Terminology – Equipment

There are two basic types of rowing equipment: boats and oars.



Oars move the boat through the water and balance it all at the same time!
The longest oars are used by sweep rowers. They are up to 13 feet long.
The spoon like end of the oar that touches the water is called the blade. When the blade is feathered, it is the action of turning the blade so that it is parallel to the surface of the water. When the blade is perpendicular to the surface of the water it is known as “squaring” of the blade.
Most oars usually have one of two shapes, the Spoon and the Hatchet. The “Hatchet blade”, named for its shape has a surface area 20% larger than spoon blades.



The boats that rowers use are called shells. In shells, each athlete uses either one oar each; called sweep rowing, or two oars: called sculling. Shells come in a variety of sizes, depending on how many athletes they hold. Sweep Shells can be known as a pair, Cox Four, Four and an Eight. Scullers row in boats called Singles, Doubles or Quads.

Boats are made from carbon fiber, fiberglass or 3/16 inch thick cedar or mahogany. Each boat, regardless of type or size, has oarlocks, riggers, sliding seats and rower’s shoes.