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Managing Your Rowing Fleet: Boat Rosters

Managing Your Rowing Fleet: Boat Rosters

Keeping track of your club members is one thing, but keeping track of your gear is another. And it’s incredibly important! You know as well as we do that rowing gear is expensive and when lost or damaged can be difficult for clubs to handle.

Solution? Rostering! This week we’re talking about Boat Rosters and how to integrate them into your club (or improve on them).

What is a boat roster?

A boat roster is a scheduled list of who is using what boat/ equipment and when. It helps boathouse administrators keep track of important equipment and know who to come to when things go awry. This helps a club cut costs and manage their fleet in a responsible manner, as well as holds club members accountable for their activities.

One other thing a roster does though is making sure equipment is actually there and available for use when an rowing athlete or rowing crew go to the shed to use it. Nothing more disappointing than realising you’ve scheduled a time to row and there’s no equipment available. Now that’ll happen far less.

Example boat roster for your club

Commercial Rowing has a brilliant boat roster you can use as a template. This roster lists the boats they have in their fleet, the times available for use of each boat, and leaves a space in each timeslot for an athlete/ crew name for use. It’s an incredibly simple process for everyone to follow and makes sure boats will be available when scheduled for use.

Setting up the boat roster system

It takes a bit more effort to set up a boat roster system than just throwing a document together however. Here’s a good process to follow when setting up a new boat roster system.

Step 1: Create the boat roster and how you’ll take registrations.

Commercial Rowing does it by displaying the boat roster on a web page. Empty slots can be clicked on and filled in (as you can see from the web page we linked above). Now, if you don’t have the know how to set that up you can easily take bookings by email. Downside to that is you’ll need an admin there to respond quickly to requests to eliminate the chance of double bookings.

Step 2: Make sure all club members know about the new system.

When changes occur, it’s often the communication that lets everything down. Make sure you at least call a club meeting to discuss the changes, send an email out to all club members about it, and lastly try to have someone onsite at the boathouse to explain the changes for the first few weeks. Get all that down and the transition should be smooth but any further communication you can think of (Facebook groups, etc) would be good to use.

Step 3: Enforce the roster.

The final key to a great boat roster system is making sure all club members abide by the rules and regulations. No one is to take out gear not pertaining to them and any gear taken out must be reported on the sheet, whether or not the booking is free at the time. Some roster systems fall apart because rowers show up, see that current time slot is empty, take out the gear and don’t bother putting their name and timing down at the end. This cannot happen in the case that someone books the time slot smack bang in the middle of their session. Someone must remain on call at all times that the boathouse is open to make sure sessions are recorded and gear is accounted for. Put a punishment system in place if club members aren’t sticking to the roster to really drive it all home.

And that’s it, now you have a great boat roster for your boathouse and rowing club!

Go out and enjoy the water with the new structure in place designed to protect your gear, your boathouse, and your rowing club.

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