The rowing boats you might have seen on rivers and lakes throughout the country are the same type of rowing boats that have featured in every Olympic Games since 1900
The types of rowing boat are broadly split into two categories: ‘sweep’ rowing, where each rower has one oar, and ‘sculling’ where each rower has two oars, one in each hand, as in the picture above.
The boats (or ‘shells’) generally have one, two, four or eight seats, and are classified according to the number of rowers and whether they are ‘sweeping’ or ‘sculling’.
Types of ‘Sweep’ Boats
|Two rowers, with one oar each: one on the rower’s left-hand side, or ‘bow’ side and one on the right-hand side, or ‘stroke’ side. One of the rowers steers the boat through a rudder connected by cables to one of their shoes.
|Two rowers, with one oar each and a coxswain (or ‘cox’) to direct the crew and steer the boat using a rudder attached to cables.
|Four rowers, with one oar each, two on stroke side and two on bow side, with one of the rowers steering with their foot.
|Two rowers, with one oar each, and a cox to steer the boat
|Eight rowers, with one oar each, four on each side and a cox to steer the boat.
Types of ‘Sculling’ Boats
|One rower, with two oars (or blades). The rower steers the boat themselves by changing the pressure they put on either blade in the water.
|Two rowers, with two oars each. The also steer the boat by varying the pressure on the oars in the water.
|Four rowers, with four oars each, with one of the rowers steering with their foot.
|Four rowers, with two oars each, and a cox to steer the boat. This boat type is usually only used by beginners or juniors.
|Eight rowers, with two oars each, and a cox to steer the boat. This boat type is very rare, and is only used by beginners in our Club.
Courtesy of Rowing Ireland.