Programs & Schedule

New Bedford Rowing Center (NBRC) offers rowing programs for youth and adults with all levels of experience. See our schedule for the current season’s details.

New Bedford Rowing Center (NBRC) rows year-round with “on the water” activities Spring, Summer and Fall, and indoor training during the winter. For members with competitive interest, we offer the opportunity to participate in regattas throughout the year as well as indoor erg regattas during the winter.

Experienced and new rowers welcome!

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.

NBRC Learn-To-Row (LTR) Program 2022

The goal of the NBRC LTR program is to equip beginning rowers with the basic skills of boathandling and rowing technique, enabling them to row safely and with confidence in four- and eight-oared “shells.”

Individual goals may range from recreation, through fitness, to competition, or a combination of these that may change seasonally or evolve over time. Rowing can be a life-long activity.

Each LTR class consists of four weeks of instruction, divided into eight on-the-water sessions, of ninety minutes each, totaling twelve hours of instruction. New classes begin each month during June, July, and August.

Participants may choose the time slot that works best for them, although NBRC reserves the right to consolidate classes that do not meet minimum enrollment. Current choices consist of:

     Monday and Wednesday, 6:00 to 7:30 a.m. (with optional Saturdays 8:00-9:30)
  • Option A: Jun 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 (optional: Jun 4, 11, 18, 25)
     Saturday and Sunday, 7:00 to 8:30 a.m.
  • Option B: Jun 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26
  • Option C: July 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31
  • Option D: Aug 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
     Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.
  • Option E: Jun 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26
  • Option F: July 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31
  • Option G: Aug 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28

Instructors are experienced USRowing-certified coaches attuned to the needs of beginning “Masters” (i.e., adult) rowers.

Each class will consist of one coach and no more than twelve rowers. At the coaches’ discretion and based on participant learning needs and/or weather conditions, a portion of some sessions may include instruction on indoor rowing machines. Rain-dates and make-up sessions will be scheduled as needed.

The cost of the NBRC Learn-to-Row Program is $250. This program fee is in lieu of the annual NBRC participation fee for experienced rowers (renewable March 1 of each year) and allows LTR participants to row through the end of the on-the-water season, Nov. 1, at no additional cost.

All NBRC Masters, whether beginners or more experienced, must also register with USRowing, the national governing body of the sport. The annual cost is $15.

Upon completion of the LTR program, “beginners” become “novices” and may take part in self-organizing “open” rows during specified hours, including NBRC's unique Saturday/Sunday “gams.” (That's gams, not games.)

NBRC is committed to building community among all participants in its Masters Programs. Gams are opportunities for novice Masters, who have completed an LTR class, to combine with novices from other LTR classes, as well as experienced Masters, to crew the entire NBRC “fleet” during collective rows. These gams also provide a basis for casual and impromptu organizing and socializing ashore. (See Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick, Ch. 53, for the origin of the term, keeping in mind that Melville was no stranger to the Acushnet River!)

To sign up for an LTR class:

  1. Register with USRowing. The annual fee is $15 for a "basic" membership. (Club code: E8DXZ)
  2. Complete the NBRC registration form (below), including the NBRC Waiver and Release of Liability
  3. Pay the NBRC Learn-to-Row Program fee of $250.

All three steps must be completed to reserve a place in a particular class. Reservations are on a first-come basis.

To participate with NBRC as an experienced rower:

  1. Determine whether NBRC can meet your needs. Contact
  2. Register (or renew) with USRowing.
  3. Complete the NBRC registration form (below), including the NBRC Waiver and Release of Liability
  4. Pay the NBRC Annual Masters Program fee of $250.
  5. Register with the NBRC Boat Reservation and Line-Up System through iCrew. (Club code: nbrc2022)

FAQs about the NBRC Learn-to-Row Program

Additional specific information will be provided no later than the week before the start of each class.

Q: What should I wear? 

Wear slip-on sandals (not flip-flops) to carry equipment to the water, then remove before entering the shell. Wear snug shorts to avoid getting them caught under the wheels of the sliding seats. Depending on the weather, layer up as necessary, donning and doffing garments as the weather and personal comfort dictate.  Bring a couple of pairs of socks in case the shoes affixed to the shell are a size too large. Wear sunscreen (even if overcast.) A hat or cap with a visor and/or sunglasses will shield eyes from the direct or reflected glare of the sun.

Q: What should I bring? 

Bring a full water bottle to stay hydrated and a small hand towel/cloth to use if needed. 

Q: When does class begin? 

The key moment is "hands on." This command literally announces the start of practice as rowers line up alongside the shell to lift it off the rack and carry it to the water. In preparation, rowers must arrive early enough to warm up, stretch, carry oars to the launch area, and receive preliminary instructions from the coach. Although repeated practice can minimize the time necessary to prepare, beginning rowers will have a lot to absorb at the outset, so arriving fifteen minutes early is a reasonable compromise, with efficiency as the ever-present goal. 

Q: When does class end? 

The goal is always to end class at the appointed hour. Ideally, "seven a.m. to eight-thirty" means free to leave at 8:30 a.m., sharp. Coaches will do their best to take into account wind, waves, and current, as well as keep in mind, when planning practice, the experience and proficiency levels of their rowers. However, conditions on the water can change suddenly, causing occasional (and, hopefully, infrequent) delays. IF a rower has a hard stop at a particular time, THEN that rower should alert the coach in advance, so appropriate arrangements may be made. 

The end of class does NOT mean that participants must vacate the area. Those with time to relax or converse together should feel free to do so.

Q. What if I am going to be late?

Inform the coach, via the agreed upon method,  at the earliest opportunity, i.e., as soon as being late seems likely.

Q. What if I must be absent?

Make clear when signing up or inform the coach at the earliest opportunity, via the agreed upon method. Graduations, weddings, and other family and business commitments are part of adult life. So, unfortunately, are illnesses and accidents, our own or those of others. The earliest possible notice allows the coach to make alternative arrangements, such as recruiting a member from another LTR class to temporarily fill in.

Ideally, all participants are able to attend every session, for their own benefit as well as the coach's convenience in planning instruction and practice for the remaining members of the class. Realistically, a few participants are likely to be absent at least once. Practically, more than two absences, neither made up, is likely to impair a participant's progress and possibly that of others in the same class, since rowing is the ultimate team sport.


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Upon successful completion of an LTR class, you will be automatically signed up for an annual membership (until 04/01/2023), which provides you the opportunity to explore the sport during the summer months. Participation fees are $250 for ten offered lessons, of which you will have to complete eight to gain permission to row during adult open row sessions.

Price: $250.00
For renewing members or experienced rowers hoping to join NBRC valid until April 01, 2023 *Note: If you are signing up for an LTR program you do not need to sign up for the annual membership. It is already included in your LTR program costs.