We are a group of boaters who value our reputation as one of the friendliest clubs on the river. Our water-borne events include rallies and sociable activities held on the river bank. We stage events at various locations for socializing and eating. Other shore-based activities, based on members’
interests, are arranged for the winter months. If you’re the sort that enjoys making friends and informal, relaxing get-togethers, why not come and join us. Individuals, couples, families (including well-behaved pets) are all welcome. Enjoying the company of like-minded people is far more
important than the size of your boat or the extent of your boating experience.
We have a wealth of expertise at the club and are happy to share our knowledge on request.
On Saturday 3rd January 1953 a group of water lovers who had a regular meeting in an Oxford pub or at The Maybush at Newbridge decided to form a cruising club. On the following Thursday 8 people met for an inaugural meeting. The first thing to do was to think of a name, the local rowers who heard about the possibility of a club using engines being formed had said they would be Ditchers, because their name for the Thames at Oxford was “the ditch”, it was proposed that the club be called the Oxford Ditch Cruising Club and this was accepted.
The membership grew erratically, 20 by March 1953, 59 in 1962, 88 in 1967 and 135 in 1978. In the eighties the membership peaked at 175 but by then many older members were selling their boats. So there was a campaign to recruit new members and by 1989 there were 155.
In the early days boats were much more individual being mainly wood and mostly powered by petrol engines. Some were built and fitted out by their owners but gradually fibre glass came on the scene and boats became more standard and larger.
The first rally was held in June 1953 at Swift Ditch just above Abingdon and since then rallies have been held at various places on the river. In 1985 a 15ft square marquee was purchased which was replaced in the late 1990’s with the present frame type tent. The club has cruised the river extensively. In the early days cruises were mainly on the non-tidal river but slowly the call of the sea came and cruises started to go tidal and in 1979 13 boats went to St Katherine Docks.
The Club joined the Association of Cruising Clubs in 1953 when there were only 13 member clubs. Over the years success has been achieved in the boat handling competitions with team awards and twice winning the overall individual award.
In 1995 the club joined the Thames Valley Rally, but sadly this was discontinued in 2011 after many memorable events in which the members of the Ditch enjoyed great success in their competitions.
WE’RE A FRIENDLY BUNCH
Your membership is highly valued and we like to make everyone feel welcome. Our social events are a great way to make new friends!
LOTS OF BOATING KNOWLEDGE
Our members have owned various boats over the years and collectively we have a vast range of knowledge available to you to enhance your boating career!
BENEFITS & DISCOUNTS
As a member you will have access to discounted fuel, pump-outs and moorings at selected marinas across the UK.
EVENTS FOR EVERYONE
We recognise that not everyone who likes boating currently owns a boat, so we organise both water and land-based social events to ensure all members are included. Check out our events page!
70 YEARS OF HISTORY
With 70 years of history, we view our club as a fine wine which has improved with time! We’re now looking forward to our centennial anniversary and celebrations!
AFFILLIATIONS & NETWORKING
You will have the opportunity to meet and network with members of other clubs, associations and various official organisations.
If you are not sure whether our club is for you, please come along to one of our events as a guest and meet some of our members first hand.
For more information, contact details and how to join as a member of the Oxford Ditch Cruising Club please click on the Find Out More button below.