Anatomy of Rowing

Rowing, much like golf, seems a lot easier from a distance. However, when you take a closer look, you can begin to see the slight adjustments and the body positions that go into having the perfect stroke. At Lake Brantley Rowing Association, we break down the process of rowing so you get a complete understanding of the elements that go into having the perfect technique.

What are the Types of Olympics Boats?

There are six Olympic types of boats, of which three are for sweep-oared rowing in which the rower uses one oar with both hands and three are for sculling in which two oars are used, one in each hand. The sculling boats are single scull, double scull, and quadruple scull; the sweep oared events are straight pair, straight-four, and eight. In the eight, there is a coxswain who sits in the stern or lies in the bow of the boat.

Boat Specifications

The boats for competition were traditionally made from wood but now are mostly fabricated from carbon fiber and plastic (i.e., Kevlar).  Rowing shells are .280 meters to .590 meters wide and 8.280 meters to 17.600 meters long. A small fin is fitted at the bottom for stability. A rudder is attached to the fin or the stern (except for sculling boats).

A white ball is attached to the bow (called a bow ball for safety measure, photo finish). A washboard prevents waves from splashing aboard. Seats are fitted with wheels that slide on runners or tracks. Here are the specifics on each of the six types of boats:


Length - 8.280 m

Width - 0.280 m

Depth - 0.170 m

Weight - 14.5 kg


Length - 10.000 m

Width - 0.383 m

Depth - 0.195 m

Weight - 28 kg


Length - 10.000 m

Width - 0.383 m

Depth - 0.195 m

Weight - 28 kg


Length - 12.900 m

Width - 0.490 m

Depth - 0.250 m

Weight - 59 kg


Length - 12.900 m

Width - 0.484 m

Depth - 0.225 m

Weight - 61 kg


Length - 17.600 m

Width - 0.590 m

Depth - 0.285 m

Weight - 110 kg


Oars are hollow to reduce weight, attached to the boat by adjustable outriggers. The size and shape of the oars are unrestricted, the average length of a sweep oar being 3.81 meters and of a scull being 2.98 meters.

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