Adult Learn to Row

We offer group lessons between May and August annually. It includes six sessions over three weeks and cost $355. After six sessions, you will be able to:

  • Understand the basics of sculling (rowing with an oar in each hand).
  • Know what is like to row in a range of boats – quads, doubles, and singles. We have many stable boats suitable for learning, which means you don’t have to be an expert to row in a single.
  • Be prepared to join in our novice sessions on Saturday mornings.

You must also join Rowing Canada Aviron ($26.25) and Rowing BC ($20) to be able to participate in any activity at the club. Those fees are included in the $355.

Over these six sessions you will learn how to row with three to seven other people, led by two of our coaches. These will take place twice a week for three weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays evenings at 6:15 pm or on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 am. Each lesson lasts approximately 2 hours, but can run to 2.5 hours. We have a range of stable boats that are ideal to learn in – from crew boats designed for ocean rowing, to our Wavecutter singles that are designed with novice rowers in mind.

After you complete your lessons, and if you decide to continue rowing with the FCRC, we are offering a novice program on Saturday mornings this summer to help you consolidate your skills and endurance so that you can join in with our regular member programming.

Spaces for lessons are limited, and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

2023 Lesson Schedule

Click on your preferred lesson group and you will be linked to registration on Rowing Canada’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting here\Parking: it is best to ride your bike or walk. There is pay parking in the EasyPark lots nearby – lot 70 Gravel is the cheapest. You can park in the neighbourhood, but it’s a 2 hour limit and with the paddlers, rowers and everyone else going to be the beach, it is a difficult place to find free parking. If you do park in a pay parking spot, they are quite vigilant about monitoring the lots: we strongly encourage you to pay.

What to wear: do not wear baggy pants! The material will get caught in the wheels of the seats as they move back and forth while rowing. The tights sold by that large sporting goods and yoga company nearby help keep things under control. Bright colours if you please.

  • You are likely going to have to step into False Creek at some point getting in and out of boats: shoes that can cope with being “saltwater wet” are a good idea.
  • “Technical clothing” works well. Cotton shirts tend to be a problem, as is anything with pockets that your hands could get caught in as you row.
  • Please be prepared for the weather we are likely to encounter – check the weather report before you leave home. A windbreaker or rain jacket can make a huge difference to your enjoyment of the experience.
  • Extra clothes: there is a part of learning how to row that involves a lot of splashing: having an extra set of clothes with you would be a good idea.

Bring a full water bottle with you! There are bathrooms and water available nearby, but when you are on the water, options are limited and that’s not what we want people on the seawall to know who are are.

Gloves: people ask about wearing gloves. Some people wear them, some don’t: that’s up to you. They help protect you from calluses, but they don’t necessarily help you learn the proper grip.

Why do you need to know how to swim? Rowing happens (in our situation) on the ocean. We are not planning for you to end up in the water (that would be swimming, not rowing), but because it could happen we want to be prepared for that eventuality.

Rings and jewelry: we would suggest leaving them at home. You don’t want to lose them into False Creek, and typically they aren’t that comfortable when you are pulling on the oars.

Cell phones: like rings and jewelry, we row on False creek which is saltwater. Some people put them in zip lock freezer bags, or special waterproof bags. However, like rings, they are best left at home just to avoid compromising their integrity.

Sunglasses: a good pair of polarized sunglasses will help keep glare from the water’s surface from bothering your eyes.

Sunscreen: because the water’s surface can reflect the sun’s rays onto you from unexpected directions, having a good dose of sunscreen is advised.

Should you be early? Being 10 to 15 minutes early really helps us all out. Conversely, one person being late means the whole group will have problems launching in a reasonable time. Please contact your coach if you are going to be late.

What happens if you miss a class? If we cancel a class due to weather or safety related reasons we will do our best to make up for it. If you miss a class, then typically that’s on you.

Do you need to pay when you register? Until you pay, we do not consider your seat sold.

Do you need to know anything about rowing before you sign up? No. That’s why you are taking lessons.

Are you going to meet good people here? We have 3 values: be safe, be respectful and be welcoming and we expect everyone to abide by them. Everyone is going to have their own story and it likely be different from your own. It doesn’t mean that you have to like anyone, but we are all people and trying to make the world a better place.

What do the boats cost?

  • A one person rowing boat, or shell, costs (new) between $4,000 and $10,000.
  • A new 2 person rowing shell costs about $15,000.
  • A new 4 person rowing shell costs about $25,000 to $30,000.
  • A pair of sculling oars, like the ones we use for our rowing lessons, is about $1,000 each.