Who should not row?

People with medical conditions such as heart conditions and chronic back issues; people unable to climb a ladder (our normal means of boarding boats); people prone to sea or motion sickness; people who cannot follow instructions. If you are unsure whether you are healthy enough to participate, check with your physician.

What should I bring?

It can be HOT out on the water so Bring Water! Bring a water bottle, clothing and soft-soled shoes or sandals you don’t mind getting dirty or wet, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a good attitude.

What sort of paperwork is involved?

Each rower needs to sign our annual waiver, good for the calendar year. Participants under 18 need to have the waiver signed by a parent or guardian. Minor participants who are not members of VCB’s youth programming must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What should I do/know before I get in the boat?

At each rowing session, we will hold a safety orientation for all new rowers. You should select a life jacket from our rack that fits comfortably; learn how to connect your oar to the thole pins, or dowels, that we use instead of oarlocks; understand how to use the ladder (two hands at all times) and how to step into the boat (step on seats and floorboards only, not gunwale or planks); and appreciate the importance of following commands from your coxswain.

How long are the trips?

That depends on the tide, weather and wind conditions at the time of your launch, and the ability and desire of your fellow rowers. Weekday rows typically last an hour or so. Sunday rows often last all afternoon, from 2 to 4 hours depending on weather and currents. Rest assured that this will not be hours of continuous rowing — we take breaks regularly.

What are my responsibilities?

To help launch and recover the boat; to keep your PFD on and fastened at all times; to follow instructions; and to help clean the boat and store equipment at the end of the row.

Do you race these boats?

We send youth and adult crews to several open water regattas in New England each year. We host a free youth race each November that attracts crews from youth rowing programs throughout the northeast. 

How much does it cost?

We do not charge a fee, but we do encourage donations. You can make them online in the Donate page, or by sending a check to Village Community Boathouse, Pier 40, 353 West Street, New York, NY 10011. There is also a donation box inside the boathouse. Your contribution supports our free public rowing and boatbuilding programs.

How can I volunteer?

You can learn to become a certified coxswain (we offer a day-long introductory course twice  a season, and further training thereafter), and work with our many school groups; you can volunteer in the boathouse as a record-keeper, boat repair-specialist or boatbuilder; you can fund-raise or attend community meetings on our behalf; and you can help us plan and run special events and voyages.