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How to Start a Rowing Club

Tips for Starting a Rowing Club

Rowing can be an expensive enterprise, not the least of which is the rental or purchase of the shells (or boats) themselves. Once upon a time, shells were made of wood, but now they're constructed from composite materials using cutting-edge construction methods that make them light but strong -- and costly. If you're planning on starting your own rowing club, you probably need to have access to equipment and a boathouse where you can store it. You will also need access to a dock and transportation.

Once you have some of the important equipment-related specifics taken care of, start thinking about how you'll structure and manage your club. These tips will help:

Define your goals - Understanding the projected size of your club and its goals will make it easier for you to plot a strategy. If you just want to row for fun, keep it casual. Otherwise, you may want a more formal arrangement that will include becoming eligible to participate in nationally recognized regattas. You may even want your club to offer competitive as well as recreational rowing opportunities and training to members at a number of different skill levels.

Create a plan for the future - If you love the sport but don't like the idea of getting involved with details like choosing team uniforms and courting free advertising, consider electing club officers to help. Obtaining insurance and handling the accounting chores for your club are important details you'll want to handle right from the beginning. USRowing provides insurance through Roehrs & Company, Inc. as well as other benefits to participating members. There may be advantages to joining forces with any regional rowing groups in your area, too.

Money matters - Structuring your fees accurately and obtaining outside sponsors will help you pay the bills. You may also want to branch out by starting your own Web site and encouraging interested volunteers to spread the word. A dedicated group of volunteers can also help with meal prep, transportation and first aid for your scheduled events.

If you love the idea of starting a rowing club but think that going it alone may be too much for you, consider joining an existing club. There are programs across the country tailored to suit all skill levels. They typically offer equipment rentals and have the infrastructure in place to make it easy for you to concentrate on the most important aspect of the sport -- rowing.