SJRC Frequently Asked Questions

I have never rowed before. What program is right for me?

The Learn to Row programs are designed for absolute beginners. No prior experience is needed.

I have never rowed before, but have done canoe/kayak before. Should I take Learn to Row?

Yes, paddling is very different from rowing as the sequencing of motion are completely different and technique required to balance the boat is different. Having prior experience in a water vessel is a plus, but we recommend those without rowing experience to join Learn to Row.

I have rowed many years ago. Should I take Learn to Row?

If it has been many years since you were last in a rowing boat, we encourage you to reach out to us and a coach will evaluate your skill level to recommend program placement.

How do the rowing sessions work?

Rowers are encouraged to arrive 10-15 minutes early to their practice time to warm up. Once everyone has gathered at the boathouse, coaches will announce boat combinations based on the number of rowers, weather conditions, different skill levels and boat availability. Crews will carry their boats and oars down to the dock and begin launching. On-water time will vary but may last from 45-90 minutes, during which time there will be direction from coaches about the workout of the day and/or drills, as well as individual crew coaching. At the end, crews will dock their boats and put the equipment away. Rowers are encouraged to cool down and stretch after their workout.

Do I need to know how to swim?

Participants under 17 who have not rowed with SJRC before must complete a swim test in order to participate. Swim test form is available here.

Participants over the age of 16 do not need to complete a swim test, but must be comfortable around the water and be able to swim should the boat flip and they find themselves in the water. A safety boat with Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) and emergency supplies is within 500 meters of the boats at all times.

Is weather a factor?

Since rowing is an outdoor sport, we will be going out rain or shine. The only situations in which on-water sessions are cancelled are when there is lightning or dangerously high winds. Unless you are contacted, please come to the club anyways as the weather can often clear up in a matter of minutes. In the case of poor weather conditions preventing on-water rowing, sessions will be held at our indoor training facility at Max Fitness (34 New Cove Road) which is a 2 minute drive, or 10 minute walk from the boathouse.

What do I bring?

The best clothing for rowing is something non-binding that is snug and won’t get snagged on the equipment, i.e. no jeans or bulky sweatshirts. Because the weather can change quickly, we recommend dressing in layers. Please keep in mind that the air temperature on the water can be 5-10 degrees colder than the forecasted temperature. You should wear socks, as you will not be wearing your shoes in the boat. You should also bring a water bottle, sunglasses, and make sure your nails are trimmed (your hands are close together and may scratch each other). It is also recommended to bring a towel and change of clothes should you happen to flip.

I want to row in the Royal St. John’s Regatta. Where do I join?

Although located on the same lake, the Royal St. John’s Regatta (RSJRC) is a separate organization from the St. John’s Rowing Club (SJRC), and we host different styles of rowing. The RSJRC is fixed seat rowing, where every boat has 6 people and a coxswain. Fixed-seat boats are more stable and the seats do not move forward or backwards. Here at the SJRC, we do slide-seat rowing, which can have combinations of 1, 2, 4 or 8 people in a boat and the seats are on tracks with wheels.

If you would like to Read More about the Royal St. John’s Regatta, visit their website:

Where do I find my invoices once I’ve paid my rowing fees?

Invoices can be found on your Rowing Canada account. Log in to RCA and go to My Account > Program Membership.