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Full Membership in the Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club (RIRSC) includes:

  • Unlimited rowing with other club members in a variety of shells, supported by a safety launch

  • Use of the ergs

  • Participation in regattas and races

  • Use of wherries

  • Ability to invite guest rowers

  • Social events and camaraderie!

Membership Dues for 2024-25

Full Membership:  $450

Associate Membership:  $100

When We Row

The club rows from April through October, weather depending, including a daily morning row around 7:00 a.m. In the late spring-summer, an earlier row is scheduled to accommodate those with early work schedules.  Afternoon rows are also available. The schedule changes throughout the summer as needed. 

Members sign up online for the days they would like to participate in the club outings, and are assigned to boats in a way that provides a fun, safe, and equitable experience.  Cancellations can occur due to rough water or fog.

Where We Row

Port Townsend Bay is a marine inlet off Admiralty Inlet at the northeastern extreme of the Olympic Peninsula in the U.S. state of Washington. It was named Port Townsend by George Vancouver in 1792.

RIRSC open rows can go from Point Hudson south to the Port Townsend Paper Mill and back, North to Fort Worden and back, or East to Rat Island and back. All are approximately 5-7 miles roundtrip.


Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club was named for Rat Island Shoal off Indian Island, a frequent destination for Open Rows. Every year, the Rat Island Regatta leaves from Fort Worden goes around Rat Island and back.

Our Boathouse

Our boathouse is located in the  Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend at the intersection of the historic downtown district and Point Hudson on Port Townsend Bay.

  • Steps from the beach

  • Spectacular mountain and saltwater views

  • At the center of historical wooden boat capital, Port Townsend!

  • High ceilings and concrete floors

  • Access to expansive decks and outdoor commons

  • Wooden Boat shop

  • Center of the Wooden Boat Festival

  • Velocity coffee house for socializing after our morning rows

  • Concept2 ergometers for indoor rowing or rowing on the waterfront deck


Rowing is inherently a potentially dangerous sport as we are out in deep, cold water, subject to dangerous weather conditions, and exposed to navigational hazards and other boat traffic. The safety of every rower in our Club is of paramount importance.  All rowers are required to view a video on rowing safety.  Rows are accompanied by our safety launch, which is equipped with a VHF marine  radio, cell phone, life jackets and other safety equipment. If weather and water conditions are considered unsafe, the row will be cancelled or terminated early as needed.  Click here to review our safety policy.

Our Equipment


The club has a variety of shells for use by members.  These include fiberglass and carbon fiber quads, our Pocock wooden shells, and several wherries and doubles.  Oars are provided. The club does not own single shells.  Individuals can rent space in the boathouse for their personal shells by contacting the Northwest Maritime Center


The club has ergs in the boathouse, which are free for members to use.  No need to sign up for the ergs.  On the Concept2 website you can keep an on-line logbook.  Be sure to choose Rat Island as your affiliation & check "Yes" to be included on our list.

How to Join

The current cost of membership can be found above. Learn-to-Row Class attendees can join at a reduced fee for the first year after successfully completing the class.

Membership forms include:​

  • Registration and Emergency Contact form

  • RIRSC Waiver and Release of Liability

  • Safe Sport and Code of Member Behavior form

  • Float Test

If you are an experienced rower and would like to join our club, please contact us and someone from our membership team will respond to discuss next steps.

Associate Membership

An Associate Membership supports the club financially, and keeps members who are no longer rowing with us connected to the club socially.  Some of our associate members drive the launch and guest row with us occasionally.  

Financial Assistance

Are you committed to rowing but need financial assistance? Apply for our RIRSC scholarship. Read more about it on our Scholarship Application form.

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