Lookout Rowing Club - Chattanooga, TN

Learn To Row


Below are some often asked questions and answers. For more details please see appropriate sections of the website


(Q)         When can I learn to row?

(A)          Learn to Row classes typically start in May. The sculling classes last for two weeks. Sweep classes last for one week. LRC normally has several classes during the rowing season. There is also a Novice Rowing Program to enable new rowers the opportunity to gain experience in a supervised environment.

(Q)         Is rowing hard to learn?

(A)          Rowing is not hard to learn but can take time to develop an efficient rowing stoke.

(Q)         What do people row in?

(A)          People row in boats called “shells”. Shells come in various configurations. Some are for people using only one oar (“sweep rowing”) while others are configured for people to use two oars (called “sculling”). LRC focus’s on teaching people how to scull (two oars).   You learn how to scull in singles; however, many people enjoy rowing with others in doubles (two people sculling) or quads (four people sculling).   LRC has available to its membership singles, doubles and quads.   Members can also “sweep row”, or use one large oar. After learning how to scull, sweep rowing is a relatively easy to learn as an additional skill. Some people (particularly former college rowers) learn sculling after sweep. LRC has some sweep boats including pairs, a our, and an eight, and LRC has seen that sweep rowing is popular for the team building and the social aspect of the activity.

(Q)         Do I need to know how to swim? Can I wear a life preserver?

(A)          Yes, you need to know how to swim in the event the shell turns over. Rowers typically do not wear life preservers because they can restrict the rowing motion. The shells and oars, however, float and can be used for floating assistance.

(Q)         What kind of condition do I need to be in to row?

(A)          Rowing uses all the major muscle groups and is considered one of the top aerobic exercises (similar to swimming and cross country skiing). In order of effort the rowing motion uses legs, back, shoulders and arms. Although not essential, before learning to row, having some strength in the body groups listed above and some conditioning from bicycling, running or fast walking would be helpful.

(Q)         How much is the membership and what are the privileges?

(A)          In 2012 individual membership fees were $370/yr. Family memberships were $520/yr. These fees have not increased since then. If you are new to rowing, the Learn to Row fee, for the first year, is deducted from the annual membership fee.   The membership dues provide beginner coaching, use of equipment, and shower facilities. For an additional small expense lockers can be rented. Public parking is available.

(Q)         What is the size of the membership? What are the demographics?

(A)          IEach year, there are approximately 80 - 100 members split approximately equally between male and female.  Many of our new members are parents of high school rowers. Ages range from 18 to 80’s.  Yes, rowing is a lifetime sport!

(Q)         Are there some responsibilities associated with membership?

(A)          Lookout Rowing Club is a private non-profit organization. Dues cover operating expense, however, equipment and facility capital expense is generally acquired through event revenue. Members are required to assist with our three rowing events/year, the Gorge Row, the Chattanooga Head Race and the Head of the Hooch, as well as help with some general club activities.

(Q)        Are there hazards when rowing?

(A)          Like all sports, rowing has risks but they can all be managed. The bigger risks are associated with weather, river flow, and boat traffic. These are discussed in detail when you learn to row.

(Q)        How long is the rowing season? What do members do when the season ends?

(A)          The season starts in about April and goes typically to mid-November.   After the season ends some members continue to row indoors using the rowing machines at the facility to stay in general condition or to train for indoor rowing events.   Some start other activities like running or mountain biking. Others take a break! Talk to members to find out what is going on.

(Q)         During the season are there times when members get together and row as a group?

(A)          Generally, members form small groups which get together on an agreeable schedule.   These groups are always interested in new participants.  Some groups decide to compete together in the many rowing events offered in the southeast, especially during the Head Race season which starts in the fall.