While SSRS can help you with all your rowing storage needs, taking care of your boat and equipment remains very important. There are all kinds of hazards out there waiting to have a crack at your equipment, including buoys, pollution, rust and even novice rowers. This is part 1 of a 3 part series on how to care for your rowing equipment and add years to its life.
The number one piece of advice for all coaches and rowers out there is to read the owners manual for your rowing equipment, be it the boat, the Coxmate electronics or even an ergo. Because rowing equipment is simple in design and concept, many people over look these manuals, which is a big mistake. Owners manuals will usually give you advice on cleaning, maintenance and repairs. The few minutes it takes you to read a manual will pay off in the long run and will also help coaches or rowers instruct others on how to use the equipment correctly and avoid unnecessary accidents such as broken foot stretchers or over tightened rigger nuts.
“Clean equipment is happy equipment”. As much as I hate to admit it, my parents were right all those years ago when they continually nagged me to clean my bike and the same applies to rowing equipment. Rinsing and wiping down the hull and slide tracks after every row and a soapy water wash once a week will keep away all the grime and grit that eats into your gear. Oar handles should also be disinfected on a regular basis. Take that warm soapy water and add a splash of disinfectant. Bursting blisters, blood and sweat work their way into the handle (wood, plastic or rubber) and reduce its performance as a surface for you to hold onto. During the racing season you can also wax your hull. This will help defend your boat against pollution and ultra violet rays. For this you can use any good quality car or boat wax. And if you have scratches in the paintwork, a little t-cut metal polish is a good way to remove superficial scratches, especially if you are planning on selling your boat.
Next week we will fill you in on ‘Pre-use tightening of rowing equipment’ and ‘How to look after rowing equipment while in transit’.