Thursday, 20 March 2008

Why membership to a National Authority should be mandatory

In my small country we have about 400.000 people who recreate on the water in one way or another. Boating, canoing, sailing, windsurfing, or whatever. We have inland water with lots of smaller lakes, the bigger IJsselmeer and 300+ klicks worth of seashore.
All accessible - more or less - for doing what we love doing.
Unfortunately only about a quarter of those are members of a club and by that, contributing members of the Watersportverbond, the National Authority of the Netherlands.
However, they are the ones who represent all those 400.000 when it comes to regulating the use of the water. And we do need a voice in this overcrowded place.

Otherwise all those other "interested parties" will restrict my participation in the Harlingen-Terschelling race, because I'm sailing on 'the breeding ground' for all fish in the North Sea. Or tell me I can't take a trip from say Amsterdam to Den Helder, because you can't have a bridge in a motorway and a tunnel is to expensive. Or gobble up my entry fee for the club's annual regatta, because I need a license for doing that and someone has to pay. Or tell me I can't have a VHF-radio with me when I go umpiring, because it's not fixed to a boat. And so-on and on.

Because I am a member of a member, I have a voice.
I wish those other 300.000 were members too, then my voice would be louder!


  1. There has been quite a discussion of just this idea on the Sailing Anarchy boards. US Sailing is considering mandatory membership for Owner/Captain and Helm positions.

  2. Yep, I've been following that story.
    As over here, the discussion focuses on what benefits are gained by membership, but forgoes the 'benefits' already in place.
    Like properly trained officials and clear rules. An appeal system and measurement checks by independent persons, to name but a few.


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