Types of Boats and Rowing Team Positions


Boats play an important role in rowing sports. You often hear them being simply called boats but boats used for rowing arecommonly called shells. Shells are made of reinforced plastic and lightweight carbon fiber. And because shells are of great importance to rowing, many crew often give them names.

There are 2 common types of shells - sculling boats and crew boats. These types are categorized further into subtypes which we will discuss in this article along with the rowing team positions. So if you want to know more, keep on reading!

Crew Boats

If you are into rowing, you will have a lot of options depending on how many numbers of rowers you will have:

1.  Coxless Pair
  • It has 2 rowers each with 1 oar
  • There is one oar on the boat’s left side and another one on its right side
  • One rower will steer through the boat’s rudder because there is no boat coxswain.
2.  Coxed Pair
  • It has 2 rowers each with 1 oar but includes a coxswain who directs the athletes and steers the boat using a rudder.
3.  Coxless Four
  • It has 4 rowers each with 1 oar
  • There will be 2 rowers on the boat’s left side and the other 2 on the right side.
  • It does not have a coxswain so one rower will use his/her feet to steer the boat.
4.  Coxed Four
  • It has 4 rowers each with 1 oar
  • It has a coxswain who steers the boat.
5.  Coxed Eight
  • It has 8 rowers each with 1 oar
  • 4 rowers will be on the boat’s left side and the other 4 on the right side
  • It comes with a coxswain

Sculling Boats

Aside from rowing boats, different types of boats for sculling also exist where athletes have two oars each (called sculls) instead of just one.

1.  Single Scull
  • It is sometimes called the single (1x)
  • It can only hold one rower who has 2 sculls for steering the boat. This rower will control the pressure on the boat’s blade to steer the boat.
2.  Double Scull
  • It is also called the double (2x)
  • It has 2 people who have 2 sculls each
  • The boat is steered in the same way as single sculls
3.  Coxless Quad & Coxed Quad
  • They are composed of 4 people
  • Coxless quads will require one rower to steer the boat using their feet while coxswains do the steering for coxed quads
  • Coxed quads are normally used for newbie rowers
4.  Octuple Scull
  • It is a very rare type of boat
  • Only beginners usually use it
  • It has 8 rowers with 2 sculls each
  • It comes with a coxswain who steers the boat

Rowing is a very tiring sport and having a docking station for your boat will give you easier access to the water. You can go to www.hiseadock.com if you are planning to build a floating dock station for your boats.

Rowing Team Positions

Each position in the boat will have its own function that is important to the whole boat’s success.

1.  The bow
  • The bow sits in the boat’s first seat and works to maintain balance in the boat
  • The bow must be sharp and have an excellent technique since they sit at the boat’s front
  • The blades of their oars make the biggest difference compared to the others
2.  Seat Two
  • They act as back-up strokes and occupy the boat’s second seat (called bow pair)
  • They are the team’s most accurate rowers at the start of each stroke
3.  Seat Three
  • The boat’s third seat is usually assigned for the team’s least experienced rowers because they have the least responsibility
  • They will not affect the boat’s rhythm much because they are not that close to the bow or stern
4.  Seat Four
  • Rowers in this seat must be the powerhouse of the boat’s middle part
  • They help the rowers behind them
5.  Seat Five
  • Similar to seat four, this seat is for robust members
6.  Seat Six
  • They keep the rhythm of the boat’s stern in check
  • They help in lengthening strokes for the boat to advance further
  • They are usually the tallest athletes of the team
7.  Seat Seven
  • They are the stroke’s primary support
  • They take the stroke’s rhythm and follow it correctly
  • They should be consistent rowers and work together with the stroke
  • If they were not able to follow the pace of the stroke, the whole pace of the boat will be messed up
8.  The Stroke
  • This is probably the seat with the most challenging tasks
  • They are the ones who do the hardest work in setting the boat’s rhythm and pace which is followed by the rest of the members 
  • They should have excellent techniques and must be extremely powerful rowers


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Rowing is a great sport and is perfect for working out. Hopefully, the information included above has helped you acquire a better understanding of the sport a lot of people love!