Adjusting Equipment

Before you push off and start rowing, it is important that you make necessary adjustments to the foot board and, in some cases, the oar collar.

See Rules and Regulations for the rules regarding equipment modifications.

Sitting position

Sit tall and comfortably upright with your head up, shoulders down and chest out. Your ‘bum bones’ should be on the back edge of the seat when your legs are straight and your feet are flat on the foot board.


Seats are fixed in the shells and cannot be moved or adjusted in any way. Because rowers typically slide on the fixed seat it is recommended that you make the seat as slippery as possible so that you do not stick to the seat. Be sure to polish the seat with an approved wax prior to pushing off.

Fiberglass safe waxes (ie; water based) are allowed to be used on the seats. Permitted waxes will be posted at the boathouse. 

Foot boards

The metal foot boards that are in the boat can be adjusted for each individual rower depending on his or her leg length. A foot board is positioned correctly when the feet are on the foot board, the legs are straight, and the ‘bum bones’ are on the back edge of the seat.

NOTE: each rower has a ‘sweet spot’ for the foot board. If they move it closer to their seat to get a more powerful leg drive, they will fall off the back of the seat; if they move too far away from the seat they will fall off the front of the seat. It is important to find your ‘sweet spot.’

Adjusting your foot board

Follow these steps to make adjustments to the position of the foot board:

  1. Remove the bolt from the footplate
  2. Sit on the seat and move the foot board so that your ‘bum bones’ are on the back edge of the seat, your legs are straight, and your feet are flat on the board
  3. Replace and tighten the bolt

When you find the position of the foot board that is right for you, take a measurement from the front of the seat to the foot board and use the measurement for future adjustments. Counting holes in the adjustment plate may result in an inaccurate footboard position.

Oar length (inboard length)

Although all oars are of the same length, you can move the collar on the oar to adjust the inboard portion of the oar so that the butt of the oar handle is in line with your side. The recommended length of the inboard portion of the oar, from the pin side of collar to the end of the handle, is 37 1/2 inches to 38 inches. As the collars do slip from time to time, rowers are advised to take a measurement and make necessary adjustments prior to pushing off. You will need a screw driver and a measuring tape.


Oarlock height (using adjustable height washers)

Each oarlock is equipped with two adjustable height washers – a plastic, floatable, horseshoe shaped washer.

If you sit in the finish position with the blade buried, the oar handle should be at sternum height. If the handle is too low, which is often the case for heavier rowers, you can raise the oarlock by placing both of the adjustable height washers under. If the handle is too high, which is often the case for lighter rowers, you can lower the oarlock by removing the bottom washer and placing both washers on top.

Use your thumbs to push the washer off, being careful that it doesn’t get away from you. Then, simply click it in place either above or below the oarlock.

Oarlock positions