The Lagos Motor Boat Club is a members only boat club founded on the 23rd of January, 1950. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious Clubs in Nigeria. As the Club looks forward to the future, it is important to remind ourselves of its origins. Like all social organizations, it has its ups and downs. The underlying culture of the Club and commitment to common sense from its members has enabled it not only to survive but to flourish when many other Clubs have faded away.
The Lagos Motor Boat Club was incorporated on 23rd January 1950, at Wilmott Point by a group of people breaking away from the Lagos Tarpon Club, which had been founded in 1938. The Tarpon Club was established for fishermen and the leisure boating activity grew over the years to the extent that the original objectives of the Tarpon Club were being compromised.
In the best tradition of the Lagos Motor Boat Club, a lively inaugural annual General Meeting was held on May 1951. G.D. McAndrew was duly elected the first Commodore. The Club’s initial pre-occupation was to find its own premises and leave Wilmott Point. This was achieved in 1954 when the Club moved to its present site on Awolowo Road, besides Five Cowries Creek. The original Premises and jetty were at the Western side of the present site. Wooden jetties were in position. The Club continued to flourish to the extent that additional land at the Eastern side of the present property was acquired. A new Clubhouse was erected and officially opened in 1960. Development of the site progressed steadily over the years.
In those days, as now, economics obviously dominated the situation. Club Membership had been capped at one hundred with an annual subscription of one hundred pounds. The dual effects of inflation and the necessity to better utilize the large site saw the membership being raised to two hundred and fifty in the nineteen eighties. In the nineteen nineties, membership was raised to four hundred although the actual figure always hovered at about three hundred and eighty. The expansion in membership changed the character of the Club somewhat but has not destroyed the underlying social value that the Club is a small group of people who know each other. It is interesting to note that the children of members in the sixties and seventies are not members in their own right and are bringing their children to the Club.
Some notable developments to the physical infrastructure included the building of the Mermaid Water Bar and the beautiful Mosaic by Mrs. Elise Johnston, the construction of the round bar (Gillmore’s Folly) in 1982 and the magnificent fund-raising effort by Chief M. O. Okoya-Thomas provoked by the Commodore Lawrence Howse which enabled the upstairs restaurant to be officially opened in October, 1992. Chief Fola Awobo Pearse and Eric F. Lovelock oversaw the building of the elegant outside wall in 1997. The toilet and lobby were re-modelled in 1998 and in January 2000 a new kitchen was installed. Generous donations over the years from Metallum and Aluminium City have greatly assisted us. Other members, too many to mention, have made the facilities more comfortable through their generous donations. Facilities for boating members have also been improved. In 1990 the slipways were replaced and new jetties were built to the East of the site. The boatsheds were considerably renovated in 1996 and 1997. New lighting was installed in the boat sheds in May 2000. The radio mast was installed in 1997 ensuring good contact with members at sea. Currently, the two jetties at the West Side of the property are being renovated along with the sea wall in that area. An ambitious plan is before the members to expand our patio outwards by some six meters to give more space for members.
Supporting the development the Club had to invest in updated generating facilities in the nineteen nineties as well as completely overhauling the power distribution of the club in 1993.
Throughout the period members have enjoyed their boating. The Tarpon Club eventually disbanded and became the fishing section on the Lagos Motor Boat Club. Regular sponsored tournaments are held during the fishing season. Our deep-sea sports fishermen sail twenty to thirty miles offshore hoping to catch Marlin, Barracuda, Dorado, Mackerel Tuna, Sail Fish, Tarpon and Jack.
Our members David Benett achieved an International record recognized by the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) with his catch of a 367 Kilo Blue Marlin in 1989. Sunday is a very busy day at the Club as members launch their boats and go to their beach huts up the creeks. It is a fine sight to see the boats returning at sunset whilst sitting under the Indian Almond Trees. We now have some two hundred boats in the site.
The Club is known for its hospitality and the regular events such as International Night have become part of the Lagos social calendar. Many organizations including the Lagos Diner’s Club and the Nigeria Britain Association host dinners and luncheons at the Club. Overseas Members return to the club on their journeys through Nigeria.
This brief history cannot possibly recall all the names and even begin to recognize the hours of devoted voluntary services over the years by Club members, which has enabled Lagos Motor Boat Club to proudly retain its position as a pre-eminent Club.