Launch Fees or How to Kill a Fleet Without Really Trying?

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by sorosz, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. sorosz

    sorosz Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Is it common for organizers of a regatta or a series to charge a "launch fee" on top of the regatta or series entry fee? I've never heard of such a thing and no one so far has been able to provide any examples of others.

    Our local non-profit sailing center has decided to impose a launch fee on everyone who does not store their boat there on top of the weeknight summer series entry fee. Their justification is that they need to make more money to cover the costs of the series and that they want to give a benefit to the people who store their boat there.

    The Laser fleet objected that this was unfair, the entry fee should cover the costs of running the regatta and adding a surcharge on top that applied only to a select few was unreasonable and smacked of charging twice for the same service. The fleet also pointed out that there is little added cost created by a guy showing up for the night to launch to justify an additional fee on top of the entry fee, that in fact those guys were already in effect partially subsidizing the rest. The response has been that launch fees are common.

    So are they? This is not a situation where boaters have to use a municipal launch ramp to get to the water and thus have to pay the launch fee to the City and the entry fee to the sailing center. The sailing center has its own ramp. So do a lot of venues impose a surcharge on top of the regatta or series entry fee for the privilege of being there?
     
  2. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    The only one I can think of was at BBR, and that was for the bigger boats.

    For Lasers, at least around my area, I have only seen it for one regatta where it was an extra fee (which never happened actually, but it was because we were launching out of a state park).

    For series, I've seen all or nothing.
     
  3. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Not been anywhere where launch fees have been an additional cost to a regatta.

    We get a few with harbour dues added (only applies to people who don't have a harbour pass already, ie visitors) but never launching fees. Any club costs should be included in the entry so everyone pays the same (harbour dues are external to the clubs costs)
     
  4. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    At Cedar Point in CT, they have a storage fee, but no launch fee.
    Storage fee makes a little more sense
     
  5. bjmoose

    bjmoose Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Do I think it's petty? Yes.

    If you asked me "Bullwinkle, should we impose this extra fee to raise a few bucks?" I'd say no, that's not a good idea.

    Do I think it's likely to raise much money over the season? Nope. Bet they won't be able to account carefully enough to even tell the difference, and that all told it'll add up to less than a hunert.

    All that being said, do I think that anyone should stay away in protest? Nope. Sailing's a fragile and important thing. Nobody should stay away from sailing for petty reasons.
     
  6. laserxd

    laserxd Member

    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    18
    definitely, launch fee doesn't make any sense, how do they even impose a launch fee?
     
  7. Deimos

    Deimos Member

    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Is it possible for somebody to take part without launching their boat ? e.g. a visitor who does not keep their boat there decides to do the series but is going to do it without launching their boat ?

    It is daft. In effect they are trying to hide some of what they want to charge for the series outside the cost - so they can say "Cost of series - really cheap" but then extract more money from visitors. If it were me I would feel ripped-off. What I would do for another series would depend on what other clubs and events there are in the area and what sort of a fleet they run. It would definitely count negative in my decision where to go next time.

    I tend to think of the term "not-for-profit" as a bit of a daft expression. If there are marketing reasons for having a company "not-for-profit" then the directors just award themselves mega salaries, bonuses, pensions, expenses, etc. so the company "makes no profit". Of course that does not apply to every "not-for-profit" organisation. But I guess that unlike a "club" (run by the members for the members), an organisation has an agenda that is not necessarily "for the members" and that will probably need money and that will make those organising an event want to run it for different reasons from those attending it which ..... and you could end-up with launching fees.

    As far as launch fees being common - I can only speak for the UK where in cases where there is a "public hard" (launching ramp owned by the local council) and a harbour master, people launching whilst the harbour master is there will be charged a launching fee (normally those launching are those going waterskiing with their speed boats). Most sailing clubs have their own launching facilities and these can only be used by members. When there is an open event, there is an entry fee charged to non-members and parts of that is that they are temporary members for the duration of the event (so can launch, use the bar/showers/changing rooms/etc.). My own club does occasionally hold open events where both members and visitors are charged an entry fee - but that is for one or two events per year where the entry fees are all going to charity (e.g. RNLI - UK Lifeboat rescue service which in the UK is entirely funded by charity).

    In summary - it sounds daft and risks alienating visitors encouraging them to go elsewhere in future.

    Ian
     
  8. pez

    pez Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I tend to agree here, however if I owned the place next door to the club, I would allow free launching off my dock... which would be petty yes, but would be amusing.
     
  9. Matt B

    Matt B Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    i saw people dropping their boats off the end of a jetti once so that they didnt have to pay launch fees and they were told that they still had to pay but they won the argument saying that they did not use anny of the launching faciliteys and therefore should not be charged for something that they didnt use
     
  10. jon

    jon Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Have only seen launch fees for state parks and the like. For those who pay to keep their boat there, get to launch for free, but those who trailer in were asked to pay a $3 or something like that. Considering the entry fee was already pretty low, I've never heard anyone have a problem with it.
     
  11. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Normally I have never seen a launch fee of any kind attached to a regatta. Visitor or not, we all paid the same price. Can't find any good reason to have this fee at a private facility, other than greed or visitor deterrence.

    Another boating event I participated in had a ramp fee. We were there as visitors in a "for profit" lakeside resort for a Thrus-Sunday event (fishing). They let us launch all 4 days for one day launch fee, $5 . I thought it was very reasonable. We considered the management as 'friends' and bought lots of beer. Somehow I think they did OK.
     
  12. Hoffy

    Hoffy New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Our club asks $150 for the summer Tuesday night series if you want to store your laser on the racks and are not a member. If you are not a member of the club and choose to trailer in each week, it is free. We regularly have 4 to six boats trailer in each night. It keeps the fleet strong and growing.
     

Share This Page