When, Where, What and almost everything you need to know

You should plan to arrive at the boathouse near at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start of your session.  Directions to the parking is here.

If you haven’t viewed the prep materials online you might want to do that, now.  This will help you understand the terminology of the sport and help you get the most of this short introduction session.

You should come prepared to have fun and to learn new things.  Rowing is easy with just a few basic steps in each stroke but, like any new activity, it can be challenging to master at first. While simple, there are many things to learn all at once.  The key is to relax.  Rowing takes an hour to learn and a lifetime to master with lots of fun in between.

You should bring the following:

  • Your covid face mask must be worn until you are on the water in a boat.
  • Your completed Jean Street Shipyard waiver
  • You should wear comfortable shorts and shirt that are not loose.  Loose clothing, especially shorts, can get caught in the seat and oar handles. 
  • Socks and shoes you don’t mind getting wet – we sometimes have to wade on very high tide
  • Wearing a hat and sunglasses that are not likely to fall off can be a good idea. 
  • You should bring water or athletic drink.

Half of your session will be on the water.  Rowers don’t wear lifejackets but there are lifejackets in the boats in the very unlikely event an emergency occurs.  Should you fall in the water - you would be the first in one of our Learn To Row sessions - you should stay at the boat and the coach will assist you.


This hour-long session introduces you to the basics of rowing so that you can decide if it is a good fit for you.  You will learn the proper rowing stroke on a rowing machine, known as an erg, learn some basic terminology and then finish your introduction by going out in a rowing shell by yourself.  There will be coaches in boats around you to help and advise you.

Since you will be rowing alone in a small but stable boat, one of the most important things you must know is port and starboard.  These may seem cute and trivial naval terms but when you are the pilot of a boat, they are PARTICULARLY important.  The fact that you are sitting backward in the boat it gets even more important to talk of port and starboard rather than left and right.  Port is the left side of any vessel but since you are facing backwards your right side is port and your left side is starboard.


The session will start with a short overview of the topics to be covered including explanation of the terms and commands used in rowing.

You will learn the proper rowing stroke sequence on a rowing machine before you go out for a short row in a rowing shell.  The proper rowing stroke is important to be sure you do not injure yourself and that you are able to apply maximum power once you are ready.

You will then row in a one-person stable rowing shell to experience rowing on your own.  You will be assisted and guided by coaches in their own boats while you learn and practice the fundamentals of rowing.  Since you will be in your own boat you can progress at your own pace.


In order to partcipate in this session you must be able to swim!  You will not wear a life jacket since they interfer with the rowing stroke.  There will always be a safety boat nearby but should you fall into the water you will have to stay afloat long enough to be rescued.  It is VERY rare that a rower falls in but your safety is very important.

You should be fairly fit but this session will not require extertion.  Coming with a fun outlook and willingness to learn are the most important things to bring.  A water bottle might be nice, however.

Avoid wearing loose clothing, especially loose shorts.  Loose clothing can be caught in the rowing seat.

Next Steps

Once you have taken the first step with the Introduction to Rowing you may wish to move forward and get more involved in rowing.  The Tampa Rowing Club allows non-members not in other clubs to row up to three (3) times before becoming members.  You can schedule two additional sessions after your first lesson before you join the club.

Once you are a member you have unlimited access to all boats for which you have the skills to row.