Darwin College Punt Club
The Darwin College Punt and Kayak Club own six punts, six kayaks, a canoe, and four paddle boards. The six punts - Isabela, Velociraptor, The Beagle, Master Brown, Iguana, and Barnacle - are moored on the part of the river that runs through the college grounds. Equipment for all boats, the kayaks, canoe, and the paddle boards are stored in the punt house next to the Old Granary. For any queries, please review the information on this website and then email the Admiral of the Punts at firstname.lastname@example.org
The table below gives a brief overview of the membership and booking fees.
|Punts||Kayaks and Canoe||Paddle boards|
|Non-Members/ Individual Outings||£15 per outing
(per single punt, a trip to Grantchester counts at least as two outings)
(punt club members only)
(punt club members only)
|Punt club membership||£30 membership fee per season
+ access to all vessels
A quick summary (not comprehensive), you are still expected to read the full Terms and Conditions before signing up!
- The wearing of a life jacket is compulsory when kayaking and canoeing.
- Paddle boards may not be used by those who cannot swim.
- Standard Outings:
- Can last up to 3 hours
- Can take out 2 single kayaks or 2 paddle boards or 1 punt or 1 canoe or 1 double kayak.
- A trip to Grantchester in the punt counts at least as two outings (lasts at least 4h+), and requires two bookings. A member can only make a single booking per day, so you will need at least two members/outings to go to Grantchester. You’ll need to be a group of people to get the punt over the rollers in any case. While using the rollers, please make sure to place the mooring pin inside the punt, otherwise it can get damaged and/or damage the punt.
- Non-Standard Outings:
- If more facilities are required than a standard booking can allow, or for other non-standard bookings, please contact the Admiral of the Punts.
- Families with children under the age of 18 can take out additional kayaks and paddle boards to accomodate all children, but again please contact the Admiral of the Punts to arrange this.
- Student I.D. card (or any I.D. for Alumni) must be left with the Porters' Lodge in order to receive keys for a booking.
- Punts, kayaks, and paddle boards can be taken out from 08:00am. Everything must be returned at the very latest 15 minutes before sunset.
- No facilities may be used after dark without the explicit permission of the Admiral of the Punts, who must clear this with the Porters' Lodge.
- For safety, all of our punts carry a strict capacity limit of five passengers plus one person punting. The canoe is limited to 4 people. The double kayak is limited to 2 people. All remaining vessels are only meant for one person.
- For current students & College members (i.e. not Alumni): all bookings need to be entered into the online booking system before the outing starts. No key will be given out without the online booking. If you don’t have a booking system login (i.e. Alumni) please contact the Alumni Office to make your booking (see website) or request the Porters to make the booking for you.
- Dogs are not permitted on College premises and should not be taken on any of the punt club vessels
- The person making the booking must be present at all times during the outing and is responsible for the behaviour of their guests. Members are not allowed to make bookings for other persons.
- Please do not be late when returning, it's unfair on those who have bookings after. If you are stuck somewhere on the river (e.g., strong winds), please contact the Porters' Lodge and arrangements can be made.
- A booking is void if the boat is not taken within 15 minutes of the booked time. After this time the boat will be available to anyone waiting to take the boat until the end of the unused booking. The rules about maximum booking length per member still apply.
- Please make sure to check the punt, kayaks, and locks for any damage before and after the outing. Report any damage immediately to both the Porters and the Admiral of the Punts, so that we're aware of the problem.
- All punt, kayak, paddle board, and canoe hire (including safety equipment) is at the hirer’s own risk. The hirer warrants that both themselves and all passengers have sufficient training/expertise for the outing (see the terms and conditions for more details on this.)
- When using the rollers on trips to Grantchester, please put the mooring pins (located on chains at the bow/stern of the punts) inside of the punts, do not keep them inside of their holes, as they can bend and cause damage to the punts. We have to saw off bent mooring pins, and you may be charged for replacement parts and/or labour.
- When using the kayaks, make sure to pull up their rear rudders when they are out of the water to avoid damaging the rudder. When in the water, let the rudder down using the pulley on the side of the kayaks to make it easier to steer.
- Joining the Punt Club/Renewing membership
- Activities and Events
- First outing - what you need to know
- Terms and Conditions
IMPORTANT - to avoid damage to the boats
Table of contents
Current members of the College, including Staff and Alumni, can book a single standard outing (see above; e.g., a single punt for up to 3 hours) each day. Punt Club members can book punts for free. Only Punt Club members can book the canoe, kayaks, or paddle boards.
Bookings can be made on the day, or up to seven days 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. For current students & College members with a CRSid: all bookings need to be made before the outing starts via the online booking system.
Trips down The Backs (to Jesus Green and back, passed the Colleges) typically take a couple of hours depending on punting experience. Trips to Grantchester and back take 4 to 5 hours on average. As a consequence, punt trips to Grantchester are equivalent to two outings per punt, so you'll need at least two members to make the journey; The latest time vessels can be taken out is one hour before sunset and all vessels must be returned and moored before sunset.
For longer trips to Grantchester, if multiple punts are required, or for other non-standard bookings please contact the Admiral of the Punts.Link to the online booking system
For Alumni Without A CRSid
Alumni must contact the College Development Office at email@example.com who will be able to make the booking in your place. Same-day bookings can be made in person at the Porters’ Lodge, but we strongly advise you to make the reservation to avoid disappointments.
Chauffeured punt tour services with experienced student Punt Captains are available. The usual cost is £20 per punt per hour (minimum 2 hours), and is bookable by current College members and Alumni. Please contact the Admiral of the punts at least one to two weeks in advance of your desired tour date.
Joining the Punt Club/Renewing membership
Current members of the college, including Staff and Alumni, can join the Punt Club for a non-refundable £30 fee. Punt club membership is valid for the current season which generally corresponds to the calendar year or, if purchased after Sept. 1st, until the end of the next calendar year. No discounts or refunds can be given for members arriving mid-season, or leaving before the season ends. The membership entitles you to unlimited, free Standard Outings with the punts, kayaks, canoe, and paddle boards. The punts and paddleboard are not bookable during the winter period (Nov - Feb) without special permission from the Admiral but the kayaks and canoe are available all year round. There is no available subscription programme, so members need to sign up here again every year to renew their membership.
To know firsthand about many of the events the Punt Club is organizing throughout the year, and important changes to the Terms & Conditions, we ask all members to sign up to our Punt Club Mailing List. This is a very low volume mailing list, with only occasional updates.
To join the Punt Club or renew your membership:
- Familiarize yourself with our Terms and Conditions by reading through this website and read the Guide to Punting
- Join the mailing list
- Sign up
IMPORTANT - make sure to complete the form all the way and press the submit button at the end, after completing the Paypal payment. Without submitting the form, you are not in the data base and we don't have a record of your signup! It can take up to 24hrs before your signup is processed. Until then, you might not be able to make bookings on the booking platform.
Note that you don't need to have a PayPal account in order to pay for the membership. You can pay on the PayPal portal with a debit card, using the Checkout as Guest button.
Sign up through the online registration form
- For anyone without a booking system account/CRSid:
Contact the Admiral of the Punts (include your full name, email, and your relationship to the College), please put the Darwin Alumni Relations Office in cc (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Activities and Events
Punting has a long tradition in Cambridge and is one of the highlights of what the town has to offer. In addition to being able to take your friends and family out when they visit, membership also gives you the opportunity to sign up to special events such as the annual Punt Race, the cardboard boat race, the outings to the Trinity and St John’s May Ball fireworks at night, and to see King‘s choir‘s singing on the river. We will also chauffeur you to some fancy formals, teach you about bats that live in the area around Grantchester, or just have an enjoyable time in summer on a trip to the Grantchester orchard. Many of the photos you can see at the top of this section have been taken during some of these events and more photos can be found on our Instagram. Punting is great fun and a good way to experience some of the unique aspects of Cambridge life.
First Outing - What You Need To Know
A number of life jackets are available for use and can be found hanging on the left-hand wall of the Kayak House. You are required to use them when using the kayaks and canoe. Please return them to their hooks after use. Children's life jackets are available in boxes at the rear of the Kayak House.
Where is the equipment?
All equipment (life jackets, punt cushions, punt poles, spare paddle in case you drop the pole (more useful than you think) can be found in our Kayak House, just next to the Old Granary. Please put equipment back where you found it, following the signs and photos that are located there. Students running the Punt Club put an enormous amount of effort into keeping the Club running, and keeping the Kayak House organized is a huge help in this.
How to lock a punt?
This is a tricky one. This document has some information on how to do it. Punts need to be moored at both ends.
Do NOT chain one punt to another punt; this creates problems when someone tries to subsequently take that punt out.
Wrap the chain around the post as many times as possible to restrict the movement of the locked-up punts against the concrete walls. But make sure not to lock them too rigidly, so the next person can still use them with ease, even if they are not as strong as you.
What is bailing?
If you are using the punts after a period of rain, keep in mind that they are likely to contain water! There is bailing equipment within the Kayak House (big blue dustpan or smaller orange scoop). If you wish to bail effectively, sit/squat/kneel on the flat end of the punt - this will weigh down the boat causing water from the other sections of the punt to travel towards you so you can bail the entire punt from the flat end. Please do not take the bailer with you on the river.
What if I am late?
Always try to keep to the allotted time. Late-comers risk suspension from the Punt Club. This is particularly important in the evening, never arrive back after dark. In case you are more than 15min late, for example if you are stuck with heavy wind, please make sure to call and inform the Porters’ Lodge at 01223 335660.
What to do before returning the keys?
Make sure the punts are properly locked. Keep the punts tidy and please take any rubbish with you. Return all equipment to where you got it from, following the signs in the Kayak House. If something gets damaged or lost during an outing, report it to the Porter on duty and the Admiral of the Punts as soon as possible. This allows people with later reservations to be notified if there is a problem and will save you a lot of trouble.
How to steer a punt?
We have a complete guide on the topic, but then the best way of learning is probably by experiencing it! The club runs free punting lessons throughout Freshers’ Fortnight at the start of the academic year and these are the best opportunity to learn the basics of punting on the Cam.
Punt Captains may also be happy to offer lessons at other times of the year, so please contact the Admiral of the Punts if you are interested.
How to make a booking?
To book, log in to the portal to see the availability of the vessels (please note that there is one portal for punts only and another portal for other vessels). To make a booking, click on an available time slot. The ‘Create a new reservation’ page will then open. Enter your chosen time, under name of booking enter your full name and CRSID eg Jane Doe (jd42), then ‘Create’. The booking should then appear under the schedule, payment (in case of single outing, we accept only cashless payments) must be made when you arrive at the Porters' Lodge to pick up the keys at the start of the booking.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF HIRE
Terms and Conditions are available online. In addition, you can get the printed version in the Porters' Lodge. Please contact the Admiral of the Punts if you have difficulties accessing the Terms and Conditions.