What's quality, what's not in rowing equipment

All rowing equipment is not created the same. Unfortunately for us consumers, rowing equipment is not an area that any of the consumer magazines have turned their attention towards. That means when we are deciding what to buy you and I are pretty much on our own. Following are a few suggestions that might help you in your quest for a quality piece of equipment.

What's Old An excellent way to determine the quality of a piece of rowing equipment is to look at an older version. What you are looking for is how well it has held up to the years of use and abuse. A boat that has been rowed hard for five years and is still in good working condition is a boat that was made well. This is a sign that the builder makes quality products.

Look Around Another way to check on quality is to snoop around. According to Dickie Pereli, Boatman at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Look in areas that the builder would not expect you to look in, like the bow or stern compartment. There you can find signs of quality, or lack of it."

And while you are looking around here are a few things to check on:


  • Look at the seems where the material is joined together. They should be finished well (clean and sanded).
  • Check the welds on the rigger, they should be solid and not show any signs of cracking.
  • The ribs of the boat should be solid and form a solid joint with the gunwale.
  •  The paint should be first rate in application and quality.
  • All fasteners should be non-corrosive (e.g. stainless steel, plastic)


  • Seams again should be clean and sanded.
  • Attachment of blade to shaft should be solid and watertight.
  • Attachment of handle to shaft should be solid and watertight.
  • Look at the sculling grips, or the wood used in a sweep handle. They both should be of the best materials.

Warranty And one final place to check on quality—the warranty. What type of warranty does the builder offer? Often a longer warranty period is a sign that the builder has confidence in the equipment, and that it is a quality product.