Rowing is a fun sport – but as my first coach said “remember the water is safe, until you forget that it’s dangerous.”

Fun training zootie

And so running a fun rowing club involves having some key building blocks that ensure it stays fun for members.

  1. Safety guidelines – Yes, this is the first and most important part of your club’s operating framework.  Know your stretch of water and the potential hazards then make rules that suit your needs. At my old club we had a fog rule – if you couldn’t see the white house on the opposite bank, it was too foggy to row.
  2. Boat and oar storage solutions – putting expensive rowing shells into the hands of your members becomes a whole lot safer when there are clear storage places and rules.  For example, do boats always store in one direction (bows in first) or have you got wooden blocks to chock up the boat above when taking your boat off the rack?
  3. Membership plan – who are your ideal club members and how do you recruit and retain them?  We have an easy recruitment for our club which is two local schools, the school leavers then join our senior squad; and their parents join our adult masters group.
  4. Great kit to wear – choosing a uniform for your club and finding a supplier who can get you a range of garments from racing zooties (all-in-ones) through to winter thermals helps to build club unity.  Have you thought of adding a “training” row suit for fun?  Here’s ours – little swans which reflect our club logo.
  5. Slick communication tools – mass messaging on email and phones is a challenge and so many groups now use boat booking software or WhatsApp messaging groups to get news around.  Worth investigating a range of options.  Some allow crew selection or training programme scheduling as well.