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In competitive rowing events, abbreviations are used for different boat classes. It’s important to know how to read the published schedules at the race so you can understand when you or your rower will be racing.  Lots of times you’ll see what appears to be a random collection of numbers and letters that seem hard to understand, but we promise it’s easy once you have the key!

The first thing note is learning from your coach which boat’s you’ll be racing in. They will tell you where to be and when, but if you get confused it’s good to know how to read the chart.

When you get a schedule it will have a lot of codes like these:

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First look for is “LBRA” in the list.  You know if you’re racing on the men’s or women’s teams so narrow down your options there. Middle school races are co-ed so look for “MS”. Next, narrow down the list by boat type (two, four, eight, etc.). These three steps should get you close enough to understanding your race time!

When in doubt, ask a teammate, your coxwain or a parent–we’re all in this to help!

Here are some sample schedule terms to help you get acclimated:

  • M8+ = Men’s eight
  • W4- = Women’s coxless four (or “straight four”)
  • LM2- = Lightweight men’s coxless pair
  • BM1x = Men’s single sculls under age 23
  • JW4x = Junior women’s quad
  • Masters WC2x = Masters women’s double sculls with average crew age between 43-49
  • Mixed Masters 8+ = Eight with 4 women and 4 men as rowers and a coxswain of either gender


  • L, LWT or Lt: Lightweight rowing
  • If not present the crew is open weight
  • J: Junior (Under 19 years of age)
  • B: Senior B (Under 23 years of age)
  • There are no age restrictions for coxswains and their age is not factored into the average age of the crew.
  • M: Men’s
  • W: Women’s
  • Mixed: Equal numbers of either gender (excluding coxswain)
Crew Size
  • 1, 2, 4, 8: The number of rowers in the crew. It is common to use Roman numerals, especially when referring to a VIII.
  • x: Sculling boat
  • If not present then the boat is sweep-oar
  • +: Coxed (with coxswain)
  • -: Coxless (without coxswain)
  • If not present then the boat is coxless, except for an eight.