Learn to Scull

Learn to Scull Program: first session $25, then $190

Sculling is taught in small group sessions scheduled between volunteer coaches and participants. Weather conditions are a key determinant of when sculling can safely be taught to beginners. It generally takes 4-8 sessions to learn club policies, procedures and safety, learn how to safely and effectively handle sculling equipment, maneuver during docking and rowing, successfully complete a self-rescue in the water, and take a coxing theory clinic.

Once new scullers have been certified, they are encouraged to practice on the lake or other safe setting with a sculling partner. First year scullers may also row in a double or quad on the river with more experienced, certified members in the bow. Following club guidelines of required experience and training, scullers may request additional certification for river and bow seat in a double and quad. Enrollment in Learn to Scull is first come, first served.

Clarification of Fees:

  • First session: $25
  • Fee to progress through Level 1 Certification (within 1 year): $190
  • Fee for further privileges: an additional $165 (i.e. $390 in total)

Learn more about our Sculling Certification below. Contact our Sculling Director to get involved.

Certification Levels
LTSLearn to ScullActively working towards certification.
LTS-A: early beginner
LTS-B: making progress towards certification
LTS-C: ready or nearly ready for testing
1Lake BeginnerPermitted to row trainer 1X at the lake with a buddy.  Also permitted to row in 2X or 4X on the river but not in bow.
2Lake IntermediatePermitted to row racing 1X at the lake with a buddy.  Also permitted to row in 2X or 4X on the river but not in bow.
3Lake AdvancedPermitted to row racing 1X at the lake solo.  May bow cox on the river under close supervision in mild conditions.
4Bow Cox IntermediatePermitted to bow cox a 1X or 2X on the river. (See below for 1X solo Guideline.)
5Bow Cox AdvancedPermitted to bow cox a 4X on the river. (See below for 4X Guideline.)

1X Solo Guideline:  it is recommended that nobody row a 1X solo except in conditions that are very comfortable for the sculler. Also, scullers should demonstrate to an experienced other member that they can comfortably carry a boat single-handedly before attempting to do so alone. Carrying a 1X solo should not be attempted in anything more than mild wind (<8mph) unless the sculler is quite experienced at doing so.

4X Guideline:  except in unusually mild conditions, coxswains of 4X’s are strongly encouraged to have a combined 10 years sculling experience in the boat.

Coaching Caveat:  a coach able to maintain close supervision from a motorized launch has the discretion to waive Certification Level requirements.

Level 1 Certification Checklist


  • Membership paid and waivers signed
  • How to reserve & check out boats in both iCrew and log book
  • How to access boathouse


  • Understands acceptable wind level (< 11 mph), thunder (> 30 mins since last), and temperature (air + water > 100 degrees)
  • Demonstrates or attests to swimming proficiency
  • Understands traffic pattern (counterclockwise)
  • Can get back into boat after capsizing

Equipment Usage

  • Takes a boat out properly
    • Work with a buddy until approved to lift boats solo
    • Put boat in slings – careful not to bump other objects or to set the boat on the fin (“skeg”)
    • remove foamies
    • check for damage, close hatches
    • adjusts foot stretchers (generally, as far back as possible without bumping)
    • carry oars, blade first, to the dock
    • bring boat down, bow ball facing out towards lake, being careful not to bump the boat on the dock. Place boat on windward side of dock if possible.
    • put dockside oar in first, oarlock and curve of blade facing to stern with shorter edge of hatchet down
    • keep edge (“gunwale”) of boat off dock while stepping to strip and putting in outside oar
    • secure oars in gap between dock sections while locking up boathouse
  • Enters boat properly
    • control blades with one hand
    • keep edge (“gunwale”) of boat off dock while stepping to strip and lowering self to seat
    • Adjust foot stretchers if needed
    • Shove off and, if necessary, pull in the inside oar to push
  • Docks boat properly
    • Adjusts to wind in terms of side of dock and angle of attack
    • Comes in slowly but not too slow, leans away at the right time
    • Doesn’t bump dock
    • Can dock either by rowing (backwards) or backing (forwards)
  • Brings boat up properly
    • Secures boat with oar in dock gaps
    • Performs all “taking boat out” tasks in reverse
  • Uses proper nomenclature for parts of boat (bow, stern, starboard, port, gunwale, foot stretcher, seat track)
  • Can remove and replace seat (“the crack points back”)

Boat Control

  • Grips blades properly, flat wrists, thumbs on palms
  • Launches and docks safely bow first and stern first, even with wind
  • Looks over shoulder comfortably to check for hazards
  • Can back the boat with ease
  • Can spin in place
  • Can hold a straight line for 500 meters
  • Maintains counter clockwise traffic pattern
  • Can sit at the catch with blades squared
  • Can row with square blades
  • Navigates under Gray’s Lake bridge