Membership rules

Last Update: March 2024

The Club intends to continue to operate with a minimum of rules but some rules are necessary to that the Club can operate smoothly and efficiently in the best interest of all its members. Members are expected to review, understand, and follow the Rules. By becoming a member, or renewing a membership, a member agrees to abide by the most current version of the Rules and any subsequent changes which may be adopted by the Executive.

If in doubt as to the meaning or intent of any of the Rules, please contact any member of the Executive for assistance

In these rules:

A. “Club” and “WRSC” are used interchangeably and means The Water Rat Sailing Club;

B. “Diagram” means the diagram of usage areas incorporated in and forming part of these Rules;

C. “Executive” means the 10 member board of directors elected at the Club’s annual general meeting and who occupy the executive positions provided for in the Club’s by-laws plus the immediate past commodore; and

D. “Rules” refers to these rules and any amendments, additions, deletions or other changes which may be made to them by the Executive.


1. The Executive may approve or reject each new membership application and each annual membership renewal.

2. Membership may be revoked by the Executive for unsafe behaviour, unsportsmanlike conduct, or personal attacks on other members or their guests whether such conduct is verbal, physical or both.

3. Membership is open to individuals over the age of 18 wishing to sail or paddle and owning a boat that meets the Club's criteria for acceptable types. In general, acceptable boats include dry sailed dinghies or catamarans (without cabins), and canoes or kayaks. Boats must be constructed of a rigid material and may not be:
a. longer than 21' ;
b. heavier than 475 lbs;
c. have a ballast keel or centerboard; or
d. have a motor.

4. A single membership covers one of the following scenarios listed below:

Catamaran Member: one catamaran, one dinghy under 15 feet, two canoes/kayaks
Dinghy/Laser Member: two dinghies (max 1 over 15 feet), two canoes/kayaks
Paddling Member: two canoes/kayaks

5. Sailing members may store one additional dinghy under 15' and its trailer at Water Rats for an additional fee of $200 per year. Members must obtain approval and stickers before bringing the boat to WRSC.

6. Paddling members may store a third canoe or kayak at Water Rats for an additional fee of $200 per year, but may not take more than two rack spaces. Members must obtain approval and stickers before bringing the boat to WRSC.

7. WRSC membership runs from April 1st to March 31st

8. Membership is not transferable. If you sell your boat, the new owner cannot assume your membership or boat space and must apply to become a new member or the member’s boat, trailer and equipment must be removed from the Club.

9. WRSC is not responsible for the safekeeping of members’ boats and property. All members must maintain insurance that includes personal liability insurance of at least $1,000,000. Proof of insurance in the form of a photocopy of a confirmation of insurance must be provided on becoming a member and at the time of each renewal of membership.

10. Members and their guests must adhere to all applicable Federal and Ontario laws including with respect to the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) and other safety equipment.

11. A member's property must be removed from the Club within 30 days of termination of membership including non-renewal. Any item not removed shall be deemed abandoned and ownership forfeited to WRSC for disposition.

12. Club stickers must be affixed to all boats and trailers kept at WRSC. Failure to affix current stickers may result in a member’s boat or trailer being removed from the Club. If a member changes or brings a new boat or trailer to the Club, new stickers must be obtained from the Membership Rat or other member of the Executive before bringing the boat or trailer to the Club.

13. New members must not drop off their boats at the Club until their membership has been accepted by the Executive and they receive their stickers(s).

14. Members must store at least one boat at the club. A grace period of six months is permitted for members who are selling and buying another boat. Long-time members who sell their boat may request executive approval to continue as a member.

15. Gates must be re-locked after each entry and exit. Strangers who do not appear to be members should be challenged pleasantly and asked to leave if they are not either a member or a guest of a member who is present at the Club at the time.

16. All dogs on Club property must be on a leash and under the direct care of their handler or owner.

17. Fires are not permitted without a permit issued by the City of Toronto.

18. Members may not conduct business activities on Club premises. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to: offering sailing, paddling, or swimming lessons or experiences. Members who are selling their boat are permitted to show it at the Club.

Membership Caps

19. Due to space restrictions and a limit on the number of racks available, the Club has adopted certain membership caps which have been set at the Club’s AGM.

20. The maximum number of sailing memberships is:
  • Catamaran: 55
  • Lasers: unlimited, subject to space
  • Non-Laser Dinghies: 20, subject to space.

21. The maximum number of paddling memberships is 70.

22. Catamaran members and paddling members who fail to renew their membership by May 31 may find their membership will not be accepted for renewal and their space has been assigned to a new member.

Annual Membership Fees and Initiation Fees

23. The annual fee is $225 plus HST ($254.25) if paid on or before clean-up day.

24. If a renewing member’s annual member fee is not paid by clean-up day, the membership fee for that member is raised by $100 plus HST for that year.

25. In addition to the annual membership fee, new members are required to pay a non-refundable initiation fee of $150 plus HST. If a member leaves the club and subsequently rejoins within 2-years (absent for no more than two seasons), the initiation fee on rejoining is waived.

26. A limited number of key fobs are available for purchase for $30+HST. Members are encouraged to use our digital key system which has no associated charge.

27. Members are encouraged to pay their annual membership fee through the Club’s online webpage. Payment is handled by PayPal but a PayPal membership is not required.

28. Members who pay by cheques that are subsequently returned NSF are required to correct the situation immediately by sending the required membership in cash (plus $50) by courier to the Club's Treasurer. Failure to do so in a timely manner may result in the current season's membership not being renewed and the member will be required to remove their boat(s), trailer(s) and equipment from Club property.

29. Members who resign their membership in writing before July 1st, will be entitled to a refund of 50% of the membership portion of their fees. No refunds will be made for resignations after July 1st. The initiation fee is not subject to a refund.

30. Membership fees for new members are reduced from their current amount by 50% plus HST after September 1st. The initiation fee remains.

31. The Club has a work, play, or pay system to encourage all members to contribute to the ongoing operations of the Club and engage in club social activities. Members must contribute a minimum of 8 hours of their time. A minimum of 4 hours must be spent on work at the Club or on Club matters on an approved task. Up to 4 hours can be completed through 'play', that is by attending club organized events such as Regattas, Weeknight Racing, Weekly Paddles, BBQs, or the AGM. Attendance counts for one hour regardless of the length of the event (e.g. A 2 hour evening Laser race counts as 1 play hour). Hours worked for the current year are to be entered on the Club’s website by no later than December 31 of that year.

32. The number of work, play, or pay hours is set by the Executive on an annual basis.

33. Uncompleted work hours will be charged at $40 per hour for the first four hours, and $25 per hour for hours five to eight. The fees will be added to the invoice sent to the member for the next year’s annual renewal of membership fees.

Boat Maintenance and Storage

34. Water Rats has an Active Use rule. If you have a boat on Club grounds and it remains idle (not sailed/paddled) during an entire season, the board has the discretion of not renewing your membership and request that you remove your boat from the grounds. This active use rule was enacted in response to high demand for membership and space at the club. The goal of the rule is to ensure we provide optimal access to the water for as many active sailors and paddlers as possible. Members who do not intend to use their boat for personal reasons during a season are encouraged to reach out to the Membership Rat to request an exemption.

35. Members are expected to do their part in keeping their boats and the Club secure and tidy.

36. Members must maintain their boats in a seaworthy condition.

37. Catamarans and other sailboats (but not lasers, sunfish or similar boats who step their mast when they go sailing) must step their masts by no later than June 30th of each year.

38. Catamarans and other sailboats (but not lasers, sunfish or similar boats who step their mast when they go sailing) must take down their masts by no later than Nov 30th of each year. Boats are not permitted to be stored with the mast up over the winter.

39. Club membership includes boat storage over the winter for boats normally stored at WRSC. Members may request permission from the Commodore and Membership Director to store additional boats for the winter for a fee of $50 per boat. Winter storage runs from Oct 1 to April 30.

40. For boats that use covers, the cover must:
a. prevent pooling of still water; 
b. be maintained such that the cover is not shredded, flapping in the wind or otherwise in a substantially deteriorated condition and
c. be free of significant lichen or mold growth.
41. Members are responsible for maintaining on a regular basis the area around their boat(s).

42. The Paddling Rat assigns rack spaces for canoes and kayaks. Members may only keep their kayaks and canoes on the rack space that has been assigned to them.

43. Sailing members are entitled to have a kayak or canoe; however, the club is not required to provide rack space for that kayak or canoe. The Club has no plans to build additional racks to accommodate the kayaks and canoes of sailing members.

44. Kayaks and canoes stored on racks must be securely attached to the racks at both the bow and stern. This is to protect them from damage by being dislodged in high winds and from damaging other kayaks or canoes located on the racks.

45. Members are responsible for grass cutting around their boat. If the area is not maintained, the Club may issue a $100 fee to be added to the following year’s membership fee.

46. Members agree to move their boat(s) in accordance with Board members instructions and when unattended, authorizes Board member(s) or delegate(s) to move the boat at its discretion and at the member’s expense and risk.

47. The Executive may not accept the renewal of a membership of a member who in the immediately prior year
a. failed to maintain their boat in a seaworthy condition; 
b. failed to step their mast by not later than June 30 if that member owned a boat that was required to have its mast stepped by that date;
c. failed to replace a cover that is shredded, flapping or deteriorated;
d. failed to maintain the area around their boat and/or pay the additional $100 fee.

Club Grounds

Below is a sketch of the Club grounds as provided by the City of Toronto and which is attached to the Club’s lease.

Please note the area beyond our clubhouse towards the spit/peninsula is NOT part of our Club. There is a demarcation point in the sketch.

Diagram of Usage Areas

A diagram of the Club compound with the usage areas marked out is available here.

Open Space

48. Boats, trailers or cars are not to be parked, left or stored in any of the Open Space areas shown on the Diagram or in the area in front of the clubhouse.


49. Racks are for kayaks and canoes. Spots are assigned by the Paddle Rat. Members are required to keep their boat locked and tied down.


50. Catamarans must have their masts up by June 30th each year and down by Nov 30th. See rule #37 and #38 above.

51. Catamarans that do not have their mast up by June 30 will
a. be moved to a storage location on the property;
b. have their membership reviewed with no guarantee of renewal for the following year and
c. forfeit their storage location whereby it can be used by another member.

Beside Hanlan Boat Club

52. Catamarans are to be stored in their assigned location. Members must not move their catamaran to another spot.

Beach Cats

53. Members are required to keep their catamarans in their assigned spots.

54. Well maintained sail boxes are permitted on the spit/peninsula or beach. Trailers are not permitted on the spit/peninsula.


55. Storage locations are assigned by the Dinghy Rat or the Race Rat.


56. Trailers are to be stored only in the location on the Diagram marked for Trailers. Trailers cannot be stored on the spit/peninsula.

57. Trailers and dollies must be maintained in a moveable state. They cannot:
a. be locked to a fixed object;

b. have wheels clamped, or

c. have locks on the ball mount of the trailer.

58. Trailers (other than Laser trailers) must be equipped with trailer jacks with wheels at the base (allows trailers to be moved easily to facilitate grounds maintenance).

59. Trailers cannot use cinder blocks, stumps, wood or any other material to prop up their trailer. Trailers must be movable to facilitate grounds maintenance.

60. Trailers must be boat trailers. Storage of utility trailers or trailers not associated directly with a member’s boat are not permitted. (i.e. Members are not permitted to store a boat trailer for another boat which is not kept at WRSC.)

61. Trailers must be in “road-worthy” condition. Those deemed by the Executive not to be in roadworthy condition will be removed to a designated area of the Club and the Club will do its best to contact the owners. If fixes are not made to the trailer within 30 days, the trailer will be removed from the Club.

62. Members agree to move their trailer(s) in accordance with Board members instructions and when unattended, authorize Board member(s) or delegate(s) to move the trailer at their discretion and at the member’s expense and risk.

Private Events at the Club

63. Members are permitted to have private events at the Club upon receiving executive approval; however, they must adhere to the following rules:
a. Fires are not permitted unless a fire permit has been obtained from the City of Toronto;
b. The number of participants cannot exceed 20;
c. A third party waiver must be signed by the organizer;
d. If the BBQs are being used, one BBQ must be made available to members;
e. All guests must park their cars outside the Club;
f. The gate must not be left open;
g. The clubhouse must be left in better condition than it was found in;
h. The Club is not required to put the clubhouse in ‘shape’ prior to the event; and
i. The Club member organizing the event is responsible for all guests.


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