What is Coastal Rowing?

Coastal rowing is the “adventure side of rowing”. Utilized for ocean-rowing or inland rowing on rough-water lakes and rivers, coastal rowing adds a new dimension to traditional flatwater rowing. The standard boats are singles, doubles and coxed quadruple sculls and the races are traditionally 4-8 kilometers in length. The boats themselves are quite different than flatwater boats with added stability and toughness that also makes them ideal as “learn-to-row” boats. In addition to their own equipment and technique, coastal rowers must also be aware of tides, currents and be able to maneuver through rough water and near other marine traffic.

This is our sport. Coastal rowing.

Thrills, spills, waves, crashes. Coastal rowing. This is our sport

Posted by World Rowing Coastal on Monday, June 4, 2018


We asked Janice Mason, a Rowing BC Board Member and Olympian who completed the 750-mile Race to Alaska in 2016 why she suggests coastal rowing to others.

“Coastal rowing is a fantastic way to enjoy rowing in our vast, open, beautiful environment. One can experience such a variety of conditions that you would never get out into in a racing shell. The boats are much more stable thus more relaxing for new rowers (less tippy) and even fun for us old experienced rowers whose joints aren’t quite as mobile as when young.”


Whether you are looking for an opportunity to race among the world’s best coastal rowers, or are a weekend warrior looking for another opportunity for adventure on the water, now is the perfect time to get involved in coastal rowing.

In the lead up to the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships, a variety of opportunities will be available to try coastal rowing for the first time, or fit in some training in the coastal shells before signing up to race.

Try Coastal Rowing

OARCA Coastal Rowing has set up Come and Try Events in Sidney, BC on Tuesday and Thursday evenings all Summer. This is a chance to try out the coastal equipment, and test the actual race course before race day. To get involved in these sessions, interested participants can contact

Rowing BC is hosting a one-day Coastal Rowing Masters Camp on Sunday, August 25 in Sidney, BC. This camp will give participants a chance to experience the real World Rowing Coastal Championships race course for themselves and participate in a mock-race. This camp is open to those signed up to race at the World Rowing Coastal Championships, but also for those who have been enjoying coastal rowing and want to meet more coastal rowers in a fun, but competitive environment. Find out more and sign up here

Salish Sea Coastal Rowing Club is BC’s main dedicated coastal rowing organization. This Summer, flatwater rowers are invited to sign up as members of Salish Sea Coastal Rowing to add some experiences in the coastal boats into their regular training program. Other than your own fatigue, there is very little restriction on how far you can travel in the coastal boats, so this is a great way to add additional kms into weekly training even if your goal is flatwater racing instead of the World Rowing Coastal Championships.

For those interested in preparing to race at the World Rowing Coastal Championships, some Salish Sea Coastal Rowers are planning to attend, and are available to train with in specific preparation for this event. Rowing at sunset by Jericho is a view that can’t be beat – those looking for a new recreational rowing opportunity will also find their fit here.

Salish Sea Coastal Rowing has planned group sessions on Saturday evenings, but also allows members who have completed an orientation session to row on their own at other times during the week.  Find out more and get involved here.

A series of Come and Try Coastal Rowing Events are being planned for Summer 2018 across BC. Rowing BC is currently looking for rowing organizations/clubs that would be interested in partnering to bring coastal rowing to their community. This is an ideal opportunity for organizations near ocean access, or who row on another body of water prone to waves and wind interested in trying a different type of equipment and rowing style. This is an opportunity to showcase coastal rowing as an exciting new way to experience rowing and to bring opportunities to rowers and non-rowers alike to get involved in the sport.

For current flatwater rowers, Come-and-Try sessions will offer an opportunity to get a feel for coastal boats and rowing in rough-water, utilizing the large size of the coastal equipment to go for a longer rowing experience. Trying the coastal shells will give current rowers an opportunity to add some adventure and excitement to the sport they love and to see all the places coastal rowing can take them – whether its an afternoon adventure, a weekend trip or to the World Rowing Coastal Championships in October. These sessions will also serve as an opportunity to bring the rowing community together through a post-row social event, such as a BBQ.

For non-rowers, these sessions will give participants an opportunity to learn basic rowing technique in more beginner-friendly equipment. These drop-in style sessions will hopefully inspire participants to get involved in their local rowing club.

Stay tuned for more info on Come and Try sessions coming to your community!

If you would be interested in hosting a Come and Try event in your community, please contact Rowing BC Summer Rowing Experiences Coordinator, Natasha Rygnestad-Stahl for more information. 

Boat purchasing opportunities can be found on the World Rowing Coastal Championships website.

2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships

The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has awarded the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships to Sidney, BC. The regatta will take place October 11-13, 2018.

A new rowing society – OARCA Coastal Rowing – has been formed in BC for the purpose of hosting this event. The Organizing Committee is heavily supported by individuals from Vancouver Island, but also draws interest and expertise from across the country. Organizing Committee members include past Olympians and other long-time rowing enthusiasts from BC, AB, MB, QB, and PEI.

With the sport especially popular in Europe, this is the first time the World Rowing Coastal Championships has ever been hosted in North America! This presents an amazing opportunity to grow the sport in BC, Canada and the United States.

Find out more about the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships here.

Racing at the World Rowing Coastal Championships

All BC rowers are encouraged to consider racing at the World Rowing Coastal Championships. As the Host Nation, Canada does not have a restriction on the number of entries we can put in. Boats will be made available by Euro Diffusion for all athletes racing. There is no entry fee to race, but boat rental fees will apply.  Find out more about signing up to race here