Rowing Lingo


These sections will describe the process and terms used to move the shell from the boathouse to the water, as well as getting through your first day on the water.... Commands are noted in italics.


Rowing, like many other sports, has its language ... words used to describe the equipment, how it is used, and the way the athlete performs various motions. The following descriptions are the most important ones to get you started. Try to memorize them by picturing the function that they describe. As a general rule, most rowing commands are given with an advance warning of what is to come, for example:

Ready to lift (pause) And lift 

Sometimes the advance warning comes with a count: In two (i.e. in two strokes);

"way ‘nuff" (which means, stop rowing after the current stroke)

Be conscious of the fact that you are part of a crew that must work together to accomplish nearly every task. For example, when the boat is lifted, it must remain level. If one or two people lift too fast or too slow in comparison with the other members of the crew the boat will not remain level which could damage the boat. Once you do it a few times, you'll know what to expect!

Rowing Lingo From ...

The Boathouse

From the Dock

Preparing to Get Off the Dock

From the Water

The Set

A special thanks to Cincinnati Rowing Club for its help with this section.

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