On this page you will find an abundance of useful information for both rowers and their parents.

For most of GAR’s new rowers, rowing is very unfamiliar territory. Parents and guardians can feel overwhelmed by the newness of it all. Many aspects of GAR and of rowing require a little getting used to: the sport itself, with its own language; the organization, with its established ways of doing things; and the regattas, which are a world unto themselves. This material has been put together to help with all of that uncertainty. It contains information about GAR and how it operates, what to expect at regattas, and many other details. In addition, it provides an introduction to the sport of rowing and its terminology.

NOTICE: GAR has made every attempt to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date. It is possible that changes in policy may not yet be included or updated in this version. Please feel free to ask an executive committee member if you have questions regarding club policy and procedures.

What is Gainesville Area Rowing?

Gainesville Area Rowing, Inc. (GAR) is a non-profit Florida corporation created to promote rowing as a sport in the Gainesville/Alachua County area. GAR teaches physical fitness, nutrition, and psychological skills that lead rowers to heightened mental and physical self-awareness. Through the active participation of its members, GAR provides the equipment and professional coaching staff to compete on a national level. GAR includes a high school program, a middle school program, and a Masters (adult) program.

GAR emerged in 1998 from the union of two local high school rowing clubs: Gainesville High School and Eastside High School. GAR rowers have come from schools from all over Alachua county. GAR is a member of Florida Scholastic Rowing Association (FSRA) which sets standards for student rowing in Florida. Although GAR is not officially part of the area’s high school athletic programs we must follow many of their rules, such as athletic health waivers. Additionally, Varsity rowers are awarded athletic “letters” by their respective high schools.

In past years anywhere from 10-40% of GAR alumni go on to row in college. Some have received either full or partial rowing scholarships. GAR alumni have gone on to row for Boston College, Emory, Georgia Tech, Jacksonville University, NYU, Northeastern University, Rollins College, Rutgers University, Syracuse University, U.S. Naval Academy, University of Central Florida, University of Chicago, University of Alabama, University of Florida, University of Iowa, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, University of Alabama, Nova Southeastern University, Stetson, University of Rhode Island, University of Texas, Wesleyan, Wellesley, Williams College, and Yale University.

Financial support for GAR comes entirely through dues, fundraising, and donations. GAR does not receive monetary support from any high school or from the Alachua County School Board.

The GAR Organization

All parents or guardians of high school rowers are members of GAR and, as such, have a voice in all discussions and vote on certain matters. The Executive Committee is responsible for setting club policies and for hiring decisions. GAR employs coaches who have the responsibility to conduct practices in a safe manner and to organize the rowers into boats that row competitively.

Note to novice parents: the coaches, Executive Committee, and returning parents are here to make your rower’s introduction into crew as fun and smooth as possible. Feel free to ask any of them any question anytime. Everyone was new once, and there is no question too small to ask. We are all here to help!

The team is dependent solely on the work and support of the its members for its existence. Through the active participation of its members, GAR provides the equipment and coaching staff needed by the team. GAR is a club and does not receive monetary support from any school or from the Alachua County School Board.

Getting StartedExplaining the SportGlossary of Rowing TermsRower ConductSafetyByLawsExec Committee



GAR general membership (Booster) meetings are held periodically during the year. The dates and time of upcoming meetings are posted on the youth calendar found on the GAR web site (https://gainesvillearearowing.com) and an email reminder will be sent out via the club’s list serve. Booster meetings are usually held at the LifeSouth Building located at 1221 NW 13th Street, Gainesville, in the northeast upstairs conference room. Parents or guardians of rowers should attend these meetings to learn about upcoming team activities. Members will have the opportunity to review and vote on issues that affect their children and the team as a whole. Rowers are also encouraged to attend and participate in planning for the team. The coaches, treasurer, and fundraising coordinators make reports at every meeting.

GAR Executive Committee meetings are usually held monthly and are also noticed on the youth calendar. These meetings are open to the membership (except when personnel issues are discussed) however, voting is restricted to members of the Executive Committee.

E-Mail Group

The main methods for communicating information about practice, regatta travel, meetings, etc., are via e-mail through a moderated group (also known as the “listserve”) and by postings on the GAR web site. List membership is open to anyone. To join the email list, send a blank email message to: youth-subscribe@listserv.gainesvillearearowing.com. The group will immediately send an email message to confirm that you do indeed wish to join this group. Simply hit “Reply” and “Send” as option 2 in the email instructions states. If you are on the list but aren’t receiving regular e-mail from GAR members, please check your “Bulk” or “Junk” mailbox in your e-mail program. Additional guardians and rowers can join or leave the list at any time.

GAR Roster

When the parent or guardian registers each, key information populates both the GAR Roster and the GARpool Map. The Roster includes rower and parent/guardian contact information and is is available on the web site at: members>youth>GAR Roster. The pages are password protected access is restricted to current GAR members. Please check and make sure your information is correct. Submit any corrections or additions to the GAR Secretary.

The GARpool map was developed to facilitate carpooling opportunities. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to contact each other directly to coordinate transportation to/from practice throughout the season.

GAR Website

GAR’s official website is https://gainesvillearearowing.com. The site contains information about the club and about upcoming events and activities.

Money Matters

GAR Budget

GAR’s fiscal year begins on August 1 and ends on July 31. GAR’s operating budget lists the planned receipt and disbursement of club funds. All members of GAR may review the budget at any GAR Booster meeting or by contacting the Treasurer. GAR’s expenses include coaches’ fees, regatta fees, insurance, boat maintenance, loan payments (for boats) and general operating expenses. GAR also purchases new and replacement equipment, such as oars, ergometers (rowing machines), and racing shells. These expenditures are necessary to put our rowers safely on the water and to enable them to be competitive. Financial support for GAR comes entirely through dues payments, fundraising, and donations.

The Executive Committee reviews the fee structure each year to keep dues as reasonable as possible. Rowers must pay their dues in order to participate. Questions concerning the budget, dues amounts, or rowers’ accounts should be directed to the Treasurer. A copy of the annual budget will be provided, by return email upon request. Requests should go to treasurer@gainesvillearearowing.com.

Financial Policies

Rowers’ dues and fundraising are the two primary revenue sources for payment of the club’s expenses. Dues and travel expenses are collected by the club in advance and fundraising is collected throughout the year and credited towards the member’s fundraising obligation. Members who do not meet their fundraising obligation will be billed for the balance in April before the FSRA state regatta. Occasionally, minor additional assessments may be needed for unbudgeted expenses. It is very important that all rowers’ dues and other financial obligations are paid on a timely basis. Payments are used to provide rowers with coaching, access to the equipment (boats, ergs, and weights), training table food at regattas, and liability insurance coverage during crew practices and regattas.

Dues are due and payable on the first of each month and may be paid online using Intuit, your PayPal account, a credit card or by mail. An electronic invoice will be sent to the rower’s parent or guardian mid-month before dues are due. The invoice will also detail past due amounts, if any. Nonpayment of dues and other billed items after 30 days from the due date, or any due items not paid five days prior to overnight travel, will result in the rower forfeiting the opportunity to participate in GAR activities, unless the parent or guardian has entered into a written, short term payment arrangement designed to bring the rower current, and that is approved by the President and Treasurer.

Charges resulting from returned checks will be added to the rower’s account. Siblings of full dues paying members pay 50% of monthly dues, rounded up to the nearest $5 increment, but 100% of uniform and travel expenses. If a high school rower and a middle school rower are the siblings, the lesser dues are reduced by half. In addition, any such siblings fundraising requirement is reduced by 50%, and any excess fundraising from one sibling shall be applied to any other sibling’s obligation. Either the scholarship or sibling discount may be applied to a rower, but not both.

New rowers can participle in club practices for up to two weeks free of charge before deciding to join.

Membership Costs

Breakdown of Estimated Expenses

This estimate could change as the club realizes its actual costs.
The 2019-2020 breakdown is still under construction.


Dues are paid per month from September to May. You have the option for be invoiced in one, three or nine month increments. Some parents have elected to pay the dues for the entire year. Having this extra cash flow greatly assists the functioning of our organization and we sincerely appreciate anytime this occurs. If you opt to be billed for multiple months at one time, or even an entire season’s dues, make your request when filling out your online registration or by emailing: treasurer@gainesvillearearowing.com.

Ways to Pay

GAR invoices, via email, each month for dues, travel fees and other costs. You will receive a message with your invoice attached on the 15th of the month. Payment is due on the 1st day of the following month. Please open and read your invoice when you receive it. If you have question or you feel a correction is needed, reply by email. Your message will go directly to the treasurer and will be answered promptly.

Payments can be delivered to the Treasurer in the following ways:

  • Online via PayPal
  • Electronically
    • Using the link from your online invoice (preferred method)
    • Online by Credit Card (via Pay Pal)
  • By mail to:Gainesville Area Rowing
    PO Box 357882
    Gainesville, FL 32635-7882

GAR wants to make sure every rower has the opportunity to participate in crew without undue financial burden. Scholarships are available for any rower who meets the income qualifications for free or reduced lunch and provides a qualification letter. Any such rower’s dues are reduced by 50%, whereas travel expenses and the fundraising requirement remain unchanged. Scholarships begin in the month the free or reduced lunch is approved by the school. In the event that a rower qualified for free or reduced lunch before requesting a scholarship, then the scholarship will be applied to all dues beginning on the date the rower qualified, as stated in the qualification letter. However, any applicable credit for dues already paid by the rower will apply to future dues and no cash refunds will be issued.

Rowers qualify for scholarship by providing their free or reduced lunch letter, and if the letter is not available, for example because of the CEP program, then by providing documentation of the income requested on the current application for free or reduced lunch. Any such documentation provided may have all social security numbers redacted, and will be reviewed by the President and Treasurer and returned to the parent or guardian, or destroyed.

Additionally, a scholarship rower may receive a financial offset against any monies owed, retrospectively or prospectively, by securing additional fundraising contributions for GAR in excess of their required fundraising amount. Contributions shall be applied to the required fundraising amount before being used to offset other charges. If any amount owed is not paid within 30 days of the due date, then the parent or guardian shall enter into a short term payment plan designed to bring the rower current. The plan must be approved by the President and Treasurer.

Feel free to ask any member of the Executive Committee for more information.

Regatta Travel

Most of the regattas in which GAR competes involve early departure and late return on Saturday and do not involve additional costs to the rowers except for optional items such as tee shirts and extra food. High School rowers typically attend one weekend regatta in the fall and two in the spring. For these weekend regattas, participating team members share the cost of chartered buses, hotel rooms and other associated costs. Rowers may need additional pocket money for incidental expenses and extra meals at these events.


Middle School Rowers

For racing, middle school rowers will need a pair of black shorts, preferably black lycra/spandex shorts, and a GAR t-shirt. T-shirts can be purchased at Booster meetings and the coach might do a special order for t-shirts. Any GAR t-shirt can be worn for racing. A $15 middle school uniform fee is charged each school year to offset the cost of any team T-shirts purchased.

High School Rowers

Required uniform for GAR varsity rowers: GAR unisuit. The unisuit is custom made and coaches will measure the rower. Once a rower has a unisuit they may wear it in their subsequent years of rowing. Some rowers have worn the same unisuit for multiple years of racing! The unisuit is included in the $120 registration fee, along with a GAR polo and T-shirt.

Optional: Long sleeve “Tech shirt” is for cold weather racing. It is not required but highly recommended. Tech shirts may be ordered anytime GAR is placing the February or September unisuit order.

GAR Gear and Special Order GAR gear

Regular GAR gear

Many rowers and parents show their GAR spirit by wearing GAR-logo clothing and using GAR-logo items. These non-personalized items include the GAR logo T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, visors, mugs license plate frames, etc. These items are sold by the GAR Gear coordinator.

Regular GAR Gear items will be sold throughout the year on the web site, at GAR Booster meetings and other GAR functions.

Special Order GAR gear

Personalized GAR gear refers to any GAR items that require special sizing (unisuits and tech shirts) or unique embroidery (jackets and duffels with the rower’s name added). All Special Order GAR Gear items are ordered by the Special Order GAR Gear coordinator using a Merchandise Order Form available on-line. GAR jackets have the rower’s name embroidered on the front, have “GAR” on the back, and come in two styles (full-zip and quarter-zip). Though any member of GAR may buy a jacket, many parents hold off until their rower returns for his or her second year of rowing. About 50% of the novice rowers choose to purchase a jacket, while approximately 90% of the varsity rowers have a jacket. The jackets are very high quality and are subsequently fairly expensive.

Approximately half the rowers buy the duffle bags. Duffels are black with the GAR logo and the rower’s name embroidered on the outside.

Note: GAR typically places only one order for duffels and jackets each year. All orders and payments are due by the October Booster meeting so that the jackets and duffels can arrive in time for the winter holidays.



Fundraising is absolutely essential to the operation of GAR. GAR does not receive monetary support from any high school or from the Alachua County School Board and dues alone do not cover GAR’s expenses. The rest of GAR’s income comes from fundraising activities. Without a fundraising requirement the club would have to raise dues almost 30%. Successful fundraising needs organization and many helpful hands. Parents are expected to participate and encouraged to suggest new money making ideas to the Fundraising Director.


The Club will organize many fundraising opportunities throughout the season under the guidance of the Fundraising Director. Past fundraising events have included pancake breakfasts, wine tasting, erg-a-thon, raffles, and yearbook ad sales. In addition, GAR usually hosts the Gator Head Regatta at Newnans Lake in October of each year. Hosting this regatta is a major fund raiser for GAR. A successful regatta requires everyone’s help. Parents are expected to volunteer. Even if you are new to the club you can contribute in many ways, from announcing events, selling T-shirts and food, parking or even driving a boat for the officials


Presently, each high school rower is expected to raise $300 for the year and middle school rowers, $150. The amount is apportioned 50% for Fall and 50% for Spring season. The Fall obligation will be invoiced in December and the Spring obligation will be invoiced in April. Parents also have a buyout option for fundraising which can be billed monthly. However, for team building purposes, rowers that choose the buyout option are still required to volunteer at fundraising events.

On-going Efforts

Through your workplace you may be able to select GAR as your United Way contribution. This contribution does not count towards the fundraising requirement due to the long processing time on these types of contributions. In addition, rowing photos from regattas and practice are available on-line at www.garphoto.smugmug.com. GAR receives 67% of the sales price of every photo.

Large Donation Opportunities

GAR is an important and vital part of the lives of many Alachua County youth. This year, GAR will approach various individuals, organizations, and businesses in Gainesville and Alachua County to give them an opportunity to sponsor the club. The paragraphs below describe three possible ways to give a large donation to GAR.

Provide a Scholarship-
Some families are not in a position to pay GAR dues. GAR has developed the Rowing Angels program which provides financial assistance to economically-challenged rower.

Sponsor the Gator Head Regatta-
This exciting event offers numerous possibilities to promote a business to a captive audience of rowers and their parents. We host a large regatta each year that attracts hundreds of rowers from around Florida.

Provide Equipment-
Wear and tear and technological improvements mean GAR is constantly in need of new equipment. On our website we keep a list of equipment and supplies that we need. We have a plan to acquire new equipment each year but this process can be much quicker with additional support from our members. If you are interested in making a donation please contact our Fundraising Director. All donations are tax deductible.


When and Where

Crew practice is held at Newnans Lake, “where University ends and the fun begins”. The boat house address is 151 SE 74th Street, Gainesville, FL 32641. Practice schedules may vary but generally in the fall, GAR high school rowers practice at Newnans Lake after school on Monday from 3:30 to 5:30, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday morning from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. In the spring, varsity rowers practice Monday through Saturday with some Mondays off to help to give the rowers an opportunity to schedule doctor’s appointments, dental cleanings, etc. Middle school rowers practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4:15 to 6:15.


GAR does not cancel practice because of rainy weather—crews can row in the rain! Rowers work out indoors at the boathouse whenever lightning, very strong winds, or other unsafe conditions are present. In the event that weather conditions are severe enough to make cancelling practice the safest option, a coach or team captain will contact rowers and parents.


Rowers and their parents or guardians are responsible for making transportation arrangements to and from practice. Many of the rowers drive and have formed carpools and there are also parent carpools. You are encouraged to find rowers near you and to join existing carpools or form new carpools. Check the roster for other rowers from your neighborhood or school. While the club itself cannot provide transportation to or from practice, we can help coordinate a ride after school.

Rower Responsibilities

Take care of yourself. With all of the energy crew requires of you, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet. This enables your body to perform at its maximum potential. Replace junk food and soda with healthy food and avoid skipping meals. GAR cannot overstate the importance of staying hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids all day before you come to practice and be sure to have fresh water with you at all times!

Always make certain your coach is aware of any health concern or medical condition you have, and of medication you are taking. This is especially important if you use an inhaler. If you have asthma and have been prescribed inhaler you will need to have it with you at every practice and your coach can keep it in his/her toolbox.

Don’t let your teammates down! One of the most important elements in the boat is timing. Good timing allows the boat to move smoothly and easily across the water. That is also true off the water. It is important to be on time to practice, to races, to meetings, and to other scheduled crew events. If there is some reason that you cannot be there, be sure to call your coach. With this advance notice, your coach will be able to schedule activities around your absence. If your coach does not know that you will be absent from practice and plans for you to row in a boat that day, then your whole boat may not be able to row. Please be familiar with the Behavior/Attendance policy for more information on absences. Respect the equipment. Crew equipment is very, very expensive. This, combined with the fact that GAR has limited funds, makes it extremely important to treat the equipment with respect and care.

Talk to your teammates. Problems do arise in crew, as among any group of friends. If you have a problem with another teammate, it is important to talk with that person, the coach, the captain/co-captain, or the Coach Liaison. Be prudent and discreet when talking about a teammate, and always be constructive and respectful of each other’s feelings and efforts

Things you need for rowing practice

The following supplies should always be in your crew bag:

  • Water bottle (Nalgene or other reusable water bottle)
  • Socks
  • Lycra shorts and t-shirt
  • Sunscreen
  • Running shoes
  • It is also helpful to have Band-Aids, dry clothes, sunglasses, hat or visor, and insect repellent.
New Rower Start Dates

New rowers may begin with GAR at any time during the school year. As GAR is a team sport, certain times, such as the beginning of each semester, are better for integrating new rowers into boat practice and racing lineups. However, GAR maintains an “open door” policy for new rowers. That is, we accept new rowers at any time and will work to help them participate in all activities as soon as possible. During summer, new rowers may begin by attending a GAR summer camp.

GAR Regattas – Racing

GAR high school rowers usually participate in three or four regattas in the fall and approximately six regattas in the spring.

Before The Regatta

Carbo Feasts

On Friday evening before most high school regattas, team potluck dinners called Carbo Feasts are held at the pavilion at Newnans Lake. All rowers and their families are invited to attend. Everyone gathers about 6:00 p.m. after practice and we usually adjourn by 7:00 p.m. The club’s Carbo Feast coordinator will ask for volunteer help and decide on what type of food each squad is responsible for. In the past the men’s and women’s teams have rotated supplying either pasta dishes or bread and salad. Rowers help clean up after the meal. These pre-race gatherings provide an excellent opportunity to learn last minute regatta information and arrange parent carpools to the race. Note: Carbo Feasts are NOT scheduled when GAR is hosting the next day’s race (we are too busy), when the team is leaving on Friday rather than on Saturday, or when the regatta in question is a dual- or tri-meet.

Regatta Transportation

For safety reasons, GAR does not allow rowers to drive to regattas. If the parents of a rower are not attending a regatta, carpool arrangements are available and are usually finalized at the Carbo Feast team dinner just prior to the regatta (see the Carbo Feast description above). Two to three regattas per year involve a weekend stay and a chartered bus: the Head of the Hooch in November, State Championships in April, and Southeast Regionals in May (if held out of state). The GAR Travel Coordinator will make arrangements for these trips including hotel reservations and bus transportation. Parents are encouraged to attend these overnight regattas and volunteer as chaperons for a few hours a night. Rowers must stay at the team hotel and parents may stay with the team if rooms are available or they may make their own arrangement.

Regatta Routines

Beginning of the day

After arriving at the race site, rowers go directly to the boat trailer to begin rigging the boats. Parents should locate the food trailer to gather the materials needed to set up the GAR team tent, spectator tents and kitchen. Parents should also procure a race schedule (heat sheet) to help them follow along during the day and anticipate when their rower, or any GAR boat, will be coming into view. Pick up a race schedule early; they tend to disappear quickly. If you or your rower plan to purchase a souvenir T-shirt, do so as early as possible since sizes and quantities are often very limited. Heat sheets are also available at https://www.regattacentral.com/.

Regatta Checklist - What to Bring
For Rowers: Label Everything!

  • Team Uniform — REQUIRED
  • Sandals — REQUIRED
  • Pillow and blanket
  • Favorite snacks
  • School work and books
  • SunscreenSunglasses
  • Wide-brimmed hat or visor
  • Lip balm with SPF protection
  • Clothes for after the race
  • Jacket or sweatshirt
  • Sweatpants or soft pants
  • Personal music player, books, playing cards
  • Cell phone
  • Money for souvenir regatta T-shirt
    (cost is usually $25-30)
For Spectators:

  • Directions to race site
  • Folding chair
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with SPF protection
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Toilet paper
  • Water
  • Food, available options are often very limited
  • Coffee, available coffee is typically low-quality
  • Reading material
  • Poncho or small umbrella
During the regatta day

At most regattas, GAR provides a breakfast and lunch, free of charge, for participating rowers and coaches. The menu includes options for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The GAR food coordinator will ask for parent volunteers to help prepare, serve and clean up. This is an excellent opportunity for new GAR parents to participate and meet the rest of the team and other parents. Everyone is welcome to volunteer; no experience necessary. Parents attending a regatta are encouraged to purchase their lunch at the GAR food tent. These proceeds go towards the Rowing Angels Fund. Some venues do not allow cooking; a cold lunch may be provided or rowers may need to bring their own. Rowers must bring their water bottles to the food tent to receive water and Gatorade as cups are not provided to the rowers. At all times rowers attending a regatta, whether participating or not must behave as representatives of GAR and adhere to club policies.

After the race

It doesn’t matter whether you won an Olympic medal or did not make the finals—each crew carries its boat back to the trailer or rack. Rowers attending but not racing must be available to help with regatta tasks at the direction of the coaching staffs.

End of the day

After all the racing is complete, rowers and coaches de-rig and load boats onto the trailer while parents and rowers take down the GAR tents and clean up the areas.

After those tasks are complete, everyone will congregate at the trailer and the coaches will then conduct the “medal ceremony” where they distribute the medals rowers earned during the regatta. The coaches expect all rowers to stay through the medal ceremony to support the team. Rowers will therefore not be ready to leave the race site until approximately one hour after the final race in which GAR has an entry. All rowers are required to remain with the team until the trailer is loaded and the completion of the ceremony. If you must leave early, you must inform your coach of your special circumstance.

Information about expected bus and/or carpool return times will come to all parents via the GAR e-mail list. Rowers should bring money to purchase dinner, especially if the return time is after 6:00 p.m. Rowers and parents occasionally make impromptu arrangements for a post-regatta team dinner, which can affect return times and monetary requirements.

Race-Watching Tips

To find a GAR boat, first look in the regatta program under “schedule of events” to learn the lane in which your boat is rowing. Then look for the rowers wearing light blue tops. Also, all crews paint their logo and/or colors on their oar blades. GAR blades are light blue with the GAR logo painted in black stripes. In addition, it is helpful to know the color of your rower’s boat.

While watching the race, look for clean catches of the oar blades as they enter the water. If you see a lot of splash, the oar blades are not entering the water correctly. The catch should happen at the end of the recovery, when the hands are as far ahead of the rower as possible. Rowers who uncoil before they drop the oar blades are sacrificing speed and are losing power during the drive.

During the race, rowers vary the stroke rate, measured as the number of strokes the rowers complete in a minute’s time, or strokes per minute (SPM). The stroke rate at the start is high: 40-45 for an eight; 32-36 for a single scull. The crew will “settle” into the body of the race and drop the SPM down to 32-36 for an eight or 26-30 for a single. Toward the end of the race, and perhaps at other times depending on the coach’s strategy and the way the race is going, the rowers will increase their stroke rate again. The coxswain may call for a “Power 10” to elicit 10 of the crew’s best, most powerful strokes. Finishing stroke rates of over 40 SPM in the last 200 meters are not uncommon.

Higher stroke rates are not always indicative of higher speed, however. A strong, efficient crew may be able to cover more water faster than a less-capable crew rowing a high stroke rate. The crew that makes it look easy is most likely the one doing the best job. Look for a continuous, fluid, synchronized motion of the rowers. The rowing motion should not have a discernible pause and the boat’s speed should not vary much during the rowing stroke.

If a crew “catches a crab,” an oar blade has entered the water at an angle instead of vertically. The oar blade catches under the surface and will slow or even stop a shell.

Race times can vary considerably depending upon the course and weather conditions. Tailwinds will improve times while headwinds and crosswinds will hamper them.

The crews of first-place boats worldwide throw their coxswains into the water.

States, Regionals, and Nationals
“States,” “Regionals,” and “Nationals” are the three final regattas of the spring season. States is limited to rowing teams from the state of Florida. As the sport grew in popularity, States was divided into 2 weekends in 2012 – Sculling & Sweep.

States has a “no doubling” rule, meaning a rower can only compete in, at the most, one sweep event and one sculling event. He or she will likely race more than once, however, since States is set up as a heats to finals progression. In fact, some events require three races before “finals,” so a rower could conceivably race four times, just for that one event. How many times a rower will race depends on how many entries are in the event and how well the boat does (only the top six boats will make it to finals). States does not have novice categories, so GAR enters its novices in other events, usually the 3rd varsity eight and 3rd varsity four events. States is not a qualifying event for Regionals.

States is sometimes bigger than Regionals. States includes all the teams in Florida, both the high school based teams and the club teams, like GAR. It is huge, very crowded, and fun.

Regionals attracts teams from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee. Regionals is also a heats to finals format, but does not have a no doubling rule. So some rowers will row in two events, while others will row in one.

Regionals is more intense than States because the top three boats in any “championship” event qualify for Nationals. The championship events for the women and men are the Champ8+, Champ4+, Champ4x, Champ2x, Champ1x, Champ-lightweight8+, and Champ-lightweight4+. Teams may also race other non-championship events, such as JV8+. Non-championship events can win medals but cannot qualify for Nationals. The top three boats from each Champ event at Regionals have the option of going to Nationals.

Nationals, as its name implies draw high school age teams from all over the country. If you win here, you are the fastest boat in the United States! This is a big deal and the level of competition at Nationals is quite intense. To date, GAR has only placed in the top three at Nationals once. But the kids who have had the privilege of competing there all return saying it was the highlight of their rowing experience. This is a multi-day regatta held in June in which only boats that qualify are invited to attend. Even though a GAR boat may technically qualify, it is the decision of the coaches and board with input from the rowers and parents as to whether we will compete.

GAR Policies


Click on the “Safety” tab at the top of this Handbook to view the GAR Safety rules, policies and procedures.

Adopt-a-rower cash dispersion policy

A member or friend of GAR may help support any rower through the adopt-a-rower program. If the donor chooses a particular rower, then that donation will go to that rower. If no particular rower is specified the money will be spread equally to rowers with demonstrated need. (add the following) Note: donations made targeting a particular rower may not be tax deductible. Consult your accountant for more information.


Dogs are not allowed at any GAR facility, function or event.

Parts of Rowing 101 and the Glossary of Rowing Terms are adapted from materials provided by US Rowing and Cincinnati Rowing Club’s Introduction to Rowing.

Sculling vs. Sweep Rowing

Rowers with two oars, one in each hand, are scullers. There are three sculling events:

  • the single: 1x (one rower)
  • the double: 2x (two rowers, each with two oars)
  • the quad: 4x (four rowers, each with two oars)

On the race heat sheet (racing program) sculling events are designated by an x preceded by the number of rowers in the boat. With the exception of middle school quads, these boats do not have a coxswain (middle school races require a coxswain).

Rowers with only one oar are sweep rowers. In junior (youth) rowing, most sweep boats carry a coxswain (pronounced cox-sin) to steer and be the in-the-boat coach. Junior sweep rowing events are:

  • The pair: 2- (two rowers, each with one oar and no coxswain)
  • The four: 4+ (four rowers, each with one oar, and a coxswain)
  • The eight: 8+ (eight rowers, each with one oar, and a coxswain)

On the race heat sheet the plus sign following the number of rowers means that that boat has a coxswain and a minus means the boat is coxless. Therefore, a “mv8 +“is the men’s varsity eight (has a coxswain), often referred to as the men’s Vee Eight.

The eight is the fastest boat on the water. A world-level men’s eight is capable of speeds of almost 14 miles per hour. In an eight, the coxswain always sits in the stern and faces the rowers. In a four, however, the coxswain may lie down in the bow facing away from the rowers or sit in the stern, facing the rowers. Coxswains in the bow position are often difficult to see. Each seat in a boat has a number, beginning in the bow. Rowers are identified by their seat in the boat. The rower in the bow is in the 1-seat or, more commonly, the “bow seat.” The bow seat rower crosses the finish line first (which makes it easy to remember – first across the line is the 1-seat). The rower in the bow seat faces the rower in the 2-seat, who faces the rower in the 3-seat, and so on. The last rower (the fourth rower in a four; the eighth rower in an eight) is in the stroke seat and is most often called “the stroke.” The stroke of the boat must be a strong rower with excellent technique since he or she sets the rhythm and number of strokes per minute the rest of the crew must follow. Other common references to seat positions:

  • The bow pair consists of the rowers in the bow seat and the 2-seat.
  • The stern pair consists of the rowers in the 3-seat and stroke seat in a four or the 7-seat and stroke seat in an eight.
  • The bow four consists of the rowers in the bow seat and the 2-, 3-, and 4-seats.
  • The stern four consists of the rowers in the 5-, 6-, and 7-seats and the stroke seat.
Rowing Equipment
  • Oars
    Oars move the boat through the water and act as balancers. Sweep oars are longer than sculling oars. The shaft of the oar is made of extremely lightweight carbon fiber.
    The oars attach to the boat with riggers, which provide a fulcrum for the levering action of rowing. Sweep rowers generally sit so that their oars alternate from side to side along the boat (that is, all odd-numbered seat oars are on one side of the boat, all even-numbered seat oars are on the other side). For training purposes or to balance the pull on each side of the boat, a coach will sometimes rig the boat so that two consecutive rowers have their oars on the same side of the boat. This is called “bucket rigging” the boat.
  • The Boats—Sculls and Shells
    All rowing boats can be called shells. Rowing boats with scullers in them (each person having two oars) are called sculls (single scull, double scull, quad scull). All sculls are shells, but not vice versa!
    The smallest boat is the single scull, which is approximately 27 feet long and as narrow as 10 inches across. At 58 feet, the eight is the longest crew boat. Newer boats, especially those used in competition, are made of honeycombed carbon fiber. They are light and appear fragile but are crafted to be strong and stiff in the water. Because of this advanced technology and limited production runs a new eight person rowing shell can cost between $35k to $40k. Good used boats go for about $24,000. This is a substantial investment for the club and our rowers need to take responsibility to treat their boats with care and report needed repairs to their coach immediately.
Tour of a Shell
  • The bow is the front of the shell where the little white ball, called a “bow ball,” is located.
  • The bow ball is the first part of the shell to cross the finish line.
  • The stern is the back of the shell. Rowers face the stern when they row.
  • The starboard side is the right side of the shell. Because the rowers are facing the stern, the starboard side is on the rowers’ left. A sweep rower whose oar goes out on the starboard side of the boat is “rowing starboard.”
  • The port side is the left side of the shell. Because the rowers are facing the stern, the port side is on the rowers’ right. A sweep rower whose oar goes out on the port side of the boat is “rowing port.” (A rower who can row both port and starboard is said to be “bi-sweptual.”)
  • The riggers are the metal structures protruding from each side of the shell that hold the oarlocks.
  • The oarlocks are the metal and plastic parts at the end of the riggers that actually hold the oars.
  • The seat is the place where the rower sits. It rolls on four little wheels on the slide tracks.
  • The foot stretcher is the place where a rower’s feet secure to the boat. The foot stretcher for each seat is adjustable based on the height of the rower.
  • The shoes have a quick release feature for the unlikely event of a boat capsizing.
Rowing Classifications

Lightweight vs. Heavyweight

Some rowing events, known as lightweight events, require that each rower in the boat weigh less than a specified amount. The lightweight cutoffs for junior rowing events are typically 130 pounds for women and 155 pounds for men. Each rower in a lightweight event weighs in before regatta officials at the beginning of each regatta. A race that is not classified as lightweight is a heavyweight event. There are no weight restrictions for heavyweight events.

Levels of Skill

There are many race events that are categorized by the rowers’ level of experience and skill. Novice races include boats crewed by rowers of any age but with no more than one year’s rowing experience. Once a rower has been competing for a year, he or she can no longer race as a novice.

Freshman races (typically only at the larger regattas) require that all rowers be in their freshman year of high school (or younger). All other races fall into the Varsity category, but there are different levels within this broad classification. The levels are labeled differently at different regattas, but the purpose is to create races that involve boats of comparable strength. A crew’s fastest boat will be called the Varsity boat, A-boat, or first boat. Usually the next fastest boat will be called the Junior Varsity (JV) boat, B-boat, or second boat. If there enough entries, there may be a C-boat (third boat) race as well. The coaches may promote a novice rower to a varsity boat if the rower’s ability merits it. Occasionally, a novice rower will participate with a varsity boat in order to “fill the boat” and allow the other varsity rowers to practice or compete.

Rowing Lingo

Rowing, like many other sports, has its own language—words used to describe the equipment, how it is used, and the way the athlete performs various motions. A glossary of terms is included herein. Be conscious of the fact that a crew 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.

The Rowing Stroke

Rowers have not been called the world’s most physically fit athletes lightly. Rowing looks graceful, elegant, and sometimes effortless when it is done well, but do not be fooled. The sport demands tremendous endurance, strength, balance, and mental discipline.

Rowing is a total body workout. Rowing only looks like an upper-body sport. Although upper-body strength is important, the power of a rowing stroke comes from the legs. Rowing is
one of the few athletic activities that involves all of the body’s major muscle groups. It is a great aerobic workout (comparable to cross-country skiing), and as a low-impact sport it is relatively easy on the rowers’ joints.

The rowing stroke consists of four parts: catch, drive, finish, and recovery.

  • The Catch: The stroke begins with the rower forward on the sliding seat, with knees bent and arms outstretched. At the catch, the rower drops the oar blade vertically into the water.
  • The Drive: There are three phases to the drive, each involving a different part of the body. The drive begins with the legs. Without moving his body or arms, the rower pushes himself backward on the sliding seat with his legs. After his legs are fully-extended, and without moving his arms, the rower uncoils his body, straightening his back and then moving into a slight “layback” position. Finally, the arms do their work. The rower quickly pulls in his arms from the fully extended position until his hands are next to his torso, just under his sternum.
  • The Finish: During the finish, the rower pushes her oar handle down to her lap, just raising the oar blade out of the water. The rower simultaneously turns the oar handle (known as “feathering”) so that the oar blade rotates from a vertical position to a horizontal one.
  • The Recovery: During the recovery, the rower reverses the body motions of the drive. First, he moves his hands away from his body and past his knees. He then straightens his body and leans forward, coiling his torso. Finally, he slides forward on his seat until his knees are bent and he is ready for the next catch. Throughout the recovery, the rower keeps his oar blade close to the water and at the same height, allowing for a quick return to the water. This is not an easy task, especially if the water is rough.
The Movement of the Boat

The term that describes the balance of a shell is the “set.” Several factors affect the set, including the depth of the oar during the drive and whether the rowers are sitting straight over the keel and not leaning to one side or the other

Shells do not move like a car. They are slowest at the catch and fastest at the end of the drive. The variation in the speed of the boat during the rowing stroke is called “rush.” The goal is to time the rowing stroke so as to minimize this variation. Rush is most commonly caused by one or more rowers “rushing” their recovery by sliding forward too quickly.

Crew Races
  • Head Races
    Traditionally, fall season regattas involve “head races.” The Head of the Charles, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, may be the most well-known regatta. Head races are typically 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) long. Head race courses usually place the finish line near the spectators, which often places the starting line far from the launch point. Consequently, boats will often launch a full hour before their posted start time so they can row to the starting line without pressure. Be sure to plan ahead so you can wish your rower luck!

In head races, boats do not race side by side. Instead, the boats in each category start at 10 second intervals. Some passing does occur during the race, but not much. Race officials at the starting and finish lines record start and finish times and use this data to calculate the time each boat took to complete the course. You will not know how your boat did until race officials post the results. The winner is the crew that had the shortest elapsed time between the start and finish lines (net of any penalty time).

  • Sprint Races
    Traditionally, spring is “sprint race” season. National, collegiate, worlds, and Olympic sprint competitions are 2,000 meters (1.24 miles), while juniors’ races are 1,500 meters (0.93 miles). The race course consists of lanes (usually six) and each 250-meter length is marked with buoys. The race begins with all boats aligned at the start in their assigned lanes. Regatta staff in each lane hold the stern of each boat steady while an official ensures that each boat is even with the others and facing the course. Each crew is allowed one false start; a second false start disqualifies the crew. If a legitimate equipment problem occurs within the first 100 meters (e.g., an oar snaps in two), race officials will stop the race and restart it once the equipment problem is corrected. The boat that crosses the finish line first wins the race, assuming it is not subject to any penalties.
    An official always follows the crews to ensure safety and fairness.
  • Determining Which Boats Receive Medals
    For a given rowing event (e.g., men’s varsity 8+ or women’s novice 4+), medals are awarded for the first-, second-, and third-place boats. At a Head Race, the three boats in each event with the best overall course times earn medals. Sprint regattas are a little more complicated, and different regattas determine the medal-winning boats in different ways.

Most sprint regattas have only one or two races in any given event. In this case, each race is usually referred to as a “flight.” In a flight, the outcome of each race does not determine advancement to another stage (see next paragraph). The regatta might award medals by flight, in which case the first-, second-, and third-place boats in each flight earn medals. Alternatively, the regatta might award medals by time, in which case the boats from all flights are ranked by their race times and the three fastest boats per event earn medals.

In a larger sprint regatta, such as States or Regionals, the race that determines the medals for a given event is called the finals. There are typically six boats in the finals race. The largest regattas may have as many as four stages and a boat may race as many as three times to qualify for the finals. The stages are called heats, repechage (“reps”), semifinals, and finals. Technically, a “heat” is any race that determines which boats advance to further stages in the event. For clarity, during a regatta the term “heat” is used only for the first round of races (the first stage).

Backsplash – Spray kicked up toward the bow of a boat by the oar blade while traveling toward the bow during the recovery.

Back Water – To make the boat move in the direction of the stern (comparable to going in reverse in a car). Also “back.”

Blade – The wide, flattened part of an oar that touches the water during rowing. Also, the entire oar.

Bow – The front of a boat. Also, the name of the rowing seat nearest to the front of the boat.

Bow Ball – The rubber ball attached to the tip of the bow of a boat to protect against damage and injury in case of a collision.

Bow Loader – A shell in which the coxswain is near the bow instead of the stern. It is difficult to see the coxswain in this type of boat because only his or her head is visible. Having the coxswain virtually lying down in the bow reduces wind resistance, and improves weight distribution.

Catch – The initial engagement of the oar with the water at the beginning of the rowing stroke.

Catch a Crab – To make a faulty stroke, such as one where the blade either enters the water at a wrong angle and sinks too deep or fails to release from the water. If a rower “catches a crab” the shell will usually slow way down or come to a complete stop until the rower can regain control of the oar.

Check – Interruption of the forward motion of a shell.

Check It Down – Emergency command to stop a shell as fast as possible by jamming the oars into the water.

Coxswain – Also “cox.” The person who steers the shell and is the on-the-water coach for the crew. The coxswain implements the coach’s strategy during the race, setting the desired pace for each race segment. The coxswain lets the rowers know where they stand during the race and what they need to do to win. Contrary to popular notion, coxswains don’t now and probably never did yell “stroke! stroke!” Coxswains from first-place boats worldwide are thrown into the water by their crews.

Collar – A fitting tightened on the shaft of an oar that keeps the oar from slipping through the oarlock. The collar’s location can be adjusted up and down the length of the oar to increase or decrease leverage.

Coxbox – An electronic device used by a coxswain to amplify his or her voice and broadcast it through speakers located throughout the shell.

Double – A boat with two rowers, each with two oars.

Drive – The second part of the rowing stroke. During the drive, the oar is moving through the water with force and the rower provides the motive force for the boat.

Eight – A boat with eight rowers, each with one oar.

Ergometer – A piece of exercise equipment that closely approximates the actual rowing motion. An ergometer may also be called a rowing machine and is affectionately known as an “erg.” Most popular erg machines utilize a flywheel and a digital readout so that the rower can measure strokes per minute, distance covered, and 500-meter split. Coaches use erg tests to ascertain an athlete’s aerobic and endurance capabilities.

Feathering – Rolling the oar blade from a squared position (perpendicular to the water’s surface) to a position parallel to the water’s surface. Featheringis used to reduce wind resistance from the blade during recovery.

Finals – The last race in a given event at certain regattas. The order of finish during the finals race determines the medals recipients for that event.

Finish – In a rowing stroke, the last part of the drive, just before the release, when the rower’s power is mainly coming from his or her back and arms.

Flight – A race for a particular event at a regatta where there is no advancement to additional races.

Foot Stretcher – An adjustable bracket in a shell to which the rower’s feet are secured.
Four – A boat with four rowers, each with one oar.

Front Splash – Spray kicked up as the oar enters the water at the catch and the rower begins to apply pressure.

Gunwale – The top section of the side of a boat. The riggers secure to the gunwale with bolts. Pronounced “gunnel.”

Heat – A race in the first round of qualifying races for a particular event at certain regattas. A certain number of boats from each heat in a given event qualify for further racing in repecharge, semifinals, or finals races.

Hold Water – A command to slow or stop a boat quickly by burying the oar blades in the water perpendicular to the surface. Similar to but usually less dramatic than “check it down.”

Hull – The outside of the shell that sits in the water.

Layback – The backward lean (toward the bow) of a rower’s body at the end of the drive.

Leg Drive – Power applied to the rowing stroke by the legs pushing the sliding seat toward the bow.

Lightweight – A weight division in some events. All rowers in a lightweight women’s boat must weigh 130 pounds or less. All rowers in a lightweight men’s boat must weigh 155 pounds or less.

Miss Water – Fail to place the oar blade in the water properly during the catch. The drive is less powerful and efficient when the rower misses water.

Oar – A piece of rowing equipment used to drive the boat forward. Only people in a canoes or kayaks use paddles. Rowers use oars.

Oarlock – A U-shaped swivel on a boat’s gunwale upon which the oar rests and pivots.

Pair – A boat with two rowers, each with one oar.

Port – The left side of a boat as you face the bow.

Power 10 – A call for rowers to do ten of their best, most powerful strokes, supplying additional power to advance on a competitor or maintain a lead.

Puddles – Whirlpools left in water by the action of the oars when released from the water.

Quad – A boat with four rowers, each with two oars.

Racing Start – The first 20 to 40 strokes of a race, usually at a higher stroke rate than those for the rest of the race. Shorter strokes are needed to overcome the shell’s inertia.

Ratio – The ratio of the recovery time during the racing stroke to the drive time.

Recovery – The final part of the rowing stroke in which the rower positions his or her oar and body for the next stroke.
Release – The third part of the rowing stroke when the oar is removed from the water and feathered for the recovery.

Repechage – Also “rep.”An intermediate race at large regattas that ensures that all boats have two chances to advance from preliminary races in which there was no seeding and “luck of the draw” could have affected a boat’s advancement adversely.

Rigger – The framework attached to the body of a shell that supports the oarlock.

Rigging – Adjusting and altering the accessories in and on the shell. Rigging activities include setting the height of the rigger, locating the foot stretchers, setting the location and height of the oarlocks, setting the location of the collar on the oar, and setting the pitch of the blade of the oar.

Rudder – A steering device on the bottom of the boat at the stern. The coxswain steers the boat using cables connected to the rudder.

Run – The distance the boat travels during one stroke. The run is equal to the distance between the puddles made by the same oar.

Rushing the Slide – Moving the seat forward too rapidly during recovery, creating check or “rush.”

Scull – A shell in which each rower holds two oars.

Sculling – Rowing with two oars, one held in each hand.

Seat – The piece of rowing equipment on which the rower sits in the boat and that slides back and forth during the rowing stroke.

Seat Rollers – The wheels attached to the bottom of the seat that allow it to slide back and forth during the rowing stroke.

Semifinals – Also “semis.” A race for a particular event at a regatta that is the last opportunity for boats to qualify for the finals.

Set – The balance of a boat. A “good set” means a level, stable shell that facilitates the synchronization of the rowing stroke among the rowers.

Shell – A racing boat.

Single – A boat with one rower with two oars.

Skeg – A small fin attached straight down from the bottom of the shell to help the shell stay on a true course.

Skying – Recovering with the oar too far above the water.

Slide – The set of runners in which the seat rollers sit and slide.

Slide Control – The rower’s command of the speed at which he or she moves the seat along the slide during the recovery part of the rowing stroke.

Shooting Your Tail – At the beginning of the drive, scooting one’s bottom toward the bow without changing the location of the oar in the water, resulting in a loss of power and low back pain.

Sling – A portable frame with straps upon which a shell can be placed for rigging.

Squaring – Rolling the oar blade from a feathered position (parallel to the water’s surface) to a position perpendicular to the water’s surface.

Starboard – The right side of a boat as you face
the bow.

Stern – The rear part of a boat.

Stroke – A complete rowing motion, made up of a catch, drive, release, and recovery. Also, the rower sitting nearest to the stern, who sets the stroke length and cadence for the crew.

Stroke Rate – The number of strokes per minute.

Sweep Rowing – Rowing with one oar held by both hands.

Swing – The hard-to-define feeling when near-perfect synchronization of motion occurs in the shell, enhancing performance and speed.

Tap It – A command to take one stroke. “Tap It” is followed by the seat number of the rower who is to take the stroke. Used to align shells at race starts.

Tracks – The equipment that allows the seat to slide back and forth in the boat.

Washing Out – An oar blade coming out of the water during the drive. Washing out creates surface wash, reducing power and unsteadying the shell.

Weigh Enough – Command to stop. Pronounced “way-nuf.”

Rower conduct and academic policies are divided into five levels based upon the seriousnes of the violation and progression levels for any repeated violations.  Following is an abridged listing of rower conduct requirements.  The detailed policy is available at on our forms page

Financial Policy

Nonpayment of dues and other billed items after 15 days from the due date, or any due items not paid five days prior to overnight travel, will result in the rower forfeiting the opportunity to participate in GAR activities, unless the parent or guardian has entered into a written, short term payment arrangement designed to bring the rower current, and that is approved by the President and Treasurer. If a rower is suspended or expelled for any reason, dues are non-refundable.

Rower Conduct

Rower conduct and academic policies are divided into five levels based upon seriousness of the violation:

Level 1 (Minor): Violations falling under Level 1 include 1) unexcused absences, 2) not listening to coaches or chaperones, 3) not respecting coaches, teammates, competitors, chaperones, and/) or race officials, 4) not taking care of equipment and/or rowing center, 5) not performing assigned duties, 6) use of profanity, 7) public displays of affection, 8) failure to maintain a 2.0 GPA at school, and 9) minor road trip policy violations during any and all GAR-related activities or while on GAR property.

The first and second Level 1 violations will result in a verbal warning from the coach and written documentation in rower’s discipline file. Each subsequent violation will result in progressing to the next higher Level.

Example Three violations will progress to Level 2
Four violations will progress to Level 3
Five violations will progress to Level 4
(four or more Level 1 violations may result in suspension)

Level 2 (Moderate): Level 2 violations occur after any three Level 1 violations and results in written (email or text) notification of parent(s) and documentation in file.

Level 3 (Serious): Level 3 violations occur after any four Level 1 violations and results in written (email or text) notification of parent(s), a coach/parent/rower meeting, notification to the XC, documentation in file, and possible suspension.

Level 4 (Very Serious): Level 4 violations occur after 1) any five Level 1 violations, 2) possession or use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or drug paraphernalia during any and all GAR-related activities or while on GAR property, 3) bullying, harassment, or sexual harassment (see GAR’s Athletic Safety Program on our website for details), serious road trip violations (eg., egregious curfew violations, being alone in room with opposite sex, etc.). Level 4 violations result in written (email or text) notification of parent(s), a coach/parent/rower meeting, suspension and possible expulsion, notification of XC, and documentation in file.

Level 5 (Expulsion): Level 5 violations include 1) illegal acts not previously covered (not to include minor traffic violations) and 2) possession of fire arms or other dangerous objects (large knives, machetes, bombs, etc.) on GAR property or during any and all GAR-related activities. Note: one small multi-tool or pocket knive used to rig or de-rig boats do not violate this policy. Rowers may text a photo of knife/tool to the Head Coach/Rowing Director for approval.

Level 5 violations result in immediate suspension and expulsion from GAR, written (email or text) notifications of parent(s), notification of XC, and documentation in file. A review hearing by the XC will be conducted if requested by rower or parents in writing within 7 days. Rower will remain suspended from any and all GAR activities until hearing.

Social Media Policy

Any social media or electronic posts, texts, or messages that violate our Athlete Safety Program Policy are prohibited and constitute a Level 4 violation with penalties as noted above.

Boat Line-Up Policy

The coaches are responsible for determining the boat line-ups that make GAR’s regatta entries as competitive as possible. In determining rower lineups, the coaches use quantitative data, such as rowers’ performance on physical challenges such as erg tests and seat races. The coaches also use qualitative information, such as rowers’ attendance, attitude, work ethic, and chemistry when determining line-ups.

Road Trip Policy
  1. Coaches will establish two curfew times for youth rowers during overnight hotel stays: In-Room Time and Lights Out (doors remain locked and closed after in-room time).
  2. Rowers are not permitted into the room (or floor if applicable) of a rower of the opposite sex at any time.
  3. After In-Room Time, no rower may leave his or her room.
  4. Coaches/Chaperones will do nightly checks at in room time. If all members of a room are not present, then the rower may lose racing privileges at the coach’s discretion.
  5. Rowers will be respectful and polite to all chaperons and understand that each chaperon is volunteering his/her own time to ensure the safety of the team. Chaperons will report to the head coach if they feel that any rower is misbehaving or being disrespectful.
  6. Rowers may not leave a regatta venue without authorization of coaches and notification of chaperone and parent(s).
  7. Violation of these policies will result in disciplinary action. Coaches and the head coach will determine consistent sanctions that increase in severity with the nature of the violation and with repeated violations. A violation of curfew might result in the rower being held out of the next regatta.
Athletic Safety Program
Disciplinary Protocol

Any infraction that might occur must be dealt with by more than one authority member of GAR. Line of protocol is as follows:

Head Coach and Rowing Director. If Head Coach is Rowing Director or there is no Rowing Director, another coach may be present. If a Coach or Rowing Director is not available, proceed with the President or Vice President of GAR.

Violation Procedure

Every violation will be documented in writing with the date and description of offense listed, and signed by two authority members as per Disciplinary Protocol. The Head Coach/Rowing Director has the authority to suspend rowers for up to and including the remainder of the rowing season and may recommend suspensions up to one year or expulsion from GAR. Length of suspensions will be determined by seriousness of offense in light of any and all previously documented offenses. Suspensions longer than 14 days or that cover Regional or National Championships may be reviewed by the XC if the rower or parents request a hearing in writing (email or text) within 7 days.


Safety considerations will take priority over every activity we undertake. It shall be the responsibility of the Rowing Director to keep the safety rules, policies and procedures (collectively “safety rules”) up to date and to ensure that all coaches have annually review them. The safety rules will be maintained on the GAR website.

GAR will conduct a background screening of each current and prospective athletic coach annually against state and federal registries of sexual predators and sexual offenders in accordance with Florida law. GAR will disqualify any person from acting as a coach in accordance with state law.

GAR will educate its coaches, rowers and their parents or guardians of the nature and risk of concussion, head injuries, and heat illnesses. The parent or guardian must sign and return an informed consent that describes the nature and risk of concussion, head injury and heat illnesses. Any youth athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury during a practice or competition will be immediately removed from the activity and may not return to practice or competition until a written medical clearance is submitted to the Rowing Director.

Safety Rules

Gainesville Area Rowing, Inc. Bylaws

Bylaws (As revised February 12, 2008; May 20, 2014; April 8, 2015; February 24, 2016)


The legal name of this nonprofit corporation as established in its Articles of Incorporation in the State of Florida is Gainesville Area Rowing, Inc. Hereinafter, Gainesville Area Rowing shall be referred to as “GAR” or “the Corporation.”


Gainesville Area Rowing (GAR):
Promotes the sport of competitive rowing (crew) in the Gainesville, Florida area obtains and provides rowing facilities, services, equipment, and related items that are reasonable, necessary, and appropriate to carry on the sport of rowing.


GAR does not discriminate in the hiring of coaches or other staff members, in the choice of service or product providers, in the ability to join and/or remain affiliated with GAR, or in the ability to participate in the governance and activities of GAR on the basis of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religious affiliation, disability, marital status, education, or economic status, except in cases where the individual would be physically incapable of performing the duties required of a paid position.


§1.0 Organizational Form
This corporation shall be maintained as a permanent organization and shall function as a nonprofit organization under the requirements of Section 501(c)(3), as amended, of the Internal Revenue Code.

§2.0 Governing Authority
In case of conflict between these Bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation as approved by the Secretary of State of Florida, the Articles of Incorporation take precedence. When either these Bylaws or the Articles of Incorporation conflict with the statutes of the State of Florida, those statutes shall have precedence.

§3.0 Rules of Order
These Bylaws govern the conduct of GAR business and may not be suspended. The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order governs for questions not addressed herein. A motion to suspend the prevailing rules of order must address the specific purpose of suspending the rules of order and requires the approval of two-thirds of the Members present.

§4.0 Programs
GAR is comprised of GAR Youth (middle- and high-school rowers) and GAR Masters. Priority of equipment, scheduling, and other resources shall go to GAR Youth.

§5.0 Affiliation
GAR shall maintain membership in good standing in the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association (FSRA) and U.S. Rowing.

§6.0 Dissolution
In the event of dissolution of the Corporation (see Article VI, Sections 4.2 and 4.4), all of its property and assets shall become the property of the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association after payment of all existing debts. In no event shall any of the assets or property, or the proceeds from the sale of any assets or property, be distributed to GAR members for the reimbursement for any sum contributed by those members or for any other purpose.


The parent, guardian, or sponsor of each middle or high-school rower is eligible to be a voting Member. Members are considered to be in good standing, and are therefore eligible to vote on matters of business for the Corporation, if all financial obligations (e.g., dues) are paid and current. Members and rowers must read and agree to adhere to the policies and procedures as specified in the current GAR Policy Manual and the current GAR Handbook. Members in good standing may vote on matters of business for the Corporation in accordance with these Bylaws and with GAR policies. There shall be one vote for each rower, such that Members who support multiple rowers shall be eligible to cast a number of votes equal to the number of rowers supported. Parents, guardians, or sponsors of rowers under 18 and of rowers 18 or older whose membership they support financially shall have voting privileges. High-school rowers 18 or older who provide their own financial support shall be considered Members and shall have voting privileges (in lieu of a parent, guardian, or sponsor). Members of the GAR Masters Rowing Program shall be non-voting members of Gainesville Area Rowing Inc. Masters members cannot vote on matters of corporate business during general and special meetings and will not be counted towards a quorum. Masters members must read and agree to adhere to the policies and procedures of GAR and to the Masters program’s policies. Masters members will be represented on the Executive Committee by a Masters liaison who will have voting privileges on matters of corporate business that comes before the Executive Committee. Masters Members may hold any office on the Executive Committee and shall have all the rights and privileges of that office.


§1.0 Policies and Procedures
GAR accomplishes its purpose within a framework of policies and procedures that provide structure and organization to the coaches, staff members, and volunteers who are working to fulfill GAR’s purpose. GAR maintains current versions of all policies and procedures in a Policy Manual that is available to all. These Bylaws, the Articles of Incorporation, and the laws of the State of Florida take precedence over policies and procedures in the event of a conflict.

§2.0 Officers and Executive Committee
GAR elects eight officers each year at the Annual Meeting (see Article VI, Section 4.1): the President, a Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Fundraising Director, a Public Relations Director, a Facilities Director and a Development Director. These officers shall perform the duties prescribed in the Corporation’s job descriptions and by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Corporation. Officers must be at least eighteen years of age and must be Members in good standing of the Corporation. No individual may hold more than one office at a time. A given individual may serve only two consecutive one year terms in any specific position. In the event of a vacancy, the Executive Committee shall elect a replacement to fill the vacancy. In addition the head coach shall be a voting member of the Executive Committee. Masters members shall appoint a Masters Liaison to the Executive Committee by a method of their choosing. The Masters liaison must be a Masters member. The Masters liaison shall be a voting member of the Executive Committee, and there shall be no term limit on the Masters liaison.

§3.0 Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee consists of five persons who, at the time of their appointment, have been members of the Corporation for at least four months. The Executive Committee shall appoint the Nominating Committee and announce its membership no later than March. Members of the Executive Committee may not serve on the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee is responsible for preparing and conducting the elections at the Annual Meeting of the Corporation in accordance with the Policy Manual. The Nominating Committee presents the Corporation with a slate of candidates for President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Fundraising Director, Public Relations Director, Facilities Director and Development Director at least seven days in advance of the Annual Meeting. These candidates will have agreed to serve if elected

§4.0 Meetings

§4.1 Business Meeting
The Corporation shall conduct its business in open meetings, with the exception of personnel evaluations and Member finances. The Corporation has two regular forums for business, the Executive Committee Meeting and the Boosters Meeting. The Executive Committee shall make the time and location of all business meetings known to the Corporation at least seven days in advance through an announcement via the Corporation’s group email address and/or through a written letter to all members.

§4.2 Annual Meeting
The Corporation shall hold its Annual Meeting each year between April 1 and May 31. The Executive Committee shall establish the date for the Annual Meeting and make it known to the Corporation at least seven days in advance through an announcement via the Corporation’s group email address and/or through a written letter to all members. During the annual meeting, the Corporation shall elect officers for the next fiscal year.

§4.3 Special Meetings
The Corporation shall hold a Special Meeting when either (1) a majority of the Executive Committee deems it necessary or (2) the Executive Committee receives a written request for a special meeting (the request must explicitly describe the purpose of the meeting) signed by 25% of the Members of the Corporation. The Executive Committee shall set the date, time, and place of the meeting. The Executive Committee must mail and or e-mail written notice of a Special Meeting and a description of the purpose of the meeting to all Members at least seven days in advance.

§4.4 Actions Requiring a Special Meeting
The following business can be transacted only at a Special Meeting following a written notice: revising the Bylaws or Articles of Incorporation and dissolution of the Corporation. The written notice of the Special Meeting must include the specific motion(s) to be made and on which a vote will be taken. The written notice of a Special Meeting to revise the Bylaws must include a detailed description of the proposed changes and the rationale for the changes.

§4.5 Voting Methods
GAR does not permit voting by proxy. GAR permits voting by absentee ballot for the questions noted in Section 4.3 of this Article. Absentee votes must be made in accordance with the Corporation’s established policies in order to be valid and counted. The Secretary must have record of such votes at least 48 hours before the scheduled meeting of the Corporation.

§4.6 Meeting Quorums and Required Voting Margins
Only Members in good standing may vote on business matters of the Corporation. Only Members in good standing who have been Members in good standing for at least six months may vote on changes to the Bylaws or Articles of Incorporation and on any motion to dissolve the Corporation. Unless specified otherwise below, 10% of the Members in good standing constitutes a quorum for transaction of business. Absentee votes count toward the establishment of the quorum. A quorum is not necessary to adjourn a meeting. Unless specified otherwise below, a majority vote decides any question.

Question Quorum Min.Fav.Vote Absentee Voting?
Bylaws Change 25% 66% Yes
Articles of Incorporation Change 25% 66% Yes
Suspension of Rules of Order 25% 66% No
Major Property Purchase/Sale 25% 66% Yes
Organizational Dissolution 50% 90% Yes
Member financially profit from association with GAR 25% 66% Yes


§1.0 Execution of Instruments
The President, the Vice President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer, with the approval of the Executive Committee, may enter into contracts and execute and deliver any instrument in the name and on behalf of the Corporation. The Executive Committee may authorize other agents to enter into specific contracts and execute and deliver specific instruments in the name and on behalf of the Corporation.

§2.0 Financial Reports
At the first executive committee meeting in the new fiscal year, the treasurer shall present a financial report for approval by the executive committee. The financial report shall set forth cash on hand and in banks, actual cash receipts and disbursements for the previous fiscal year and a budget for the new fiscal year.

§3.0 Check-Signing Authority
The President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer have the authority to sign checks on behalf of the Corporation. They may do so in the normal course of business without explicit Executive Committee approval for individual transactions. The Executive Committee may also grant such authority to other persons on an as-needed basis. The Executive Committee or its designated representative will conduct a monthly review of all bank statements, receipts, and disbursements.

§4.0 Major Purchases and Sales of Property
Before entering into transactions for capital purchases or sales with a value of $10,000 or more, the Executive Committee must inform the Membership of the proposed transaction and receive approval at a business meeting of the Corporation as indicated in Article VI, Section 4.6.


§1.0 Purpose.
The purpose of the GAR Leadership Advisory Council (“Council”) is to facilitate the efforts of GAR by working within the community for GAR’s benefit, promoting GAR to other organizations, promoting GAR to governmental bodies, encouraging and soliciting donations to GAR, and supporting the organization in any other beneficial way as determined by either the Council or The Executive Committee. The Council is an advisory committee, with no fiduciary, operational, or legal duties.

2.0 Council Members

§2.1 The Council shall be appointed by the GAR Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall announce to the membership, at least 21 days prior to a vote, that it is seeking nominations for the Council. Any GAR member in good standing may nominate a person for the Council . Membership in GAR is not required to be a member of the Council.

§2.2 Council members shall be elected by the Executive Committee. If only one Council position is being filled at the particular Executive Meeting, then the election shall be by majority vote. If more than one Council position is being filled at such meeting, then each Executive member shall receive the same number of votes as the positions being filled, and the Council positions shall be filled by the persons receiving the highest number of votes. In the event of a tie, such position shall be filled by a majority vote in a runoff ballot. In case of an interim vacancy, the Executive Committee shall announce the vacancy, as provided for herein, and fill the vacancy for the remainder of the vacated term. No absentee voting is allowed for electing the Council.

§2.3 There may be up to 15 Council members serving 3 year staggered terms. In the year of implementation, the Executive Committee may appoint up to 5 Council members to 3 year terms, up to 5 members to 2 year terms, and up to 5 members to 1 year terms. Thereafter, each year the Executive Committee may appoint up to 5 members to fill any expiring positions to 3 year terms. There is no limit on the number of terms that can be served by a member. Terms shall run from November 1 through October 31.

§2.4 Council members may serve on the boards of any other organization as they so desire.

§2.5 GAR shall provide Director and Officer Insurance for the Council.

§2.6 Any Council member may be removed by a 2/3 vote of the current members.

§3.0 Meetings

§3.1 The Council shall elect a Chair and a Secretary, who shall serve one year terms, with no limit on the number of consecutive terms in such position.

§3.2 The Council shall endeavor to meet at least twice per year. All such meetings to be called by the Chair upon 7 days emailed notice to the Council members and the Executive Committee; by the agreement of a majority of the Council by the sending of an email to all Council members and Executive Committee members with each such Council member calling said meeting being listed on the email; or by a vote of the Executive Committee.

§3.3 The Council meetings may be informal, but shall follow Roberts Rules of Order in the event of a request at such meeting by a member. The meetings shall be open to any member of the Executive Committee, and shall be attended by the GAR President. The meetings are not required to be open to the GAR membership, but may be if so decided by the Council.

§3.4 Minutes shall be taken and provided to the Executive Committee no later than four weeks after the meeting.

§4.0 Duties

§4.1 All Council members shall support GAR.

§4.2 The Council shall support GAR by fundraising, soliciting donations, performing special projects, or engaging in public relations and outreach, as requested by the Executive Committee. The Council may make recommendations directly to the Executive Committee about any matter or issue, but is not required to do so.

§4.3 Any funds raised or solicited shall be payable to GAR, deposited into GAR’s accounts, and accounted by the GAR Treasurer.

§4.4 The Council Chair and Secretary may receive monthly bank statements of GAR from the GAR Treasurer via email, and may have access to all GAR records upon written notice, including viewing access to the financial information contained in QuickBooks maintained by the GAR Treasurer, per the discretion of the Executive Committee.

§4.5 Any audits of GAR financial accounts may be disclosed to the Council, , and copies of any such audits may be provided to the Council Chair and Secretary by the Executive Committee

§4.6 The Board Chair and Secretary may share any such financial or audit information with other Council members upon request.

§4.7 The GAR President and Treasurer, to the best of their ability, shall answer any questions presented by the Council regarding GAR finances or operation of the corporation.

§4.8 The Council shall assist the Executive Committee on ensuring all IRS tax returns are filed in a timely manner, and that the corporation complies with any governmental or regulatory requirements for non-profit corporations.

Legal Copy available for downloading.

GAR Executive Committee job descriptions:

The President shall preside at all meetings and perform the duties that usually devolve upon this office; shall set and call meetings of the Executive Committee; shall, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee, appoint all standing committees, and such other committees as shall be deemed necessary, except the Nominating Committee; shall appoint all non-committee, unelected positions; shall be a member ex-officio of all committees except the Nominating Committee; shall maintain relations with Tacachale and the University of Florida.

Vice President
The Vice President shall preside at all meetings in the absence of the President; shall assist the President when requested; shall recruit and manage volunteers; shall draft policies and procedures; shall manage the GAR website, and perform other administrative matters.

The Secretary shall keep the records of the Executive Board meetings and membership meetings; shall be custodian of the corporation’s records and documents; shall arrange to keep a complete roster of all members of the corporation; shall perform background checks as required by law; and oversee the updating publishing of corporate policies.

The Treasurer shall collect and disburse all funds of the corporation; shall account for them in written form at all meetings as called for; shall reconcile bank accounts; shall make an annual financial report to the members of the Executive Committee; shall file the annual report with the Secretary of State; and shall arrange to have books of the corporation audited, at the request of the Executive Committee.

Development Director
The Development Director shall form relationships with large gift donors, approach potential donors for contributions, develop and maintain a database of donors and potential donors, and coordinate stewardship efforts for past donors. The Development Director can also perform grant writing as a means of securing financial contributions.

Facilities Director
The Facilities Director shall oversee maintenance and repair of facilities, equipment and grounds, including the updating of maintenance logs; shall engage in a leadership role for all capital projects, and shall organize work parties.

Fundraising Director
The Fundraising Director shall develop, coordinate and execute the corporation’s fundraising events; and shall work with the Treasurer to maintain accurate records of individual fundraising accounts for youth rowers and assist youth rowers with meeting their required fundraising obligation.

Public Relations Director
The Public Relations Director shall develop and coordinate efforts to promote GAR; shall maintain and expand GAR social media and print opportunities; shall promote GAR branding; and shall notify various print and online media of all significant GAR accomplishments and recruiting efforts.

Master Rowers’ Liaison
The Master Rowers’ Liaison shall be the liaison between the Executive Committee and GAR master rowers.

Rowing Director
Head Coach of GAR

Conflict of Interest Policy

No member of the GAR Executive Committee (“Officer”) shall participate in any discussion or vote on any transaction in which he or she may have a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest exists when such Officer, or his or her immediate family, has direct or indirect financial interest regarding the transaction being discussed. When such a situation presents itself, the Officer must announce his or her potential conflict, disqualify himself or herself, and be excused from the meeting until discussion on the transaction is concluded. The chair of the meeting is expected to make inquiry if such conflict appears to exist and the Officer has not made it known. Any transaction must also comply with GAR Bylaws. Officers shall annually certify compliance with the policy.

Transaction means, but is not limited to, the sale, lease, or exchange of property to or from GAR; the lending of moneys to or borrowing of moneys from GAR; and the payment of compensation for services provided to or from GAR.

Immediate family means father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law.

This policy is meant to comply with section 496.4055, F.S.