Riverside membership is open to all who comply with Club rules and are willing to provide service to the Club—but only members who demonstrate competence in rowing can take out club boats at Riverside.


Rowing Competence

Riverside has members with a range of goals, from competitive to recreational, and a range of skill levels, but all members must be competent rowers to take out boats, including confident boat handling, general knowledge about how (and whether) to row in various weather conditions, good judgment in making decisions about rowing (e.g., on windy days, the basin will have worse conditions; no launching without lights if they’re needed; row with a buddy in colder temperatures, etc.).

For specific information about what you will need to know to demonstrate rowing competence, please see our Captain’s Test criteria.

Not a Learn-to-Row Club

Competence in rowing is required to take out boats, as Riverside is not a learn-to-row club. However, we can share information about programs where you can learn to row (see below), and you would be able to take out boats once you’ve demonstrated rowing competence.

Club Service

A unique aspect of Riverside that defines our culture is that our club is entirely run and cared for by members who volunteer their time to do so—all members are required to serve a minimum of 10 hours of club service each year. Volunteer tasks are channeled through the club’s committees, which include a wide variety of opportunities, from serving on the club’s board to taking out the trash; cleaning the club; maintaining its grounds; planning club events, fundraisers, and regattas; repairing docks; filling gas cans for coaches’ launches; and much more.

Where Can I Learn to Row?

The Boston area has many learn-to-row programs, including the following adult learn-to-row programs:

Boston University

  • 6-week Beginning Rowing (sweep) class (learn-to-scull programs also offered)
  • BU boathouse on the Charles River

Community Rowing Inc (CRI)

  • 6-class Intro to Rowing (sweep)
  • or 6-week Sculling 1 program
  • CRI boathouse on the Charles River

Gentle Giant Rowing Club

  • 4-week Adult Learn to Row (sweep) program
  • Mystic River in Somerville


  • 7-week Sculling Class in single-person recreational shells
  • MIT boathouse on the Charles River

Still have questions?

If you inquiring about a specific program, please email the point of contact for that team. For all other inquiries: