The Essential Rowing Equipment for Beginners

If you are interested in rowing, then you will need to purchase some essential equipment before you can get started. In this article, we will discuss the different pieces of equipment that you will need and explain what each one does. We will also provide some tips on choosing the right rowing equipment for your needs. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced rower, read on for information on the best rowing gear!

Rowing equipment if your club provides a boat:

The Essential Rowing Equipment for Beginners
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Short sleeve Lycra top

No one knows better than rowers the importance of a good Lycra top. Not only do they need to be tight enough to provide muscle support, but they also need to be breathable and comfortable. And of course, they need to look good! With so much riding on these shirts, it’s no wonder that rowers tend to have at least two in their closet. After all, you can never be too prepared when it comes to your rowing wardrobe. From early morning practices to late-night races, a good Lycra top will always give you the edge you need to succeed.

Long sleeve lycra top

There are few things more essential for a rower than a good long sleeve lycra top. Not only do they keep you warm in cold weather, but they also help to wick away sweat, keeping you comfortable even when you’re working hard. Plus, they look great – who doesn’t love a nicely fitted Lycra top? But here’s the thing: you can never have just one. Trust me, as someone who has made this mistake before, you will always need at least two. That’s because, sooner or later, you will inevitably end up with a rip or a tear in it. And when that happens, you’ll be glad you have a backup.

Lycra shorts

If you are serious about rowing, then you need to invest in a good pair of lycra shorts. Yes, they may not be the most fashionable item in your wardrobe, but they are essential for comfort and performance. Lycra shorts provide a snug fit that helps to reduce friction and prevent chafing. They also wick away sweat and help to keep you cool during intense exercise. In addition, lycra shorts offer superior muscle support, which is essential for preventing injuries.

Lycra leggings

Lycra leggings are a must-have for any rower. Not only do they keep your legs warm in cold or wet weather, but they also provide an extra layer of protection against the elements. And because they’re made of stretchy material, they won’t restrict your movement or cause chafing. But perhaps the best reason to own a pair of lycra leggings is that you can never have too many. After all, it’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard by a sudden change in weather.

Onesie (vest style and short sleeve)

Lycra all-in-ones are a must-have for any serious rower. They provide a tight, comfortable fit that helps to improve your aerodynamics and performance. Vest-style all-in-ones are ideal for racing, as they provide full coverage and help to streamline your body. Short sleeve all-in-ones are perfect for training, as they allow you to stay cool and comfortable while you work up a sweat. No matter what style you choose, lycra all-in-ones are an essential piece of equipment for any rower.


The humble gilet has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a sleeveless waistcoat. Today, it is an essential piece of kit for any rower, providing warmth and insulation without compromising on mobility. Made from a variety of different materials, including wool, fleece and down, a gilet is a perfect way to keep warm when warming up for a training session. And with a wide range of styles and colours available, it is easy to find a gilet that suits you. It should be noted that you shouldn’t really wear them when on the water as your oar handles may get stuck or snag on the gilet, but off the water, they’re a must for the winter.


The Essential Rowing Equipment for Beginners
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Rowers are a unique breed of athlete. We love nothing more than spending hours out on the open water, chasing the perfect sunset row. However, we also know the importance of being prepared for anything. That’s why we always make sure to pack at least two spare pairs of socks in our kit bags. After all, there’s nothing worse than rowing with wet feet. Not only are wet socks uncomfortable, they can also lead to blisters and other foot problems. By carrying around a spare pair of socks, we can always be sure that we’ll have dry feet for our next row.

Seat cover (if your bum hurts)

As any rower knows, having the right equipment is essential to success on the water. While some items, like oars, are absolutely essential, others, like rowing seat covers, are less so. In fact, I’ve never used a rowing seat cover in my entire career as a rower. That’s not to say that they’re not useful – if your bum starts to hurt from sitting on the hard rowing seat, a seat cover can provide some much-needed cushioning. However, in my experience, they’re not essential to success on the water.


Any rower will tell you that sunglasses are an essential piece of gear. Not only do they keep the sun out of your eyes, but they also help to deflect wind and water. On a sunny day, sunglasses can help to improve visibility and prevent glare from interfering with your sight. And on a windy day, they can help to keep the wind from drying out your eyes. In addition, sunglasses can also help to prevent sunburn, which is a risk when you are spending long hours outdoors. Whether you are rowing for sport or recreation, make sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the elements.

Suntan lotion

When you’re out on the water enjoying the sunny weather, it’s important to remember to wear suntan lotion! The sun’s rays can be reflections off the water, making them even more intense than usual. Plus, you’re also more exposed to the sun when you’re on a boat since there’s no shade. So make sure to put on some sun tan lotion before you head out, and reapply it regularly throughout the day.


You know that feeling when you’re all sweaty after a workout and you just want to jump in the shower? Or when you fall in the river and you suddenly realize that there’s no shower in sight? In both cases, a towel is essential. Towels are essential for drying down after a shower, and they can also come in handy if you fall in the water. They absorb moisture quickly and can help you stay warm and comfortable. Plus, they’re just really handy to have around!

Change of clothes

The Essential Rowing Equipment for Beginners
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It was a warm day, and I had just finished a rowing session on the river. I was tired, but I felt good as I was standing on the dock, chatting with my teammates. All of a sudden someone accidentally bumped into me from behind. I went tumbling into the water. I managed to swim to the edge and pull myself out, but my clothes were soaked. I didn’t have a spare shirt or shorts in my kit bag, so I had to travel home in my rowing all-in-one and some shorts (I looked ridiculous to passers-by I’m sure).

It was a lesson that I learned the hard way and one that has stuck with me ever since. Now, I always make sure to carry a spare set of light clothing in my kit bag. All it needs to be is a shirt and some comfortable training shorts

Change of kit

There’s nothing worse than being stuck in wet clothes after falling into the water – especially when you have to row some more! That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a spare change of kit in your kit bag, just in case you end up getting wet. That way, you can change into dry clothes and carry on with your session.

Rigger Jigger

There are few things more frustrating than being out on the water, ready to row, discovering that you’ve got a loose nut and have forgotten your rigger jigger. A rigger jigger is an essential piece of rowing equipment that helps to keep your boat nuts as tight as they need to be. Without it, you will quickly find yourself in trouble. Even if you are just rowing for fun, a rigger jigger can help you to stay safe, dry and enjoy your time on the water. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been out on the water and have needed to tighten a nut, especially a boat that isn’t my own.

Electrical tape

Anyone who has ever been rowing knows that blisters are a real pain. They seem to pop up at the most inopportune times, and can really ruin your day. That’s why it’s always good to have a roll of cheap electrical tape in your kit bag. Electrical tape is especially handy because it won’t come off when you take a stroke in the boat. Plus, it’s cheap, so you don’t have to worry about being too careful with it.

I personally go for the cheaper brands as they aren’t as sticky and therefore won’t rip off as much skin when you take it off. Just apply it to the affected area and forget about it until you’re done rowing but make sure you take it off between sessions. Trust me, your future self will thank you for being prepared!

First aid kit (small)

As any rower knows, rowing can be a tough sport. Being out on the water can pose dangers such as dirty water getting into exposed wounds like blisters or cuts. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep a small first aid kit in your rowing kit bag. These kits are relatively inexpensive and can come in handy if you suffer a minor injury while rowing. They typically include bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers, which can help to ensure that you make a quick and full recovery. It’s always handy to make sure that you know how to properly use the items in your first aid kit too.

Rowing equipment If your club doesn’t provide a boat:

The Essential Rowing Equipment for Beginners
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Single scull boat

So this one is pretty obvious. If you join a rowing club as a senior and they don’t have boats that they lend out to seniors then you’ll need to provide your own boat. This is a very expensive option but it does mean that you are the only person that will be using the boat and therefore will be able to fine-tune it to your own personal rowing style. If you’ve got the money and want to row in your own boat this is the best, and really the only option.

Single scull cover

A boat is a big investment, and you want to do everything you can to protect it. One of the best ways to do that is to keep it covered when it’s not in use. A cover will safeguard your boat from sun damage, scratches, and other wear and tear. It’s also a good idea to cover your boat if you’re going to be storing it for an extended period of time.

A cover will keep dust and debris off your boat, and it will also deter animals from making themselves at home inside your vessel. So whether you’re taking a break from boating for the winter or just want to keep your boat in tip-top shape, a cover is a must-have item.


Rowing is a great workout and a lot of fun, but it’s important to have the right equipment. Most rowing clubs will provide oars, but if you want to use a specific style of oar then it’s best to get your own. There are a few things to consider when choosing oars. First, you need to decide what material you want the oar to be made of. Wood is the traditional choice, but composite materials like carbon fibre can be lighter and more durable. Second, you need to choose the right size oar for your height and strength. Finally, you need to decide on the grip style that’s best for you.

Oar covers

Oar covers help to protect your oars from scrapes and scratches, and they also provide an extra layer of insulation against the cold. In addition, oar covers can help to keep your oars clean and dry while they’re in storage.

Spares (Covered Below)

There’s nothing worse than being out on the water and having something break. Suddenly, your perfect day of rowing is turned into a floating nightmare. To avoid this, it’s always a good idea to keep some spares back at the boathouse. That way, if something does break, you can easily fix it and get back to enjoying your time on the water.

So what should you keep in your boat spare parts kit? Seat tracks, seats, riggers, bow balls, nuts, bolts, and washers are all useful items. Whilst some of these won’t be on hand all the time like a spare rigger, it’s always handy to have some of these items handy. With some of these key items on hand, you’ll be able to quickly fix any issue and get back to rowing.

Spare Parts:

The Essential Rowing Equipment for Beginners
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Seat tracks

Seat tracks are an essential part of any rowing shell, and it’s important to have at least one spare on hand in case one breaks. They’re relatively small, so they don’t take up much space, and they’re easy to replace if necessary. Seat tracks play a crucial role in the performance of a rowing shell, and they need to be replaced periodically as they wear down. Having a spare seat track or a pair of them at the boathouse is a good way to ensure that you’re always prepared for any potential problems.


Anyone who has ever been rowing knows that it is important to have a good seat. A seat that isn’t moulded correctly can make it difficult to row properly and may even cause back pain. This is why it is always a good idea to keep a spare seat at the boathouse. That way, if you are uncomfortable during a session or if you need to do a quick change between sessions, you will always have a seat that is just right. Plus, it’s always nice to have a spare seat in case your one breaks.


When rowing, it’s always a good idea to have a spare rigger at the boathouse. That way, if there’s ever a problem with your boat, you can quickly repair it and get back on the water. And trust me, there’s nothing worse than having to wait for a new rigger to be delivered while you’re in the middle of your training season.

Bow ball

If you’re a rower, then you know how important it is to have a bow ball on your boat. Not only does it protect your boat from damage, but it also helps to protect others from any major injury on the water. Bow balls can sometimes get damaged or come off completely, which can be a real pain. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep a spare one at the boathouse. That way, if your primary bow ball gets damaged, you can simply swap it out for the spare. Trust me, it’s a lot better than having to turn around and go back to the boathouse!

Various nuts, bolts and washers

Most people don’t think about nuts, bolts and washers when they go out for a nice row on the river. But experienced rowers know that it’s always a good idea to keep a few spare parts handy. That way, if something comes loose, you can quickly fix it and get back to enjoying the peacefulness of being on the water. You shouldn’t need to keep these in the boat as you should be doing your boat checks before going on the water anyway, but it’s always handy to have a few spare with you in a bag that isn’t going to get in the way when rowing. Make sure you’ve got your rigger jigger too!

Whilst this isn’t every bit of rowing equipment you’ll need, these are among some of the most important bits that you’ll find yourself needing as a beginner. I hope that you’ve been able to take on board the more important items that you’ll need as they come up almost daily when you are a rower. Stay safe out there and most importantly, have a wonderful time!

10 essential items every rower should have in their kit bag


Q: What is a bow ball?

A: A bow ball is a small, round object that is attached to the front of a rowing shell. It serves two purposes: to protect the boat from damage and to help protect others from any major injury on the water.

Q: Why are nuts, bolts, and washers important?

A: Nuts, bolts, and washers are important because they keep the boat together. They can sometimes come loose, so it’s always a good idea to have a few spares with you in case one comes off.

Q: What is a seat track or slide?

A: A seat track or slide is a long, thin piece of metal that runs along the length of the rowing shell. It helps to keep the rowing seat in place. Seat tracks can sometimes get damaged or come loose, so it’s always a good idea to keep a spare one at the boathouse.

Q: What is a rowing shell?

A: A rowing shell is a narrow, lightweight boat that is used for racing. It is propelled by the power of the rowers through the use of oars. Rowing shells are typically made from carbon fibre or fibreglass.

Q: What is a rowing oar?

A: A rowing oar is a long, thin pole that is used to propel the rowing shell through the water. Oars are usually made from carbon fibre or wood.

Q: What is a rowing stroke?

A: A rowing stroke is the term used to describe the action of rowing. The rowing stroke begins with the rower sitting at the back of the rowing shell with their legs extended. The rower then takes hold of the oar and places it in the water. They then use their legs, back, and arms to pull the oar through the water. The rowing stroke ends with the rower returning to the starting position.

Q: What is a rowing rigger?

A: A rowing rigger is a frame that holds the oars in place. It’s attached to the rowing shell and extends out over the water. Rowing riggers are usually made from aluminium or carbon fibre.

Q: What is rowing sculling?

A: Sculling is a type of rowing where each rower has two oars, one in each hand. Sculling is typically done in rowing shells that are designed for racing.

Q: What is rowing sweep?

A: Sweep is a type of rowing where each rower has one oar and rows on only one side of the rowing shell. Sweep rowing is typically done in rowing shells that are designed for racing.

Q: What is rowing coxing?

A: Coxing is the term used to describe the action of steering a rowing shell. The coxswain, or cox, sits at the back of the rowing shell and uses a rudder to steer the boat. They also help to motivate the rowers and keep them on course.

Q: What is a rowing erg?

A: A Rowing erg, or rowing machine, is a type of rowing equipment that is used to simulate the rowing stroke. It is a great way to build up strength and stamina for rowing. Rowing ergs are typically used in rowing training.

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