The Recreational Rowers are a social group of people of all ages and abilities from absolute beginners to those who have been rowing 60 years or more.  They include shift workers, those who have just dropped their children off at school, college students outside of term time, and mainly retired people. On Tuesdays, they focus on bringing on those who are new to the sport and skill development.




Our reduced membership fee entitles us to row between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. In practice, the best attended sessions are the squad sessions which run Tuesday and Thursday mornings and are open to all club members, not just recreational rowers.

We meet at 8.30 am to decide which boats to take out and how to best meet individual needs.  The boats we use range from beginners' extra stable "Learn to Row" boats through to racing boats for the more experienced. On Tuesdays, we focus on coaching beginners and skill development, while Thursdays are designed to let more of our rowers boat up with people of similar experience to themselves. 

People joining the Weekday “Learn to row” sessions and those who have just completed the weekend “Learn to Row” courses join us on Tuesdays.

Click here to visit the Want to Row? - Weekday Daytime courses sections if you need more details about learning to row during the week.




If you can row and are a club member, simply turn up for one of the squad sessions which currently run Tuesday and Thursday mornings, meeting in the club room at 08:30. 


If you are new to rowing, or have just completed a Learn to Row course, it is best to get in touch by email and we will agree a time for you to come down. This is usually a Tuesday morning at 8.30am but we may run a separate learn to row session if we have a lot of beginners starting at the same time. 




Team working is encouraged. Although there are a number of coaches in the group, we all help each other with the aim of becoming self-sufficient. This may include learning to cox or drive a launch as well as helping newcomers once you have some experience. We also help each other to launch and clean boats, tidy the boathouse and adopt a buddy system on the river. Reviewing our rowing progress may be done after the outing. 

River safety is important to achieving individual rowing goals and enjoyment. As a group, we encourage people to wear high visibility tee shirts and tops. We try to arrange a capsize a session each year for those that have not completed one previously or would like a refresher and also encourage people to become familiar with important topics like risk assessment, hypothermia and cold-water shock.



The non-tidal water of the River Tees offers scenic, peaceful surroundings with lots of wildlife including otter, deer and seals and a wide variety of birds. As part of a friendly group, the rowing experience can be entertaining and sociable and many of the group regularly row around 12km during a typical outing. Afterwards, those that want to meet for coffee, tea and a little something to eat (generally fruit, biscuits or cakes) in the club room. Plans are often hatched for an additional row during the week, or to go for a walk, or out for a lunch. 

Individual squad members have a wide range of personal goals from simply wanting to mess about on the river to the more experienced who may wish to take part in racing locally and against other clubs. The recreational group can participate in the club’s Mini-head race, which takes place most months on a Sunday. A handicap system helps keep the competition fair. Some may choose to participate in the Northern League Explore Rowing races which are specifically for recreational rowers like us and includes visiting other north east clubs. Indoor rowing is an option. While not universally liked, one recreational rower has competed successfully at world indoor rowing championships (for his age group). 

Despite the cake, most find that rowing regularly is a fun way to keep fit and sometimes lose weight. It’s said that half an hour’s rowing is more effective than half an hour of cycling, running or swimming, yet is quite easy on the knees. We mainly use a sculling boat (two oars rather than one for each person) as this is kinder on joints and muscles

We also run a number of special events. Each year, we try to arrange at least one longer supported row to Yarm (and back) followed by a BBQ and we also have a Christmas party each year. We invite other club members to join us if they want, as well as visitors from other clubs. We try to arrange exchange visits with other rowing clubs like Durham.



Some of the group often help with wider club events be these the regattas we run each year, or coaching school children via Project Oarsome, a scheme which was initiated by British Rowing to bring the sport into state schools. Two of the group have taken on the job of maintaining the club’s launches and some have been on the club Committee. One person who learnt to row with the group went on to become the club captain. There really is no limit to where your rowing career may take you once you have taken the first few strokes.