Coastal rowing is the extreme version, the adventure side of rowing. It involves rowing along a sea coast and out into the sea and is one of the fastest growing communities of rowers. It is especially popular in Italy, France and Great Britain to name a few. It can be found in all corners of the world including the Maldives and many parts of Africa. Coastal rowing boats are also used inland on some lakes and rivers where the water tends not to be flat.
Rowing on rough water means that coastal rowing is quite different from the flat-water Olympic style of going in a straight line. Coastal rowers instead, often prefer rough water which adds a whole new dimension to the sport with many coastal rowers cherishing the exhilarating aspect of rowing in extreme conditions.
Coastal rowing is easier to learn than flat-water rowing, due partly to the stability and robustness of coastal rowing equipment which differs from the Olympic-style boats. The standard boats are singles (or solo), doubles and coxed quadruple sculls. But just knowing how to handle a coastal rowing boat is not sufficient to become a good coastal rower. Crews must be aware of tides and currents, learn about the course’s topography and know what to do in the midst of maritime traffic and in case of bad weather.
One important thing to note with coastal rowing is that learning to row and being a good rower is only one part of the sport. Rowers must be aware of tides and currents, as well as topography and courses, marine traffic and the rules of the river and sea as well as being aware of the weather and what to do. Coastal rowers should be able to swim at least 25m and a life jacket must be at hand. Members of MORC are required to take a capsize course, and we are currently in the process of designing a Coxwain course.