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Transporting your rowing gear: moving oars by plane

Transporting your rowing gear: moving oars by plane

Transporting rowing equipment can be a hassle, especially when flying is involved. With so many rules and regulations (not to mention disclaimers when damage to the equipment occurs) it can mean the difference between a smooth trip and an absolute nightmare arriving without your gear. Not to worry though! In this post we’re covering the ins and outs of transporting your rowing oars on aeroplanes.


Possibly the best (or sometimes only) option for transporting your rowing oars by flight is with pre-transportation. This means sending your equipment on a flight designed specifically for luggage freight. Conditions vary between different airports and flight services so you will have to phone and check with each service you are using before commencing with preparations.

For example, many airlines will state they do not transport equipment over 2-3m in length. So useless for rowing oars.  However they do make exceptions for certain equipment including pole vaulting poles such as AirFrance and American Airlines.

Airline rules and policies

Special rules apply when transporting sports equipment, and oars are a difficult item to handle. Most airlines have restrictions of up to 2.5 meters for length of equipment being transported meaning sweep oars are almost entirely out and only sculls are possible. Then there’s the weight allowances of roughly 32kg at most (this one is not such a problem for oars) which is the standard weight allowance for over-sized baggage across multiple airlines.

There are several ways to counteract these rules however. If your oars can be broken into pieces then shipping them in parts could solve the length issue. So this means if you take out the handles you can shorten some sculls to 2.5 meters.  As for weight, you could use multiple passengers to declare transportation of only a few oars each. Therefore, a crew of eight could take one oar each as over-sized baggage.

Again, each airline is different and some airports even offer luggage protection and transport separate from airlines that use their terminals. For example, SmarteCarte at Auckland Airport can protect and transport over-sized luggage to save you time and money for a variety of situations.

How to pack your oars for the flight

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The perils of transporting your oars improperly...

Here you can see the perils of transporting your oars improperly…

Packing your oars is all about damage protection, especially in flight where items could move around and you sign an agreement with the airline where they aren’t responsible for your over-sized items. Not to fret though as we have a fool proof method for keeping your oars in pristine condition throughout.

  1. Take the button/ collar off of your oar and put it in your luggage. This helps the oars fit snugly together while reducing the weight as well.
  2. Bubble wrap the blades of your oars or use cardboard. They’re arguably the most important part of the oar and should have extra care taken to ensure they’re protected from knocks.
  3. Combine oars together in packs of 4 side by side, fitting together much the same way that cutlery spoons do. Most (if not all) oars fit neatly together when layered on top of each other the correct way.  For sculls, upturn one oar so the curve of the spoon fits snugly within the curve of the other.
  4. Tape the shafts of the oars (now fitted side by side) together with cling wrap (easy sticking tape made for transportation) and consider covering the handles of the oars as well.

Best of luck transporting your oars by flight. For more hints and tips for rowing, rowing clubs and coaching view our other posts.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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