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How to Re-Organise your Rowing Shed

How to Re-Organise your Rowing Shed

(You know it needs it)

If you’re a boat club manager or committee member, you’re running a business.  Twice a year, with an influx (or wane) of club members, you need to assess the state of your club  from a business strategy standpoint.  Figure out who else needs to come on board in terms of members and employees, including facilities management, coaches, etc.  Writing a sports club strategy is best done separately.

Re-ordering and re-organising your shed will be done most efficiently when you have an exact assessment of the number of new and masters rowers, the number and size of rowing teams, number of coaches, how many regattas your members will be competing at, and how many boats you’ll need to manoeuvre in a given season.  This won’t help only in organising your shed, but in purchasing equipment to fill it.


Three Steps to an Organised Boat House

There are three steps to this process: plan, organise, and purchase.  Follow these steps bi-annually and re assess your boat house for optimum storage based on club members.


  • Create a Site plan of the shed. Write down size of shed, how much space is currently being used and the number of boat and oar racks on each wall.  Don’t forget to include boats stored outside or on your trailer (if any).
  • Make a rowing schedule and a current membership list – what time do rowers come in and go out? How many rowers do you have in each training group?  How many times a day / week does each group train on the water and in the club (weights, ergs, circuits)? How can you best organize your boats to accommodate the schedule?
  • Map out desired new equipment purchases. Do you have an influx of Masters rowers?  Will you need to purchase new boats to accommodate children? Who is going to coach these crews?  Are you moving down from top of the range to novice members?  Any boats that need to be retired?  If you buy new, does the old boat drop down to being used by a lower skill group?


Lay out your shed to accommodate the way people enter and exit.  We’ll look at your boat club from front to back, and top to bottom

  • Small and expensive equipment should be toward the back, not visible as people enter the boat house.  This could include the tools, motor boat engines and any computers you use for boat logs.  Anything that’s very portable and desirable to thieves shouldn’t be in public view.
  • Standard equipment that everyone uses should be at the front.  The main ones are oars and sculls and trestles or boat slings plus boat washing gear and the hosepipe!  This will make it easier for newer rowers, and minimise the risk of them damaging other equipment that they’re not used to handling.  It’s safer for members, and for your equipment.
  • Ground height to 5 feet up is for cheaper equipment, especially that used by beginners and children.  Select another bay around the corner (or higher up) to keep the top range boats for elite rowers. Consider where privately owned boats are stored.  Do the owners want easy access and risk knocks from clumsy members on their new single scull?
  • Consider your equipment and it’s ease of carrying. Make it easy to get in and out with sliding racks or steps to reach higher racks. if you need to take out-board motors on and off, you may need a trolley system, so coaches and club members can move them around smoothly.
  • Storage for less-used equipment should also be reviewed.  Think about the spare sets of riggers (scull riggers for sweep boats and the reverse).  where do you keep them?  What about the spare parts (bungs, bow balls, shoes in varying sizes, nuts and bolts) pots of paint, spare batteries and the boat ties for when you go to regattas with a trailer?



Sometimes in community clubs, you can often feel trapped into finding the cheapest solutions, which may not be the best.  Do your research and consider all of your options.  Remember, you want your boat house to be safe, easy to maneuver equipment around, and make sense from a layout perspective.

  • Take your list from part 1 – research options to find equipment within your price bracket that will fulfill the roles needed at your club.  We have a great guide to purchasing rowing equipment.
  • Pieces to consider: we know about the importance of a well-ordered club, and we have a few pieces of equipment that might help you in the process we’ve laid out.
  • Wing rigger brackets – removable wing riggers are bulky but can be stored behind boats on the wall.
  • Oar brackets – utilise your wall space. Each oar is still independently retrievable when vertically stored.
  • Sliding racks -to get boats closer together. You’re not lifting them out of racks, you’re sliding them out.  This makes it easier for members who are removing them, and better utilizes vertical space.

Have you got any good rowing hacks that you’ve used to improve your boathouse layouts?  

We have seen sites where shipping containers are used for storage and one (in Switzerland) where every boat was de-rigged after rowing so they could store three boats side-by-side on a single rack.  They had a LOT of wing rigger brackets!

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