The challenge for any rowing club is three fold
- Allow boats to be reserved for use in advance at specific times
- Keep a log of boats which are out for repair
- Prioritise bookings for specific groups (coached groups get first choice)
Following a discussion started by Glenda Howard on the Masters Rowing International Facebook group we became aware of several new options.
Gets a lot of thumbs up from our readers. We had comments on our earlier post from Mosman RC and Globe RC. Here’s what CS fromTownsville & JCU Rowing Club, Australia says.
We’ve been using Sports Notice Board for a couple months now very successfully at our rowing club. It’s perfect for allowing people to look from home at boat weights, who can use a particular boat, what boats are free, and any special instructions. Because people can self-serve there are no complaints that the Boat Booking Officer hasn’t gotten back to them to confirm a booking request. For our top level boats the system is set to send an automatic email to the Boat Booking Officer so they have the chance to check the crew make up if they wish. We also set the system to only allow bookings made at least 10 hours in advance of the session. One of the best features is that people can have a regular booking for the same boat every week but if they know they’ll be away for a week they can cancel just that session – freeing the boat up for others to use.
And Nick Francis adds that it’s mobile-friendly
We have used SNB for two years or so and it is ideal. Easily accessed online and by mobile app, it is simple to use and effective. We don’t use all the facilities but the boat booking elements are reliable, quick and intuitive to use. It has helps our club (200 members and 30 boats) ensure that boats are used effectively, and members can accurately plan their outings. Thoroughly recommended.
Victoria Anders told us about Appointy.com. She allows forward bookings up to 2 weeks in advance and also prioritises coached groups over independent rowers.
I implemented this app across all of our programs. You can customize it and block boats that going to a regatta or under repair. And it’s free. Check how I set it up here.
Another feature that I really like is that it sends out reservation confirmations/cancellations to both admin and rower. That automation feature is a time saver.
For us, we have over 500 members and 32 boats so I have it set up so that coaches, club manager, and myself (equipment director) have admin access to ensure fairness across sweep and sculling programs. Here is what the admin view looks like.
Run by Ronin Racing who do event software for rowing – sadly their detail information page is down at the time of writing.
Tony Andrews then got in touch to explain
I’ve been developing a system for the last year that’s now in use at Sammamish Rowing Association and will likely roll out to two other Seattle-area rowing clubs soon. The system is based on the open-source (and general-purpose) BookedScheduler system but adds rowing-specific features, and a conversational interface that lets you interact with the system through SMS, FB Messenger, or Skype.
Tony has written a “Bot” which can allow you to use straightforward language. You can say things like: “reserve the Defiant tomorrow at 5am for 2 hours“, “what singles are free on Friday?“, “row my single for two hours“, and so on.
He is also working on integrating an RFID tracking system that will monitor boats going in & out of the boathouse automatically, but that’s a work-in-progress.
A scheduling software option that can be baked into your existing website. SuperSaaS is super-flexible but not specific to rowing.
A commercial team management programme – not specific to rowing. But doesn’t allow you to book boats – but does help with crew lineups.
Karon Phillips from Maidenhead RC uses this one.
We use some free software from Germany called EFA. It has proved to be very useful, as we can monitor usage of boats, damage can be reported, use of launches monitored – useful for scheduling servicing – and more.
It is an open-source software to keep track of rowing boat and canoe sessions and provides various statistic functions to evaluate the recorded data. Since its very first release in 2001, EFA has established itself as the de facto standard for rowing logbook software in German-speaking countries.
Plus it advertises “manifold statistics capabilities” which I’m sure will satisfy the most geeky among us!
Elisabeth Bugert also uses EFA. She says without a hint of irony…
At the tip of your fingers you can see which boats are available, sometimes weight classes are included, who has logged in the most rowing km, which boats are used the most, etc. The only ones permitted to reserve boats are the coaches. Those with 3000+ km are at the top of the list.
Trevor de Koekkoek writes
Allow me a small shameless plug for my own system called Rowtrack. It is a complete club management system including reservations, logbook, bulletin board, and soon to come a team management module for coaches and team members organizing practices and team member communication via email, SMS and chat:http://rowtrack.com. Currently in beta and looking for some more beta clubs.