Jeremiah Jerry Owen, Coastal Men's Single Sculls, Great Britain, Sunday Racing, 2019 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals, Shenzhen, China

Coastal Rowing

What is Coastal Rowing?

Olympic rower Lassi Karonen (SWE) described coastal rowing: “The similarity (with flat-water rowing) is the movement of the stroke, everything else is different.”

Coastal rowing uses wider hulls with a levelled off stern to allow water to flow out of the boat. It usually takes place on open water, and does not shy away from waves and wind (unlike it’s flat-water counterpart). It is the extreme version of rowing, and perfect for adventure seekers who enjoy the thrill of the unknown rowing conditions and beautiful coastal scenery. It is one of the fastest growing communities of rowers, and is particularly accessible to rowers based in locations where flat water is not nearby. Coastal rowing is easier to learn than flat-water rowing, due partly to the stability and robustness of the boats which differs from the Olympic-style boats. To become a good coastal rower, crews must be aware of tides and currents, learn about the course’s topography and know what to do in the midst of maritime traffic and in case of bad weather.

Coastal rowing can be found in all corners of the world, including the Maldives, many parts of Africa, the coasts of North and South America, and more traditionally in Europe. Coastal rowing boats are also used inland on some lakes and rivers where the water tends not to be flat.

In World Rowing competition, two formats of coastal rowing competition take place:

At the World Rowing Coastal Championships, the endurance format is raced. This format sees crews racing in 4-to-6 kilometre races around multiple turning points. It is a challenge of both endurance, skill, navigation, and adaptability to the changing conditions of a longer distance.

At the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals, the beach spring format is raced. Beach Sprint is a head-to-head elimination style of racing, with a short sprint along the beach, a 250m row, and a 180-degree turn before rowing back to the beach and sprinting to the finish line. Competitions are structured such that athletes who progress further are required to race multiple times within a short time window. This discipline of rowing tests your power and strength, as well as coastal navigation skills and performance under fatigue.

There are currently seven boat classes for men and women: the solo, the double sculls, the coxed quadruple sculls and the mixed double sculls.

Learn to Row – Coastal Rowing 

2020 World Rowing Progression System – Beach Sprints Regulations

Boat Classes

Scull Boats

Single Scull


Double Scull

Double Sculls

Coxed Quadruple Scull

Quadruple Sculls