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Learn to Row for Adults

Do you want to learn how to row? There are two types of rowing: sculling and sweep rowing. You are encouraged to read up on the differences, but here they are defined simply: In sculling, each athlete holds two oars (one in each hand), and can scull alone in a single shell (boat) or with a partner in a double shell or with 3 others in a quad (shell). In sweep rowing, each rower holds only one oar and rows as part of a crew (which generally includes a coxswain and 4 or 8 rowers). As an adult novice rower at The Milwaukee Rowing Club, you can learn how to scull. (Sorry, no adult Learn To Row -- sweep, that is -- classes to be held.)


Sculling offers a way for you to row at a time that is convenient for your schedule. The Club has several single shells, double shells, and two quads for members' use. And to get you started, we have wide-bottom trainer singles which are more stable than the narrow shells used for racing, but note that these trainer singles generally require two people to carry to the water. Some people take a year or more to graduate out of the trainer singles; it all depends on how determined you are and how much you practice on the water.

Sculling (and rowing) is a very technical sport, not really a "leisure" activity. Please read our entire website to learn more before you consider joining. Check out "single sculling" videos on the Internet (YouTube) and feel free to come on down to our boathouse to watch club members rowing or sculling. It is a mentally challenging sport even for experienced rowers who have been rowing for many years. There is always some technical aspect that can be worked on by doing drills in the boat, focusing on bladework, body position, etc.

Introduction to sculling instruction is provided (at no cost) to all new fully-paid members by volunteer Club members who are experienced scullers, beginning when the water is warmer, the winds are minimal and the current is slow (generally mid May at the earliest). (You must join the club to receive these lessons.) You will receive two short lessons with an instructor, by which time you should have gained the skills necessary to push off from the dock in a trainer single, row out a ways, turn around, and safely land back at the dock without assistance. After successfully meeting those requirements and displaying safety awareness and boat handling skills, you are welcome to use Club singles to row on your own, abiding by the Club's Safety Rules. Or, if you would like some additional learning time on the water in a double with a volunteer club sculler, you may wish to take advantage of up to two sessions with a "double-setter", a person who will go out with you in a double, to give you more time and experience on the water. This is also a great way to meet other scullers and perhaps find a sculling buddy or partner.

To schedule your two sculling lessons (60 - 90 minutes per lesson), held at the boathouse generally no sooner than mid May when the conditions are appropriate for a novice to confidently learn, please send an email to LearnToScull@milwaukeerowingclub.org with the following information: Any prior rowing/sculling experience you may have, your athletic background, and your general availability for scheduling your lessons (one on one with a volunteer experienced master sculler). If you have already paid your membership dues (via the membership page), please also mention that. (Please note that club membership dues are NON-REFUNDABLE and must be paid in full before your first lesson.) Thank you!


Adult classes for sweep rowing will not be held. To still experience rowing in Milwaukee, we invite you to consider joining The Milwaukee Rowing Club and learning how to scull! Sessions for learning to scull are available and can be scheduled at your convenience. After a few initial outings, new scullers can enjoy the sport alone or with other scullers (new or experienced).


  • Swim at least 200 meters (self-certify on waiver)
  • Tread water for at least 10 minutes (self-certify on waiver)
  • Lift a minimum of 40 pounds over head (self-certify on waiver)
  • Sign the MRC waiver
  • View U.S. Rowing Safety DVD
  • Take an online safety quiz based on MRC rules and U.S. Rowing Safety DVD



If you want more information, please contact:

LearnToScull@milwaukeerowingclub.org - For any questions regarding adult sculling at Milwaukee Rowing Club.