Learn to Row

If you are interested in taking up rowing but have no previous experience, there are two main routes available to you: the Inter-Company Row and Novice Nights. 

Novice Nights

New novice rowers, trying rowing for the first time are entitled to 6 free sessions. If you wish to  continue rowing after this point you’ll need to become a member of Aberdeen Boat Club. As an extra incentive, all new members are offered first year membership at a discounted rate (see membership fees). For more information on taking part in our summer novice events, go visit the Novice nights area. (Note: the Novice nights area is only available during novice rowing season, typically May through August.)

Our Novice Regatta is held at Aberdeen Boat Club in September for all crews that have taken part. It's a great chance to take part in some fun racing to show off the new skills you have learnt!


Inter-Company Row

Every year teams of novice rowers compete on the River Dee in one of the highlight events of the local rowing calendar, the Inter-Company Regatta. This event is specifically aimed at people who have never rowed before and is open to teams of four men, four women or mixed crews of four. Training for the event takes place over 6 sessions, usually beginning in May, and every session is coached by an experienced member of the club who will instruct you on the correct rowing technique and safety on the water. Many people who take part in the Inter-Company Row enjoy it so much they want to continue to row afterwards.

Competitors receive full rowing membership at the club for an additional 3 months after the event as well as social membership for a year. For more information on taking part in this seasonal sponsored novice event, go visit the inter-company row area. (Note: the intercompany area is only available during novice rowing season, typically May through August.)


Aberdeen Boat Club – A Short History

Aberdeen Boat Club existed in one form or another prior to 1865, although these records are indistinct.  However, it is recorded that in 1865 Aberdeen Boat Club was formed with the purchase of four boats.  The original premises were under an arch of the Caledonian Railway beside the Ferryhill Burn, nr. Bank Street.

There was a significant peak in rowing during the mid 1870’s.  The Aberdeen Journal reports of “vast turnouts” of spectators to watch the Club’s regattas.  Dee Regattas were amongst the premier occasions for the townsfolk of Aberdeen and thousands were described as “lining the wharves and banks of the Dee to cheer the rowers as they flashed towards the winning post….”as “flags fluttered on a grandstand”.

Re-routing took the Dee away from the arches under which the club was housed, and in 1876, a new boathouse was built at Polmuir.  The building was later demolished, but the remains of the granite block jetty still exists.
After WW1, the boathouse at Polmuir had to be vacated, but two stalwarts of the club purchased the University’s boathouse in 1924 for the sum of £60, a building that still stands on the south bank of the Dee. The fortunes of the club reached a low during and after the Second World War.  Finally, with only six members, Aberdeen Boat Club was forced into abeyance in 1953 and the boathouse was sold to the University for the sum of £5. There was a short-lived revival in 1962 and by 1969 although the club was still in existence, membership was so low that rowing activity virtually ceased once again.

During the 70’s Aberdeen Boat Club was resurgent, with the first foreign venture to Lucerne Regatta in 1973.  The club gained strength with racing at the British National Championships in 1973 and the Tideway Head of the River in 1978. The most significant event in recent years was the construction of the new boathouse in 1982.  The buildings architect, Mike Rasmussen was a club member of many years and the Club won a Civic Society award for its aesthetic impact on the Torry Skyline. In 1994 the extension which added two more boat bays and further improved facilities within a matching ‘A’ frame, was opened by World Lightweight Sculling Champion – Scotland’s Peter Haining.

The Inter-Company Row developed in the mid-1980’s to raise funds and gain membership.  Since 2009 - 65% of membership has come from the Inter-Company Row, but new members are always welcome!
The above is an abbreviation taken from a History of ABC, by Stuart Pressage, former ABC captain and president.