DCSA

Darwin College Students' Association

Punt Club

The Darwin College Punt and Kayak Club owns five punts, five kayaks, and a canoe. The five punts, Isabela, Velociraptor, The Beagle, Master Brown, and Galapagos, are moored on the part of the river that runs through the college grounds. The kayaks and canoe are stored in the punt shed next to the river.

Overview

The table below gives a brief overview of the membership and booking fees. Please see the sections below for more information about different types of bookings and memberships.

 

Membership (per season)

Punts (per outing)

Kayaks & Canoe

Events

No membership

N/A

£15

No

No

Off-Peak membership

£30

Free (Mon-Fri)

£10 (Sat-Sun)

Free

Free

Full membership

£50

Free

Free

Free

 

Booking a Punt

Current members of the college, including staff, and alumni can book a punt for a single outing of up to 3h each day in return for a £15 fee. If you would like to make a booking, please visit the Porters' Lodge in person. It is not possible to make bookings via email or the phone. Please note that only cash or cheques (payable to the 'Darwin College Student Association/DCSA') are accepted for payments.

Alumni who are not normally resident in Cambridge and cannot visit the Porters’ Lodge to make a booking in advance may contact the College Development Office at alumni.relations@darwin.cam.ac.uk or the Admiral of the Punts at dcsa_punts@darwin.cam.ac.uk who will be able to make the booking in your place.

Punts can be booked on the day or in advance and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Weekends are the busiest and booking in advance is strongly recommended. During the week you will usually be able to take a punt out without booking in advance - but it is still recommended to avoid disappointment.

Trips down The Backs (to Jesus Green and back) typically take between 1 to 2 hours depending on punting experience. Trips to Grantchester and back take 4 to 5 hours on average and must be booked by two members of the college, per punt. The fee for trips to Grantchester is £30 per punt.

 

Full Membership

Current members of the college, including staff, and alumni can join the punt club for a £50 fee. Membership is valid for the current season (March-November) and entitles you to unlimited, free punting (for up to 3h a day) as well as exclusive access to the four 1-person kayaks, one 2-person kayak, and 3-person canoe. You will also be able to take part in events organised by the club, such as night punting events at Halloween and to the Trinity and St John’s fireworks in June.

If you wish to join, please visit the Porters’ Lodge. You must agree with and sign the Membership Terms and Conditions form (see below). You must also provide a valid email address and phone number. Please note that only cash or cheques (payable to the 'Darwin College Student Association/DCSA') are accepted for payments.

Once you are a member, bookings for punts and kayaks can be made as described above, except you don’t have to pay the £15 fee for individual outings. To help the porters, please state that you are a member of the punt club when making the booking.

 

Off-Peak Membership

For a cheaper alternative to the full membership, we are delighted to offer an off-peak membership for a £30 fee. This has the same benefits as the full membership (see above), except that punts may only be taken out for free between Monday and Friday (the off-peak period). Punts may be taken out on weekends (the peak period) for a reduced fee of £10 per booking.

If you wish to join, please visit the Porters’ Lodge. You must agree with and sign the Membership Terms and Conditions form (see below). You must also provide a valid email address and phone number. Please note that only cash or cheques (payable to the 'Darwin College Student Association/DCSA') are accepted for payments.

If you have purchased the off-peak membership and wish to upgrade to the full membership, you may do so for the difference of £20.

 

Learning how to punt

The club runs free punting lessons throughout Freshers’ Fortnight at the start of the academic year and are the best opportunity to learn the basics of punting on the Cam. If you cannot attend one of the punting lessons or decide you want to try punting at a later time of the year, please visit the Porters' Lodge for verbal instructions or email the Admiral of the Punts at dcsa_punts@darwin.cam.ac.uk who may be able to organise punting lessons on demand throughout the academic year.

 

Important information

•   Punt Club memberships are valid for the season (March to November)

•   The cost of full membership is £50 (non-refundable)

•   The cost of off-peak membership is £30 (non-refundable)

•   To take out a punt, kayak, or the canoe, you must leave your University Card at the Porters' Lodge.

The Admiral of Punts has worked in conjunction with the college, DCSA, and Porters' Lodge to further refine the administration of the Punt Club membership scheme. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this season's changes, please feel free to contact the Admiral of the Punts at dcsa_punts@darwin.cam.ac.uk.

 

All punt and kayak club members and hirers must confirm that they understand, and agree to, the following terms and conditions:

1.      Seasonal memberships are sold for either 50 pounds (non-refundable) which gives unlimited access to punts, kayaks, and the canoe owned by the Punt Club or 30 pounds (non-refundable) which gives unlimited access to punts on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and kayaks. These are valid until the end of the current punting season (mid-November) for memberships purchased before Sept. 1st, and until the end of the next punting season for memberships purchased after Sept. 1st. No discounts or refunds will be given for members arriving mid-season, or leaving before the season ends.

2.      For non-members, the fee for a single punt outing is 15 pounds (non-refundable). It is 30 pounds per punt for trips to Grantchester as they take 4 to 5 hours on average.

3.      For off-peak members, the fee for a single punt outing on weekends is 10 pounds (non-refundable). It is 20 pounds per punt for trips to Grantchester as they take 4 to 5 hours on average.

4.      Members must provide their email address and phone number when joining the Punt Club and must inform the Admiral of the Punts about any changes to their email address or phone number.

5.      Punts and kayaks may only be booked with a valid University Card at the Porters' Lodge during the punting season (March-November). The kayaks and the canoe can only be booked by members of the Punt Club. Each punt club member can take out up to 2 kayaks.

6.      Booking slots begin and end on the hour. Punts, kayaks, and the canoe may only be borrowed for up to three hours on a given day. For trips to Grantchester, each punt must be booked by two Darwin members, as they take 4 to 5 hours on average.

7.      Any booking is void if the punt is not taken within 15 minutes of the beginning of the session. At this time, the punt will be available to anyone waiting to take the punt until the end of the hour or of the three-hour slot.

8.      The College’s punts and kayaks may only be booked and hired by current or former members of the College. Guests must always be accompanied by a member of the College.

9.      Punters are to abide by the Conservators of the Cam Code of Practice, a copy of which is issued in the Punt Club folder at the Porter’s Lodge. Hirers are to ensure:

(a)   The maximum number of persons to be carried shall not exceed 6 per punt.

(b)   A punt operating in the hours of darkness must carry a white lantern or electric torch to be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.

(c)   There shall be no playing of loud music that might give reasonable cause for annoyance to any person.

(d)   Punts should navigate on the right and through the right hand side of all bridges.

10.  Punters must abide by the following rules during outings. Failure to do so may result in Punt Club membership revocation at the discretion of a porter or the Admiral of the Punts:

(a)   Punters must read through the 'Basic Punting for Darwinians' guide in the club sign up folder before their initial outing.

(b)   Punt, kayak, and canoe hire is at the user’s own risks. The hirer must be confident that both him/herself and all passengers have sufficient training/expertise for the outing.

(c)   Punts, kayaks, and the canoe cannot be taken out in times of high flow, strong wind, or other potentially dangerous conditions of navigation.

(d)   The wearing of a life jacket is compulsory when kayaking and canoeing. It is highly recommended for both adults and children when hiring a punt. Life jackets can be borrowed from the Punt Club and may be found in the punt shed. It is the responsibility of the punt/kayak/canoe users to familiarise themselves with the correct use of the safety equipment provided. The relevant information leaflet can be found in the Punt Club folder at the Porter’s Lodge. Neither the Punt Club, nor the College, will be held responsible for misuse of the safety gear.

(e)   No punter is to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while in charge of the punt.

(f)     Hirers will remain with their punt or kayak for the entirety of the outing, ensuring that equipment is used safely and responsibly.

(g)   Punts and kayaks must be returned promptly within the timeframe allotted. Members returning punts more than 15 minutes late will face at least a one week suspension from the Punt Club. Repeated or particularly serious offences (as deemed as such by the Admiral of the Punts) will result in permanent exclusion from the Punt Club. Membership fees will not be refunded. For regular outings, the latest time vessels can be taken out is one hour before sunset and all vessels must be returned and moored before sunset . Only the Admiral of the Punts may organise special outings that take place during hours of darkness.

(h)   Punts must be moored in their allocated place by chaining both ends of the punt to the bank and locking the padlock.

(i)     All equipment borrowed must be returned immediately to the punt shed after an outing (cushions, poles, paddles, life jackets, etc.). Do not leave them on the ground. Punters are responsible for all equipment borrowed during an outing and agree to replace any equipment that is lost, stolen, or damaged due to negligence.

(j)     Keys must be returned to the Porters' Lodge promptly after an outing. Loss or failure to return the keys at the end of each session will result in the member being charged for the cost of the replacement.

(k)   Any damage is to be reported to the Porter in person and to the Admiral of the Punts at: dcsa_punts@darwin.cam.ac.uk. Failure to do so will result in permanent exclusion from the Punt Club.

(l)     The punt shed must be kept in good order and locked when not in use. Rubbish must not be left outside the punt shed door. Please use the bins provided. 

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