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Learn to Row Class

What You'll Learn

  • How to row a four person scull (two oars each)

  • Basic boat handling and maintenance

  • US Rowing Safety curriculum

  • Boat entry/exit procedures

  • Rowing stroke progression for sculling

  • Rowing etiquette

  • Boat safety

  • Rowing technique using an ergometer

Physical Demands

​Rowing is not for everyone! It is a physically challenging aerobic activity and requires the mental capacity to make sound decisions in stressful situations. You must be able to: 

  • Sustain aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes.

  • Bend your knees to the squat position.

  • Lift 25 pounds to eye level. You, along with other rowers, will be require to lift and carry a 4-person rowing shell at shoulder height up and down a series of steps and over sand.

  • Be flexible enough to get in and out of the shell.

  • Pass an in-water float test prior to class.


Rowing is inherently a potentially dangerous sport as we are out in deep, cold water, subject to potentially dangerous weather conditions, and exposed to navigational hazards and other boat traffic.  The safety of every rower in our Club is of paramount importance.  In the first class, conducted in a classroom rather than on the water, you will view a video on rowing safety, and we will discuss the Club’s safety regulations.  Our safety launch, which is equipped with a VHF marine radio, cell phone, life jackets and other safety equipment, will accompany you at all times.  If weather and water conditions are considered unsafe by the launch driver, the row will be cancelled or terminated early as needed.


March 19 Update:  We are no longer accepting new students for our spring 2024 classes.  Please check back in January 2025 for next year's class information.


There is a mandatory orientation on Saturday April 13th from 9-12 AM, followed by two classes of 6 students each, one in May and one in June.  Each class typically consists of eight 2-3 hour sessions, from 7-9:30 AM.  The cost for the 2024 class is $300.

The May dates for 2024 are (updated March 19th):

2, 4, 6, 9, 16, 20, 23, 25 plus the 30th if needed

The June dates are:

3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 17, 20, 22, plus the 24th if needed.

After orientation, if you are selected to join a class you will be sent a link to complete the following forms before your class starts.

  • Registration & Emergency Contact form

  • RIRSC Waiver and Release of Liability

  • Float Test

Float Test

Float Tests may be completed at the City of Port Townsend Municipal Pool daily during scheduled Lap Swims. Tell pool staff that you need to complete a float test. Be sure to bring your Float Test Form, so the lifeguard can certify that you have successfully completed the test by signing your form.

The cost is $6.00.


The Test: In deep water, you must float, tread water, or swim in place for 10 minutes. In the final minute of the test, you must put on a life vest while continuing to tread water.


City of Port Townsend Municipal Pool is located at 1919 Blaine St. (Mountain View School)

What to Wear

Dress in layers so that you can regulate warmth according to activity level and weather.  Loose fitting clothing is not good as it can interfere with the rowing stroke.  Much of the year you will want to wear tight fitting long pants, as well as a long sleeved garment.  A hat is a good idea on cooler days, and you’ll appreciate having sunglasses and a cap or visor for sunny days. Hi visibility colors are recommended.

Since we wade into the water to launch the boats, footwear needs to protect your feet from gravel, rocks  and shells. Neoprene and rubber kayak or diving booties are popular. No sandals may be worn while rowing as they may get trapped in the boat, although you may wear them while launching. Some rowers take off their foot wear once in the boat and wear heavy wool socks while rowing. The Club sells a variety of quality rowing apparel, and we can suggest sources of basic clothing and equipment.

Personal floatation devices are recommended but not required.

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