Rowing terms and equipment explained

Frequently used rowing terms defined

Before taking to the water and starting out in rowing, it’s vital to ensure you know your port from your starboard and your shell from your rigger. As a result, we've come up with a brief guide to the basic rowing equipment and frequently used rowing terms.

Bow — the end of the rowing boat, closest to the direction of travel.

Rowing terms explained

Stern — the end of the rowing boat farthest from the direction of travel.

Port — the side of the rowing boat to the cox’s left and to the rowers' right. Also known as the strokeside.

Starboard — side of the boat to the cox’s right and to the rowers' left. Also known as bowside.

Blade — the flattened, or spoon-shaped, part of an oar that touches the water during rowing.

Bowball — a rubber ball attached to the bow tip of a shell to protect against damage and injury in case of a collision. The bowball can also help determine the winning team in the event of a tight finish (photo finish).

Double — a sculling boat for two rowers.

Fin — a small, flat piece of wood or plastic attached to the bottom of the boat to help the shell stay on a true course.

Handle — the part of an oar held by the rower.

Oar — the lever used to propel and steer a boat through water, consisting of a long shaft of wood with a blade at one end.

Rigger — a framework attached to the boat used to support the oar.

Rudder — found under the shell of the boat and is used for steering.

Scull — one or two short oars worked from side to side over the stern of a boat as a means of propulsion.

Shell — a rowing boat.

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