TO ALL NBRC PARTICIPANTS, VOLUNTEERS, SUPPORTERS, AND WELL-WISHERS
- Thank you for holding fast to the vision of a diverse, inclusive, and growing NBRC, despite the challenges of the last few years.
- NBRC is resuming full operation, ready to follow whatever official guidance may recommend or require regarding Covid-19 and its variants.
- NBRC is planning a return to its home waters, now that the EPA has concluded remediation of the Upper Acushnet River. Although the exact timing of the move is beyond NBRC’s control, the goal is this spring. Prior to moving, NBRC will continue to operate out of its interim location on Pope’s Island.
NBRC HAS BEEN DEVELOPING THE CAPACITY TO SUPPORT ROBUST EXPANSION
- Instruction and Coaching – Through USRowing, NBRC coaches have participated in professional development and certification tailored to the needs of youth (age 12-14), juniors (age 15-19), and Masters (adults 27+), with a strong emphasis on those new to rowing. Currently, NBRC is seeking a grant to expand its fleet of durable novice singles for use with middle school students and up.
- Additional Safety-Coaching Launches – Thanks to a generous $10,000 donation from Bay Coast Bank, NBRC has been able to purchase and repatriate three used 9-, 11-, and 13-ft Boston Whalers for use as safety-coaching launches. (These craft, well-adapted to working with novice rowers in a saltwater environment, were originally designed by C. Raymond Hunt of New Bedford.) Sophomores enrolled in the Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech Marine Technology Program have demonstrated a high level of skill in rejuvenating and re-purposing these boats for NBRC’s intended use. George Kirby Jr. Paint Company of New Bedford, now celebrating its 176th year, supplied topside and bottom paint, while United Way of Greater New Bedford underscored the importance of safety by donating $2,500 toward a full set of USRowing-recommended safety and emergency gear for each launch.
Increased Affordability – During the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s, when groups of amateur rowers, inspired by working watermen, first began to appear in Europe and the Americas, New Bedford already had 5,000-plus rowers chasing after whales throughout the open oceans of the world. From a historical perspective, New Bedford should own rowing. With that goal in mind and with the practical object of removing barriers to participation, NBRC directors have adopted a financial model aimed at making participation free of charge for youth and juniors, as well as affordable for all adults, waiving the annual adult program fee of $250, as needed.
Expanding Opportunity – Pursuing the mission of “Pulling Together: Re-uniting River and Residents,” NBRC directors have begun to develop additional means of accessing New Bedford’s historic waterways. World-wide, two of the most rapidly growing watersports are Coastal Rowing – promoted by USRowing and involving beach sprints, endurance events, and recreational touring – and Dragon Boat racing – embraced by a growing number of rowing centers throughout the world, and likely to appear as part of the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028. NBRC has begun consulting with experts on Coastal Rowing to determine how the activity could be undertaken here, while NBRC has purchased and is re-conditioning two used 22-person Dragon Boats.