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As with all clubs, Nelson Yacht Club simply wouldn’t function without the dedication and hard work of the many volunteers who contribute their time and efforts to everything from serving on the various committees, cleaning the slipway & building maintenance, through to skippering/crewing the patrol boats, running the racing or making sure everyone is fed and watered in the Penguin’s Nest!

There is a friendly atmosphere, and wherever you feel your area of interest/expertise lies we’d love to have you chip in to support the club’s activities.

We ask all members of the club, or parents of youth members to please make themselves available for 3 duties per season.

On-water duties are organised using Team App. This is a great tool, so please download the app and sign up to the Nelson Yacht Club ‘team’. More details here: Team App

There are more details on how the club racing is organised and run in the club’s policies & procedures here: Health & Safety

Generally the following roles need to be filled to run club racing on a Saturday:

  • Race Officer – responsible for the running of the day – setting the courses, briefing the patrol boat crews, briefing the sailors.
  • Safety Officer – (may also be the Race Officer) providing support and decision making around, sailing areas, patrol boat to sailing boat ratios, with respect to prevailing and forecast conditions.
  • Control Room Operator – managing check-out/in, counting boats out and back, and recording results for inside racing.
  • Approved Patrol Boat Skippers – responsible for launching and recovering the patrol boats, laying and retrieving marks/buoys, and providing safety cover and rescue if necessary for sailors.
  • Patrol Boat Crews – second person aboard the patrol boat to assist the skipper.

Working Bees

The Rear Commodore is responsible for looking after the club’s buildings and infrastructure, and the Vice Commodore is responsible for looking after resources for organising the sailing activity. Both will organise working bees from time to time. Many hands make light work, and it can be a great opportunity to catch up wit other members during the off season.

On-Water Roles – how to get involved!

If you have no, or limited, experience, you’ll start by crewing on a patrol boat. In favourable conditions, you’ll be able to start driving the patrol boats under the guidance of an Approved Skipper. It is a great way to get to grips with how things work and build experience. Be prepared to get wet and be on the water for up to 4 hours.

There are also a number of training sessions held each season where you can receive some instruction from an Approved Skipper Trainer. Once you are comfortable with handling the boats and the operating procedures, you can be signed-off as an Approved Skipper.

If you already have significant experience, and have made yourself familiar with the operating procedures, then you can be signed-off by an Approved Skipper Trainer based on a short assessment or on recognised qualifications.

We are always looking for people to get involved on the water, so please get in touch with Tim on or call 0225487501.


Sailability Nelson facilitates sailing opportunities for disabled Nelsonians, every other Sunday through the season. This is entirely volunteer run, and helping out is a thoroughly rewarding experience.

Contact John MacDuff on

Steve - Patrol Boat Skipper

“I volunteer for the club because being on the water with like-minded people is always fun and I find the more effort I put into the club, the more I get out of it. I’m always learning and coupled with the odd spike of adrenaline and regular soakings it’s very rewarding.”

Off-water roles – how to get involved!

Control Room

If you’d prefer to stay dry then assistance is always welcome in the Control Room, and you’ll get the best views of the water around! Control Room operations are detailed here: NYC H_S – 007 – SOP – Control Room Operations


Recording finishes and processing results is of course quite an important role! We have an online series registration and check-out/in that makes life a bit easier for uploading into Sailwave and processing results. If you’re remotely computer-literate or a fan of Excel, then this could be the job for you!

Launching Ramp – Trolleys

It is awesome as a sailor to have people helping to take trolleys when you are launching or bring them down when you’re landing! It can take a bit of organisation on busy days… and okay, it might not be totally dry!

Penguin’s Nest – canteen/bar

The club galley / bar is called the Penguin’s Nest and is run by volunteers. We have Chante from Nourish Catering organising the provisioning, and a great group of volunteers who can help show you the ropes!

It is a cool way for parents and people to get involved if they don’t want to go out on the water. Generally there’s a morning shift doing coffees and lunches, and an afternoon shift doing post-sailing food and drinks. Two to three people are required and it is great fun!

If you are interested in getting involved in any of these areas, please get in touch with Tim on or call 0225487501.

Manuela - Penguin's Nest

“The Penguin’s Nest team sells drinks and prepares delicious food. Sometimes it is nice to do something that might be out of your comfort zone, or is not your everyday job, and people will always help you. It is also a great way to meet new people and be really involved with the club.”