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Learn to Row

2024 Learn to Row

Learn to Row is a two-week introductory class designed for those with limited or no on-water rowing experience.

This year's schedule:

  • Class #1: May 13-24; 6-8pm, Monday - Friday class full
  • Class #2: June 3-14; 6-8pm, Monday - Friday class full
  • Class #3: July 8-19; 6-8 pm, Monday - Friday class full
  • Class #4: July 29-Aug 9; 6-8pm, Monday - Friday


  • Each Learn to Row class consists of 10 2-hour sessions
  • Cost per class is $250 plus a processing fee. **Registrations are non-refundable. Registrations are transferable to another person.
  • 10-12  participants per class
  • Classes are filled in the order registrations are received. Email contact below to be added to a waiting list for a class that is full
  • Participants must be 18 years or older
  • You should be comfortable in the water. You should be able to tread water for 10 minutes and put a life jacket on while treading water
  • Techniques for getting back into a boat after flipping are taught and practiced during the class.
  • You will learn in team boats to start, working towards singles. The focus is on sculling (two oars), but some sweep (one oar) will be incorporated towards the end of the class.

Please direct any questions to Lookout Rowing Club at

Class Overview

Lookout Rowing Club offers Learn to Row classes for adults ages 18 and older.  Classes are structured to teach each participant to scull proficiently in a single shell. Learning to row is usually thought to be harder than it looks, and most anyone dedicated to learning the sport can get to the level where they can enjoy this sport and get as much exercise as they require.

We will start on land, teaching the fundamentals of the rowing stroke on the rowing machine (erg) and orienting to equipment. By day 3 of the class, we will move to on-the-water rowing.

Learn to Row classes are open to people age 18 and older. If you are under age 18, please check out Chattanooga Junior Rowing at .

If you already know how to scull, you may join LRC after preforming a flip test and demonstrating proficiency through an assessment. For membership information without taking the Learn to Row series, check out the Membership page.


Frequently Asked Questions

How hard will I physically be working? Will it be like a workout?

You will not row hard as you learn. We will focus on technique, so the hardest work will be mental for the first week. You may experience some soreness in your lower and upper back and your arms as your body gets used to the mechanics of rowing. As you get more advanced, you will spend longer times on the water rowing by yourself. Always come hydrated, we may be in the sun for two hours each lesson!


Is rowing hard to learn?

Rowing is not hard to learn, but it takes time to develop an efficient rowing stoke.


What should I wear?

You should wear athletic clothing. Make sure that your T-shirts and shorts are not baggy. Baggy shorts get caught in the slide of the seat rolling mechanism and your oars and fingers may get caught on loose T-shirts. NO skirts please!


What do people row in?

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 (“sculling”). LRC focuses on teaching sculling (two oars). You start out learning to row in bigger boats (quads with four people sculling, and doubles with two people sculling) and progress to sculling in singles. 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 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 four, and an eight, and LRC has seen that sweep rowing is popular for the team building and the social aspect of the activity.


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

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.


Will I ever flip over?

When we start rowing, you will not be in a single. The biggest risk for flipping occurs in this boat category. We will start you out in stable boats as you get used to the technique and we will only advance you to a single if we feel you are ready and stable enough. Early on in the class we will have a session where everyone learns to get back into a boat from water. Some students flip many times and some never flip. Bring a towel and a change of clothes with you, just in case! 


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

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, having strength in the body groups listed above and some conditioning from bicycling, running or fast walking is helpful.


When I am done with the class, can I come down to row whenever I want?

Completion of the class does not necessarily mean that you can row on your own. Upon completion of the class, your instructor will let you know if you are ready to go by yourself. Our motto is safety first! If we feel that you are not ready, it is to ensure your safety.


Do I have to become a member to continue rowing?

If you want to continue rowing from the Rowing Center, then yes, membership in the club is required. Your membership fees cover use of LRC boats, rowing machines, and locker room facilities. LRC will also offer opportunities to gather as a club in a social setting such as cookouts and "fun rows".


What else is required for Membership?

Our club has no paid staff other than coaching, so there are many opportunities to help the club function. Every member is expected to volunteer at the Head of the Hooch each fall. The proceeds from this event allow us to replace equipment and help pay the club’s overhead. There is a maintenance fee to be added to the dues of every member who did not work in the previous year. First year members are exempt, but it is important to volunteer during the year you join to avoid the additional fee your second year of membership.


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

The season starts in about April and typically ends in 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.


Lookout Rowing Club

Physical Address:


1001 Riverside Drive


Chattanooga, TN  37401

Mailing Address:  
PO Box 11411  
Chattanooga, TN 37401