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About the Fellowship

History of The
International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians

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.

In 1956 at the Rotary International Convention, the first International Commodore from outside Great Britain was elected. Bob Stuart of Chicago, Illinois, USA, took over the helm. It was also about this time that the fellowship name was changed to "The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians.

The first international rendezvous of IYFR was held in 1964 in conjunction with the Rotary International Convention of Toronto, Canada. Since that time, the fellowship has expanded greatly with new fleets being added under the enthusiastic leadership of the many Past International Commodores who have been elected from a diversity of countries within the world of Rotary.

The Golden Anniversary of lYFR was celebrated in 1997 at the RI Convention in Glasgow, Scotland. Past International Commodore Andrew Mitchell authored, produced and distributed copies of the 'Golden Jubilee 1947-1997', a book commemorating the fifty years of IYFR history.

An IYFR trophy which is presented to each incoming International Commodore, "The John Barrett Bell" was made by one of the founding fellowship members, Denis Dalby, and presented to the fellowship in honor of our Founder, Commodore John G. Barrett.

Today, we are not only the oldest but probably the largest of the Rotary fellowships, according to Rotary International. Over time, we have lost some of our earlier established local Rotary yachting fleets, however we constantly continue to charter new ones.

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.

We 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.

When you join IYFR, the benefits are:

  1. Help to advance Rotary's "international understanding, goodwill and world peace."
  2. Meet interesting people, make great contacts and establish lasting friendships.
  3. Receive the "International Roster of Members," which puts you in touch with more than 3000 Rotary Mariners, worldwide. Contact them - enjoy Rotary Mariner Fellowship.
  4. Keep in touch with what is happening in IYFR internationally through the "Rotafloat" newsletter.
  5. Enjoy the IYFR booth and activities at International Rotary Conventions, including the Annual General Meeting and IYFR Post Convention Cruise.
  6. Enjoy boating and social events (on land or water) with other IYFR members locally, regionally and internationally.
  7. IYFR regalia available for purchase in each one of the 3 Areas, identifie you as a Rotary Mariner at home or abroad.
  8. Fleet Events: Each Fleet in IYFR plans and hosts its own activities and events for Fleet members and their partners and guests. Exchange visits by members of other IYFR Fleets and Independent Members are actively encouraged. Typical events include "raft-ups" on the water, cruises, regattas, service activities and a wide variety of social events on shore. The theme of all activities is fellowship.
  9. Annual dues for fleet members are USD 10 per member, payable through the fleet. Most Fleets also charge an additional membership fee to cover their own administration costs.

Objects of the Fellowship:

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:

  1. To advance international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideals of service.
  2. To promote Rotary fellowship through cruising, yachting, racing, sailing, kayaking and other activities involving boats and boating.
  3. To promote high standards of seamanship and abide by recognized yachting customs and etiquette on the water.
  4. To support Rotary service projects and opportunities, on and off the water.