Why join Whaling City Rowing?
Ever seen a crew or a single sculler row smoothly across glassy water river? We don’t do that. We row whaleboats. It's so much cooler.

Do I have to be in shape to row?
Not really. You will get out as much energy as you put in. An open row is a fun recreational row in and around the harbor. There is no impact on the joints, but there is both an endurance and strength building aspect to rowing. You also need to be able to step down into the boat and step back out of the boat. You must have good balance and overall physical mobility to take up rowing. As long you can walk up a flight of stairs or move a couple bags of groceries into your car without getting winded, you should be fine.

Do I need to know how to row?
Nope. Your boatsteerer will provide all the instruction you will need on your first open row. Click ROWING BASICS to learn more.

Is it hard?
Not really. But there is a learning curve. Staying in sync and remembering the commands takes a little time. Soon, it will be as natural as walking. So, don't worry about skipping your oar, "catching a crab" or accidentally hitting the guy in front of you with your oar handle. We've all done it, and I'm sure if you ask, the crew would be more than happy to describe the awkwardness of their first row. Click ROWING BASICS to learn more.

Where do you row out of?
We have three boats docked at Pope's Island Marina in New Bedford. MAP

What is a whaleboat?
Whaleboats are 28 ft long with a 6 ft beam. They weigh about 1000 lbs empty. There is a crew of five people plus a boatsteerer. There are three rowers on the starboard side and two rowers on the port side. We row fiberglass replicas based on the classic whaleboat design of New Bedford's James Beetle. James Beetle and his sons had a boat-building yard in the South End of New Bedford in the 19th century. Click ABOUT WHALEBOATS to learn more.

What's a boatsteerer?
A boatsteerer is essentially the captain of the boat. He or she doesn't row, but steers the boat with a steering oar from the stern. They volunteer their time to take crews out either for open rows or team rows. They will also provide all the rowing instruction you will need on your first open row.

What do I need to wear and/or bring?
Wear a pair of non-skid footwear or sneakers, bring a pair of gloves that grip well if you have them, and bring a bottle of water.  For general clothing, it depends. For warm weather rows; shorts, t-shirt, sunglasses and/or a hat with a visor. Depending on the air temperature, a light windbreaker or long sleeved jersey is good too. Be sure to apply sun block before boarding. For cold weather rows; dress in layers so that you can peel some off as you warm up. A parka or windbreaker with a hat is advised.

Do I need special equipment to row?
A pair of gloves with a good grip are useful, but not necessary. A bottle of water would be a good idea. The club will provide you with all the safety equipment and instruction in order for you to start rowing. Once you become a member, you will need to provide for your own seat if you want one.  We offer a yearly seat building workshop or you can purchase one from WCR.

Do I need to know how to swim?
Not really. A whaleboat is a very study boat and there is very little chance of you falling overboard. Also, as a safety precaution, there are PFD's provided for every rower in the boat.  During the cold months, PFDs are mandatory.  It is suggested you wear one all of the time but rowers can choose not to wear one in the summer.

What's a PFD?
A personal floatation device, also known as a lifejacket. Coast Guard PFD Information

Do you row all year?
Indeed we do. Most members choose to stay warm in their houses during the Winter months. But there are many of us who have chosen to spend their mornings chipping ice out of a boat in order to get out onto the water. We've also been known to row early in the morning, to watch the sunrise or late into the evening, for one of our Full Moon Rows.

Do you stay within the harbor?
For the most part. But, we often row up the Acushnet River or outside of the hurricane barrier. In the Fall, we bring a boat to the Lloyd Center for the Environment and row the Slocum River.

Is there an age limit?
To row, you must be at least thirteen. Children under thirteen will be considered, based on the evaluation of the boatsteerer and must be accompanied by a parent on all rows. A rower must be willing and able to follow directions of the boatsteerer and row together with the other rowers. In all instances, parents and prospective rowers are asked to respect the opinion of the boatsteerer after a trial row. In regards to the upper age limits of rowing, there are none. We have had octogenarians who row with us regularly!

What is the time commitment?
As much or as little as you'd like. An open row is usually one hour long.  We have multiple open rows throughout the week. Some of our members row once a week, while others row three or four times a week depending on what's available and how much free time the member has.

How much does it cost to join?
For most, $120/year.  We also have a family membership.  Click JOIN US for more information.

How do I go about getting my free trial row?
Simply click ROW WITH US for more information.

What's an open row and how do I sign up for one?
Open rows are open to all members and beginning rowers to provide an opportunity for rowers who would like to row at different times with crews that vary from one scheduled row to the next. To see when our open rows are available, click CALENDAR. To check availability and sign up for an open row, click OPEN ROWS.

How do I join a team?
Our teams are groups that row at specific times every week for either recreation or training. Depending on what you're looking for, it's best to contact the boatsteerer (here) and offer to sub in whenever the boatsteerer needs someone to fill in. Otherwise, you can find five like-minded individuals (and one that boatsteers) and create your own. Click TEAMS to learn more.

How do I join WCR?
Click JOIN US Fill in the APPLICATION & WAIVER form, which also contains the fee information, mail it in and once we receive it, you’ll be sent our welcoming email. Welcome to WCR!