats (monohull), keel-boats (monohull), windsurfers (monohull), catamaran (multihull), and trimaran (multihull).
Centerboard Sailboats have a single hull with an adjustable underwater appendage, which may be called a centerboard, daggerboard, leeboard, or bilge board. When sailing the centerboard is often in the "down" position. The "up" position allows the boat to be brought into shallow water for launching or docking.
These types of boats are good for children and active adults. They are lightweight, fun and lively to sail. They can capsize and must have secure buoyancy devices to prevent sinking, and should be self-rescuing to allow sailors to right them and continue sailing without outside assistance. There are many different models to choose from. Boats less than 15 feet in length are usually called sailing dinghies, and boats under 8 feet with a square or blunt front end are called prams.
Keelboats have a single hull with a heavy fixed underwater appendage, which is called a keel. Keelboats can be divided into two broad types: open cockpit day sailer which has a large open cockpit with little or no cabin; and cruiser which has a shelter containing accommodations for overnight living.
Keelboats are heavier and require more water depth than centerboard boats, catamarans, and windsurfers. Ballast in the keels makes them more stable than centerboard boats and slows down their responses. They are attractive to people who want to sail a boat that is comfortable, dry and stable. They're also good for people with physical disabilities. However, the initial capital investment and maintenance costs are higher for keelboats than for other boat categories.
Sailboards (Windsurfers) have a single hull with underwater appendages: an adjustable one called a centerboard or daggerboard, and another smaller one, called a skeg, that is normally fixed. Sailboards are very popular, fairly athletic, simple yet challenging. Various sail sizes are available to suit wind conditions and the sailor's strength and experience. Specialized windsurfers are designed for specific use, e.g., entry-level instruction, wave jumping/riding, slalom, racing.
Catamarans have two hulls. Some catamarans have no underwater appendages and their underwater depth is only 6 to 10 inches. Others have centerboards or daggerboards. Catamarans are excellent for sailing off the beach, fun to sail, and more stable than a centerboard boat. They are a popular rental boat, and there are a number of good models to choose from. Catamarans in excess of 20 feet in length are usually not appropriate for community programs. Trimarans have three hulls with or without underwater appendages. They are very stable and easy to handle. Trimarans are seldom used in sailing programs, but a particular model, "Challenger," is designed for people with physical disabilities and has had great success in England in this role.
SPECIFICATIONS CENTERBOARD KEELBOAT SAILBOARD CATAMARANHull Type monohull monohull monohull multihullUnderwater adjustable fixed adjustable adjustableAppendage or noneWeight Range 50 to 1305 730 to 5500 32 to 46 180 to 450(lbs.)Length Range 7 to 20 15 to 29 12 to 13 12 to 20(feet)Width Range 39 to 84 65 to 133 26 to 27 78 to 120(inches)Depth: Up 2 to 12 -- 1 to 3 4 to 12(inches) Down 14 to 59 29 to 68 6 to 12 18 to 42Number of Sails 1, 2, or 3 1,2, or 3 I 1 or 2Capacity I, 2, 3-5 2-5 1 1, 2, 3-4(people)
Support Boats: These small powerboats perform safety and rescue functions for rental operations, safety and teaching functions for instructional operations, and are sometimes used to transport people to moored boats. Maneuverable outboards are usually preferred. Inboard launches also will give adequate service, but are usually not as maneuverable. (Section 5 Mechanics lists criteria for support (safety) boats.
Personal Water Craft for Other Activities: If your program offers canoeing, kayaking, etc., contact the National Governing Bodies (Section 8 Program Resources) for information on equipment needs and criteria.
Safety Equipment: Safety includes accident prevention, safety equipment, signage, signaling system for program users, proper supervision, emergency procedures, and staff training. (See Risk Management in Section 5 Mechanics.) Essential safety equipment includes:• U.S. Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Devices, (life jackets) for all users of the program's boats.• U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFDs for all occupants of all power boats in the program.• Safety support boats, operational and ready for use.• Telephones: At least two lines should be available to handle emergencies.• Radios: Radios are an integral part of a boating safety program. They provide communication between your safety support boats, a link between the safety boats and your land base, and direct access to the Coast Guard. They also give up-todate weather information.• There are two basic systems to consider, CB and VHF, and both are governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The pros and cons to each type of radio system are discussed in Section 5 Mechanics.• Signal flags: (See Risk Management in Section 5 Mechanics,-)• First aid kits: Well stocked and easily accessible to trained staff.
Check Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats (published by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402) and state boating regulations to ensure that your equipment conforms with federal and state requirements.
Other Equipment: In addition to durable training/rental boats, reliable power/safety boats, and basic safety gear, you'll need:o Whistles -- for on-water communications with students and boat userso Loud hailerso Toolso Spare parts for boats and engineso Spare lineo Teaching aids -- writing boards, etco Portable buoys and anchors for instructional and rental operationso Anchors and anchor lines for sailboats and power boatso Tow lineso Fire Extinguishers
MaintenanceBoats in a public sailing program pile a lot up of usage in a single year -- 1100 hours is not unusual! A privately owned boat often takes three years to equal these hours.
Most boats built for the private market do not stand up as well to "institutional" use. However, modifications can be made to the boats while they are being manufactured or afterwards producing significant reductions in maintenance problems and costs. If possible, these should be discussed with the boat manufacturer before purchasing boats for a community sailing program (Section 5 Mechanics provides further information.). When you consider the number of sailing programs surviving with boats just slightly better than "rebuilt insurance totals," imagine the enormous revenue potential of a quality program. How long would you remain a member of a country club that has uncut greens, pot-holed tennis courts, and filthy washrooms.'? Yet the sad state of cleanliness and repair of "institutionalized'' sailboats is often overlooked.
This regrettable situation is often caused by indifferent or inexperienced management, or both. Either way, it seriously detracts from the image and success of a sailing program.
Maintenance starts with attitude! This is influenced by the condition of the boats when initially turned over to your staff. If new, they should be kept that way with rubbing compound, wax, teak oil and regular replacement of running rigging. If old and the finish is dull or faded, the gelcoat cracked with corroded or broken hardware, complete restoration is advisable before adding them to the fleet. Good sailors know that cleanliness, organization, and preventive maintenance are daily safety issues at sea. It's called seaman-like behavior, and it starts with your staff who must also teach it to every student. ,,
Frayed lines, corroded masts and hardware, sloppy rigging, scuffed up hulls, stained decks, rusted pulpits, loose tiller/rudder connections, grassy bottoms, oily bilges, blackened fenders, et al, do not inspire a sense of pride among staffers nor confidence among customers. Durability of construction, ease of repair, blister resistant hull resins, smooth gelcoat finishes, durable coated spars and quality stainless steel rigging and hardware all have tremendous importance. And while not initially apparent, quality becomes evident very quickly. Quality construction and a viable factory warranty keep routine maintenance costs low and resale value high.
Maintenance costs increase sharply with age, so a boat replacement strategy must take priority in your initial boat selection decision, no matter how good the boat or manufacturer is or claims to be or how good the deal seems to be. (See Section 5 Boat Replacement Strategy.)
With all programs, 10-15 percent of the equipment will be out of service at any one time. Take this into account when you purchase equipment so that enough will always be available for customers. The goal of any maintenance program is to keep this percentage to a minimum while maintaining in service equipment at peak condition. Each program has unique maintenance requirements. Seasonal programs allow most major repairs to be performed during the off-sea-son. A year-round program usually requires a rotation system so certain equipment can be serviced without disrupting the daily routine. Whether your program is seasonal or year-round, its success rests on the effectiveness of your maintenance program.
Establish systems for equipment procurement, in-house modifications to "institutionalize" equipment, boat replacement (a five-year turnover is suggested), routine maintenance checks, maintenance schedules, rental procedures, record keeping for tracking condition of equipment, repairs and maintenance.