Rowing Equipment List

rowing equipment list

Rowing Equipment

In rowing, athletes compete in boats, also called shells, by moving them through the water with oars. Therefore, the sport can't be practiced without the necessary equipment, a boat and oars. In addition to that, the sport must be practiced in still waters such as lakes, and so along with having the proper equipment, the proper location must be found for people to practice rowing.

Rowing can be both a team sport and an individual sport, since the sport is practiced in categories with one, two, four, or eight rowers per boat.

Rowing boats can be purchased, but usually, rowing clubs and camps will provide the shells. So, all rowers need to buy is personal equipment, like glasses, uni-suits, spandex shorts, shoes, and anything else that he may wear. It may also be a good idea to buy an indoor rowing machine, also known as an erg. By having your own machine, you can work on your rowing form and on your cardio to improve your skills.


With rowing, there comes many different types of accessories that you can have. Shirts, hoodies, hats, and more are all great things to have. You can get these pieces of clothing that have your team or club’s logo on them so you can wear them proudly at regattas and around town. All accessories for rowing, while not mandatory, are great things to have as each one will bring you some sort of benefit.


rowing boat

All rowing boats can be called shells, and a rowing boat that has scullers in them is called a scull. Therefore, all sculls are shells, but not vice versa. Boats were originally made of wood, but newer boats are made of carbon fiber so they can perform better in competitions. They are lightweight and have a fragile appearance, but they are crafted to be strong and stiff in the water. A boat can be anywhere from 27 feet to 60 feet long, and can be as narrow as ten inches. A recreational boat will likely be a bit wider than a competitive boat, since a competitive boat needs to be more aerodynamic so it can go faster. It will vary depending on size and quality, but you can find a boat for as little as $300. No matter what you may have, it is impossible to go rowing without the boat!


In rowing, the bow seat is the first seat from the front. The bow is considered the forward part of the boat, or the point that is most forward when the vessel is underway. If a boat has more than one rower, the rower that is closest to the bow is known as the “bow.” This person is responsible for keeping an eye on the water behind himself or herself to avoid accidents. He or she will also make verbal contributions the rest of the boat, making sure that everyone is on the same page.


rowing clothing

When choosing what gear to wear, as in many other sports, it comes down to comfort, preference and safety. Rowers can't wear bulky clothes, as those can interfere with performance and can also easily get caught on parts of the boat. You can find a rower wearing clothing that is soft, breathable, and flexible. Spandex shorts or pants is a very popular thing for them to wear.  Weather conditions may also dictate what rowers wear when practicing or competing. On a sunny rowing day, rowers can use glasses and hats, while in colder days many may choose to wear spandex tights and long sleeve compression shirts.

Cox's Seat

The cox (or coxswain) sits in a designated seat where he or she can effectively coach the rowers. The cox’s seat is located at the stern, or back, of the boat, as the cox commands and motivates the rowers while calling a stroke rate. In some cases, like if it is a four person boat, the cox’s seat can be at the front of the boat rather than the stern. The cox is also there to steer the boat and make sure they will not crash since the rowers are facing the back of the boat.


rowing gloves

Rowing gloves protect you from painful blisters that come from the oars, which will allow you to train at your absolute best. Gloves are also a great way to negate excess friction that comes from sweating. Gloves will allow you to row for a longer period of time, since you will not have to worry as much about blisters or calluses.

To avoid these blisters, you can wear regular gloves, grips, or pads. Gloves are basic workout gloves that are designed specifically for rowing and cover ¾ of your finger and are made of breathable material. Pads are great for indoor rowers as they are easy to put on and only protect the part of your hand that actually needs protection. Grips are a hybrid between gloves and pads, but they are minimal and do not really protect the entire hand. A pair of these gloves cost around $40.


rowing hat

Some people like to wear a hat when they are rowing, as it will give them better visibility. They cost around $25. Most hats have a leather tuckaway strap or a velcro strap that will allow you to adjust the fitting of the cap. For a rowing hat, you will want one that has a mesh liner inside that promotes cooling and minimizes staining. This is because you want to sweat as little as possible if you are wearing the hat. If you do end up sweating, you do not want to leave any stains.


rowing jacket

There are going to be some regatta days that are going to be very cold. So you should bring a jacket along with you when you are not racing. After a race, a jacket will be a comfortable piece of equipment that will allow you to warm up. This will cost around $80.

Another jacket you can wear is a thinner water resistant shell that you can bring with you on the boat. The shell of this jacket should be wind resistant, comfortable, and flexible so you can maneuver your boat with maximum comfort.


Having a rowing machine can help you train while indoors. Using one of these machines is a great way to push your muscles in a challenging yet comfortable way. They provide an outstanding way to increase fitness by burning calories and building muscles. These machines also have screens that show you how fast you are going, and how far you have gone. This is ideal for rowers because they can do specific workouts that are catered to their needs, preparing them for their next race all while staying indoors. Rowing machines are not cheap, as they typically cost around $1,000.


rowing megaphone

During a race, coaches are going to need to be heard over the roar of the crowd as well as any other background noise or distractions. It is important for the coach to be heard by the rowers, so that they can perform to the best of their abilities. Therefore, having a megaphone is vital for them to succeed in a race. Some rowing clubs rely on a combination of a two way radio as well as a megaphone. This is a great way to maximize communication skills between a team, so any sort of issue during a race or practice can be immediately corrected.


rowing oars

If you don’t have oars, your boat won’t be going anywhere except where the current takes you! Oars are used to propel the boat and are different from paddles since they are locked to the side of the boat. These are not cheap as a nice pair will cost you $700. Normally, oars are made of wood, and have a long shaft with a flat blade at the end. A balanced oar is a regular oar where weight has been added at the end so the blade is lighter and easier to maneuver. Competitive rowing oars are long poles with a flat end about 50 cm long. These more modern oars are made from synthetic materials, most commonly carbon fibre.

Oar Covers

Oars are very valuable pieces of equipment and it is important to keep them safe and in good shape at all times. Therefore, you should always have an oar cover to keep your oars protected. A good oar cover will be made of a fabric like nylon and will have quilted lining. This will keep the oars both safe and clean. These covers often hold around two oars, and come with straps to make them easily portable.


Oars are supported by metal, fiberglass, or carbon frames that are attached to the side of the boat called riggers. Riggers give the rower extra leverage when they are working. The rigger will allow you to not worry about the oar going all over the place, as it will be exactly where you want it to be thanks to the bolted in frames. There are also sliding riggers, which is where the oarlocks will move with you as you push yourself away from what's in front of you, giving the boat maximum speed.


rowing rudders

The rudder is a small steering device that is underneath the stern. It is used by the cox to steer the shell. The size of the rudder is dependent on the situation. For example, during a race on a winding head-style course, you would choose a bigger rudder over a small one. The force that the rudder will generate on the shell has two components with different directions relative to the boat. The parallel component of the force is the resistance that will slow down the boat. Tee perpendicular component is what creates a torque on the boat that will make it turn. While not entirely necessary, the rudder is a great steering tool during races and training sessions for the cox.


Sculling is when you use the oars to propel the boat by moving the oars through the water on either side of the boat. In this case, the boat itself can be referred to as a scull as well. The main difference between rowing and sculling is that in sculling each person will use two oars, whereas in rowing each person uses one oar. There are single sculls, double sculls, and quad sculls. This means the scull can have either one, two, or four passengers. Using a scull is generally believed to be the preferred way to get into rowing, especially for children.


rowing seats

In a typical racing shell, there are eight seats. The bow pair sits in Seats 1 and 2, and are usually the lighter athletes on the boat. Seats 3, 4, 5, and 6 are the “engine room” where the heavier and stronger athletes will work on the boat. Seats 7 and 8 are known as the stern pair. All three sections are equally important and need to work together to succeed in a race. The seats are designed to be comfortable so each member can perform for an extended period of time.


There is not an exact type of shoe that you need to wear when you are rowing. In the summer, a good pair of running shoes or cross trainers should work just fine. You need a pair of shoes that will give you reasonable support as when you are bracing hard with your legs. You are going to put a lot of force through your feet, so supportive yet comfortable shoes will work best. Your feet are going to be strapped in across the top of the foot with a strop around the heel, so protection that avoids chafing in those areas is recommended.

Spandex Tights

Spandex tights are a great thing to have when rowing in the spring, fall, and sometimes winter. These types of pants will keep you warm yet they are cut and sewn for comfort and performance. They are extremely comfortable, and will still allow you to maintain a high performance thanks to their flexibility and breathability. They are skin tight and therefore will stay in place so you will never have to worry about them sliding down or being too baggy. Depending on the material this can cost you between $30 and $80.


rowing spoons

Spoons are long narrow blades that are at the end of an oar. They are best for casual or recreational rowing, and are very forgiving in the rough water. The curvature on the back of the blate and the narrow profile will allow the blade to skip off the top of waves. There are also wide-blade spoons where the blade area will increase proportionally with oar length, making this option the best for speed or exercise. Since these types of blades are very forgiving, they are great for novice level rowers to get a feel for how everything works.


rowing stern

The back end of the boat is called the stern. The rowing seat that is closest to the stern is called the “stroke.” This person sets the rhythm for the boat, as all rowers behind him or her must follow the stroke’s cadence. The stern is also where the rowers are facing, so it will feel like they are moving backwards. The coxswain will also sit at the stern while steering the boat. This person will also be coaching the other rowers making sure they are working together.


Sunglasses for an outdoor activity like rowing are a little bit different than your regular sunglasses. You are going to need a product that will stay put as you row your way through the water. Many people use sunglasses just to protect their eyes from water splashes. When purchasing sunglasses for rowing, make sure you get polarized glasses that have lenses that are scratch resistance. A durable pair of sunglasses that will not stay securely attached to you as you are rowing will be extremely helpful. A nice pair of outdoor sunglasses will cost $80.


rowing sunscreen

While rowing, you are also going to be exposed to a lot of sunlight both directly and indirectly. It will be important to protect your skin from sunburn and even skin cancer. Since rowing is such a physically demanding sport, you are going to want to apply sweat and water resistant sunscreen. You do not want sweat to make the sunscreen ineffective, so make sure you buy the proper bottle. Sweat resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 is probably the best way to go. A bottle of sunscreen costs no more than $20.

Tank Tops

A tight tank top is a good thing to wear when you are training in warmer weather. These do not have sleeves, and it will feel nice to have your entire arm exposed to the sunlight getting fresh air. When you are training, there is not necessarily a specific type of tank top that you need. Any old cotton tank top should do the trick. You can also wear one that is more water resistant and breathable from a brand such as Nike if you would like as well, but it is important to go with what is most comfortable for you.

Transportation Trailer

A trailer is a great way to move more than one boat at a time. They can carry up to eight boats and have a weight capacity of over 1,000 pounds. They weigh in at 300 total pounds and are bolted together by aluminum. They can be up to 24 feet in length, so you are going to need a car that has the ability to pull that much weight. Transporting boats on trailers is usually where the most significant boat damage will occur, so you need to be extra careful and follow any and all procedures.


Trous are short sleeve spandex bottoms that are skin tight, and are short for trousers. They ensure a snug and comfortable fit. They have a double seated design, and are normally constructed with heavy weight dryflex poly spandex. These are tight enough to not get caught in the mechanisms of the seat of the boat, but flexible enough to allow you to move well. Costing around $35, these are great for hot days when you do not want to wear spandex pants.


rowing unisuits

During races, many teams will wear matching unisuits as their uniform. All over the rowing world, they are the most popular clothing for training and competing. These are skin tight suits that are often sleeveless at the arms and do not go lower than the knees. Many people like to customize their unisuits so they can have their team/club logo or name on it. It is a great way to build bonds for the team if they are in the same uniform on the day of a regatta. It will cost around $100 for one of these uniforms.


If it is really hot out and you don’t want to wear a hat but still want to block out the sun, a visor is a good option. A visor is pretty much a hat without a top, exposing the top of your head to the sun. It has a velcro strap so it can be tightened or loosened when you would like. This is a great choice for a comfortable, lightweight fit on your head when you are rowing costing at around $25.

Water Bottle

rowing water bottle

Like any sport, it is very important to stay hydrated when you are rowing. Without staying hydrated, you will not have the energy to complete your workout or race. Whatever watterbottle you want to use is totally based on your preference. You can use a plastic, thermal, or metal water bottle, depending on what you like most. As long as you are hydrated, it does not matter what type of water bottle you have.


What equipment is used for rowing?

Although it may seem like the only things needed are a boat and oars, there are a lot of crucial smaller pieces in a boat, such as riggers, spoons, and collars, all essential for the boat to move efficiently. Apart from boat equipment, rowers can have their own personal gear, to be used in practice and competitions such as visors, glasses, shoes, thermo shirts, shorts and uni-suits.

How much does rowing equipment cost?

Rowing boats are quite the investment and are the most expensive piece of rowing equipment. However, most of the time the shells are provided for rowers. As for personal equipment, the prices are fair. Rowing shoes cost around $75 to $100 and most other pieces of equipment fall in that range. A rowing machine costs a little more, its price revolves between $700 and $1000.