What’s the state of your boathouse organization?
Often our rowing equipment will wear out, break, or just become usable.
With budgets tight, and equipment getting pushed to the limit, it happens more and more. The tough thing is you may not know when that happens to your equipment.
That’s why I recommend a twice-per-season inspection of the equipment.
All your equipment.
Inspecting your rowing equipment at the beginning AND the end of the season sounds like a lot
I will say, coaches are pretty good at checking over shell hulls and oars. However, its the little stuff that often gets ignored. Which is too bad because the little stuff can have a BIG impact.
A strap, a sling, a rack, or a seat wheel can easily wear out. When that happens that broken piece of rowing equipment can:
- stop a practice
- destroy a boat
- lose a race
- injure an athlete
All those have happened to me—all from equipment, little equipment, that should have been replaced or repaired.
You must do rowing-equipment inspections, or…
This is not, as Linda Muri knows, rocket science. However, inspection is a critical part of boathouse organization and is instrumental to keeping your rowing equipment in good, useable condition.
And that is our goal.
I was taught by an old salt of a boatman to use a two-pile system
When I first started as a boatman, Joe took me under his wing. He showed me how to sort through rowing equipment and use a two-pile system. That’s how I was taught and I’ve been using it since then to my great advantage.
Here’s how it works.
The two-pile system for boathouse organization
When inspecting equipment I set up a GOOD PILE and a BAD PILE on the floor.
The GOOD PILE is equipment that’s ready to go. I’ve inspected it, its in good or excellent shape. On the other hand, the BAD PILE is for things in need of repair or that needs to be replaced.
An example: say it is the end of the season and I need to inspect my boat straps. I put them in the back of my car and take them away from the boathouse (I’ll explain why in a moment).
At a calm place where I can focus I go through them one-by-one, sorting them as I go.
In the GOOD PILE go the straps that are ready to rock—the ones I trust. In the BAD PILE are those I don’t trust—which aren’t workable. (Click here for how I determine boat strap quality, and here for rowing slings quality.)
Then I do the most important step of all—I do not, repeat DO NOT take the BAD PILE back to the boathouse! Because boat straps are the Houdinis of rowing equipment. They WILL end up back in your GOOD PILE.
It happens all the time
Nothing really fancy to this system, and maybe you use one that works better for you.
However, if you don’t have a system and are just winging it you are setting yourself up for a challenge that will probably happen at the worst possible moment. And you certainly don’t need that.