Darwin College Students' Association

Darwin College Punt Club

Punting has a long tradition in Cambridge and is one of the highlights of what the town has to offer. As a member of the punt club, you have unlimited access to all of the club‘s punts, kayaks, and the canoe for a year at roughly the price of a single trip with one of the commercial punting companies. 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 outings to the Trinity and St John’s May Ball fireworks at night, and to see King‘s choir‘s singing on the river. You can join the punt club at the porters‘ lodge.

If you have any other questions, please contact James Macdonald, the Admiral of the Punts, dcsa_punts@darwin.cam.ac.uk


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 Iguana, are moored on the part of the river that runs through the college grounds. The kayaks and canoe are stored in the punt shed on the small island. For any queries, please review the information on this website and then email the Admiral of the Punts at dcsa_punts[ at ]darwin.cam.ac.uk .



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


No membership





Full membership








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 £10 fee. 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 a couple of hours depending on punting experience. Trips to Grantchester and back take 4 to 5 hours on average. The fee for trips to Grantchester is £20 per punt for non-members.

We are currently trialling a web-based booking system.


For students & college members with a raven log in:

Log in to the online booking form: http://dcsa.dar.cam.ac.uk/booked/Web/

Punts can be reserved up to 7 days in advance, each person is permitted to make one reservation per day lasting 3 hours. Log in to the portal to see the availability of the punts. 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 John Smith (jrs82), then ‘Create’. The booking should then appear under the schedule, payment must be made in cash when you arrive at the porters lodge to pick up the keys at the start of the booking. For trips to Grantchester, if multiple punts are required or other non‑standard booking please contact the Admiral of the Punts.


For alumni without a raven log in:

Alumni must contact the College Development Office at alumni.relations[ at ]darwin.cam.ac.uk who will be able to make the booking in your place. Same-day bookings can be made in person at the porters lodge.



Full Membership

Current members of the college, including staff, and alumni can join the punt club for a £30 fee. Membership is valid for the current season (March-November), or if purchased after Sept. 1st, until the end of the next years season. No discounts or refunds will be given for members arriving mid-season, or leaving before the season ends. The membership 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. These are valid until the end of the current punting season (mid-November) for memberships purchased before Sept. 1st.

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 £10 fee for individual outings. To help the porters, please state that you are a member of the punt club when making the booking.



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[ at ]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 £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.





  1. Punts and kayaks are hired on a single outing, off-peak or full membership basis in accordance with the rules of the Darwin College Punt and Kayak Club (‘the Club’). The rules of the Club may change from time to time.

  2. Punt and kayaks may only be booked on production to the Porters of a valid University card between 1st March and 30th November.

  3. Kayaks and canoes can only be booked by full members of the Club who are also current or former members of the College. Each club member can book up and take out a maximum of 2 kayaks.

  4. 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 such trips may take 4 to 5 hours.

  5. A booking is void if the punt is not taken within 15 minutes of the booked time. After this time the punt will be available to anyone waiting to take the punt until the end of the unused booking, be it one or three hours. Guests must always be accompanied by a member of the College.

  6. Only the Admiral of the Punts may organise outings that take place during hours of darkness. For all other bookings, the latest time vessels can be taken out is one hour before sunset and all vessels must be returned and moored before sunset 

  7. Punts, kayaks and canoes must be returned before the end of the booking. When returning a punt, kayak or canoe:

    1. punts must be moored in their allocated place by chaining both ends of the punt to the bank and locking the padlock;

    2. kayaks and canoes must be returned to the punt shed;

    3. all equipment borrowed must be returned immediately to the punt shed;

    4. 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 may result in the member being charged for the cost of the replacement; and

    5. any accident or damage is to be reported to the porter on duty and to the Admiral of the Punts at: dcsa_punts@darwin.cam.ac.uk. Failure to do so may result in permanent exclusion from the Club.

  8. Punters must not act in any way that would place the Club in breach of its duties under the Conservators of the Cam Code of Practice, a copy of which is available to read in the Porter’s Lodge. Hirers of punts are to ensure:

    1. no more than 6 persons will be carried in a punt;

    2. a punt operating in the hours of darkness must carry a white lantern or electric torch which must be exhibited at all times in such a way as to warn other river users of the punt;

    3. there shall be no playing of loud music or other antisocial behavior that might give reasonable cause for annoyance to any person; and

    4. punts must navigate on the right and through the right hand side of all bridges.

  1. Hirers of punts, canoes and kayaks must also abide by the following rules during outings:

    1. the Club has complete discretion in refusing a hirer a hiring if it or a porter on duty acting as its agent believes the hirer and/or his or her guests are not safe to participate in the proposed punt, kayak or canoe hire;

    2. punters must read through the 'Basic Punting for Darwinians' guide in the club sign up folder before their initial outing;

    3. all punt, kayak, and canoe hire (including safety equipment) is at the hirer’s own risks. The hirer shall therefore bear the risk of loss, theft, damage or destruction of the craft and equipment. The Club will not be responsible in any way for any accident, injury, damage or loss, whether direct or indirect, arising from the hire or use thereof (save for the Club’s liability for death or personal injury caused by the negligence of the Club, its officers or agents);

    4. the hirer shall bear the cost of any claim brought against the Club as a result of any breach of these terms and conditions by the hirer;

    5. the hirer warrants that both him/herself and all passengers have sufficient training/expertise for the outing;

    6. punts, kayaks and canoes cannot be taken out in times of high flow, strong wind, or other potentially dangerous conditions of navigation. Judgement of such conditions is at the discretion of the porter on duty;

    7. 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 Club are in the punt shed. It is the responsibility of the hirers to familiarise themselves with the correct use of safety equipment provided and information leaflets are available in the Punt Club folder at the Porter’s Lodge.

    8. no hirer is to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while in charge of a punt, kayak or canoe.

  2. Failure to abide by these terms and conditions:

    1. members returning punts more than 15 minutes late will face a one-week suspension from the Club;

    2. repeated late returns may result in a longer suspension or even permanent exclusion at the discretion of the Admiral of the Punts;

    3. other breaches of these terms and conditions may result in suspension of even permanent exclusion at the discretion of the Admiral of the Punts; and a decision to exclude a member permanently may be appealed to the Domestic Bursar.  


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