Offshore Rowing

Information on Offshore Rowing

This document answers the basic questions about Offshore Rowing.

Who are Rowing Ireland ?

Rowing Ireland is the recognised governing body for rowing in Ireland and is affiliated to the Olympic Council of Ireland and FISA. It offers Olympic type rowing which is practiced on the rivers and lakes of Ireland. It also offers Offshore Rowing which is practiced by a growing number of clubs around the coast.

What is Offshore Rowing ?

Offshore rowing is the extreme version, the adventure side of rowing. It involves rowing along a sea coast and out into the sea and is one of the fastest growing communities of rowers. Offshore rowing boats are also used inland on some lakes and rivers where the water tends not to be flat.

Rowing on rough water means that offshore rowing is quite different from the flat-water Olympic style of rowing in a straight line. Offshore rowers  prefer rough water which adds a whole new dimension to the sport with many offshore rowers cherishing the exhilarating aspect of rowing in extreme conditions around a triangular or rectangular course.

Offshore rowing is easier to learn than flat-water rowing, due partly to the stability and robustness of offshore rowing equipment which differs from the Olympic-style boats. The standard boats are singles (or solo), doubles and coxed quadruple sculls. But just knowing how to handle an offshore rowing boat is not sufficient to become a good offshore rower. Crews must be aware of tides and currents, learn about the course’s topography and know what to do in the midst of maritime traffic and in case of bad weather.

Offshore Rowing is the bmx or mountain biking of Rowing.

Irish Offshore Championships

The host of this event is decided on at the ADM.

A club may come forward to offer to host the event in compliance with Rowing Ireland rules and safety.

A representative of the host club will be adopted to the board for the year.

World Championships

Each year World Rowing holds the World Offshore Rowing Championships (called the World Rowing Coastal Championships). At this event the best club crews from around the world compete against each other. As there is a restriction on the number of crews each country can send, it is necessary to have a qualifying event at which crews can be ranked. In Ireland this is the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships which are held in September each year.  For further details see:

What type of boats are used ?

The boats used in offshore rowing are different in design to those used in Olympic rowing. They are certified for use in the open seas up to 5 miles from shore. They are self-bailing and are wider and considerably more robust than their inshore equivalents. Each coxswain must wear a life jacket and there must be a life jacket on board for every competitor.  

What events are offered ?

The events offered are:

Quad (four rowers with a cox)  – CM4X+, CW4X+

Double (two rowers) – CM2X, CW2X

Solo (one rower) – CM1X, CW1X

At World Championship and Irish Championship level, only an open class is offered. It is however planned to have a series of races for underage crews during the year.

Where Can I find an Offshore Rowing Club ?

There are approximately 20 Offshore clubs in Ireland.  A number of the river clubs also offer Offshore rowing. If you need further information e-mail:


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