The oldest of the Rotary Fellowships
The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians, formed in 1947 in Great Britain, is recognized as the oldest of the Rotary Fellowships. It was to become the first of many recreational fellowships formed with the World Fellowship Activities of Rotary International.
In 1947, Rotarian John G. Barrett of the Brixton Rotary Club of London, England, conceived the idea of flying a burgee bearing the Rotary emblem on the masthead of his vessel. He enlisted the help of fellow Rotarians from his own and neighboring clubs and proposed a new yachting association of Rotarians. Rotary International approved this new Rotary recreational fellowship under the name "The Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians."
This fellowship quickly spread all over Great Britain and then throughout the world. Today, they are not only the oldest but probably the largest of the Rotary fellowships, according to Rotary International.
There are 126 active Rotary yachting fleets in 44 countries (as of June 30, 2017) throughout the world: Argentina, Albania, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China (Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Crimea, Croatia, Czech and Slovak Republics, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mali, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay and the USA.
They have a world wide membership of nearly 3690 members who are “enrolled” in the said 126 Fleets and in the World E-Fleet, created to connect the mariners that have no other fleet that they can join.
Rotary Mariners combine an acceptance of the principles of Rotary with a love of boats and the sea, rivers and inland waters, and use the shared interest of yachting and seamanship as an opportunity to encourage and foster the objectives of Rotary. Mariner objectives are:
- To advance international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideals of service.
- To promote Rotary fellowship through cruising, yachting, racing, sailing, kayaking and other activities involving boats and boating.
- To promote high standards of seamanship and abide by recognized yachting customs and etiquette on the water.
- To support Rotary service projects and opportunities, on and off the water.