Frequently Asked Questions

Some things you should know about rowing, MCRA, and the facility

Information Updated 5/3/15

How do I get started?

If you’re new to rowing, consider our Learn-to-row classes. No rowing experience is necessary. Send us an email at to let us know you’re interested. You’ll also need to fill out the USRowing Waiver and MCRA Required Info forms (see the forms page of our website).

Learn-to-row classes are composed of four 90 minute sessions, with four participants and a coach.

Will I get wet?

Usually not. We’ve added a dock for the 2015 rowing season, so if all goes well you can launch your boat right from the dock and not have to wade into the river. Of course if you’re doing a “flip test”, then getting wet will be inevitable.mcra1

Should I be in good physical condition to start rowing?

While rowing is regarded as low impact, you need to be prepared as well. Some organizations ask you to perform a simple 3 part assessment of your own:

1. Lift 30 lbs. over your head; twice is good. (You will get to help carry a bulky 150 lb. boat.)
2. Do a deep knee bend: twice is good. (Your legs are an important part of the stroke.)
3. Get up from a sitting position on the floor. Your hands can touch but not your knees.
(You have to get in and out of the boat in shallow water.)

If you start a Program, please consider rowing as only one component of your
physical conditioning. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

If it’s raining, do we still row?

Yes – we do row in the rain! Instructional programs meet as scheduled, rain or shine. If severe lightning, wind, fog, or storms are present, the Coach may make the decision to stay off the river.

Please note there is no building at MCRA.

What should I wear?

Always dress in LAYERS. Dress appropriately for the weather, including a windbreaker or Gore-Tex shell if necessary. Make sure you are able to shed layers easily as you begin to warm up. Your rowing clothes will get DIRTY. Don’t wear clothing that can’t get dirty to the Boatyard. Clothing should be both COMFY and SNUG. Like cycling clothing, it should allow you to move freely, but should not be baggy. Baggy pants, shorts, shirts and especially sweatshirts tend to get stuck in the sliding seat or oars. Please reserve cotton clothing for the warmest days. Bringing a dry change of clothing and a towel is recommended.

Are there shower/locker rooms at MCRA?

No, the only amenity available is a portable toilet supplied by the Town of Brunswick in the parking lot for the bike path.

Are my personal belongings secure?

No, all participants are advised to leave any valuables in their cars to ensure the security of their personal items. MCRA is not responsible for items stolen from the Boatyard or the parking lot. You may bring a very small dry bag to bring your keys and wallet with you in the rowing shell. Please take appropriate measures to protect your belongings.

Why should I become a member?

Membership with MCRA is a valuable choice for the rower that falls into one or more of
the following categories:

1. For rowers with challenging schedules becoming an member allows you to reserve and check out MCRA’s boats at your convenience.
 You must be certified by a coach or board member before you can check out boats on your own. Membership alone does not guarantee that you will be certified. Once you meet the requirements, you can take out one of our many singles or sign up with similar skilled rowers to sweep row in a four. You can sign up one month at a time if you’re only in town for a short while, or sign up for the whole season.

2. For rowers wishing to store a boat at MCRA’s facility for easy access to the river, membership gets you access to private storage of a single in our boat racks. Space on these racks is very limited, so check availability with us first if you intend to store a boat at our facility. In addition, your membership allows you to receive the reduced coached price if you desire to hone your skills with coached instruction in one of our many programs, and also allows you to check out club boats (pending certification by a coach or board member).

3. If you’re a rower who wishes to participate in four or more coached programs over the season, membership and its reduced coaching fees may save you money. This gives you the best rate for Coached Programs, and would allow you to use MCRA’s equipment on your own, provided your rowing proficiency allows. Learn-to-Row courses do not have a reduced coaches fee.

4. Rowers who do not want to commit as an member can still sign up for Individual Classes/Programs.

In all the above categories, individuals must meet certain capability standards, successfully complete a flip test to row a single, demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of the MCRA safety procedures and follow all MCRA safety guidelines.
 Individuals who have not previously been certified by MCRA must complete a swim test (except for those enrolled only in Learn-to-Row classes).

If I’m a member, which boats can I use?

MCRA recognizes four proficiency levels: Learn-to-Row, Novice, Experienced, and Captain. Our Safety Guidelines includes table showing which boats can be used for these proficiency levels.

Is a Swim Test required?

Swim tests are required by all participants (except those previously certified by MCRA and those enrolled in a Learn-to-Row class). To complete a swim test you will need to contact the water safety personnel at a pool or swimming area and ask them to supervise the activities listed on the swim test form. Please be aware some rowers do wear a life vest, and our Coaching Launch carries life vests for everyone.

Are Private lessons available?

Yes, Please contact us.

Simple Calendar

March 2, 2018
  • Dare to Be
    Starts:March 2, 2018 - 7:00 pm
    Ends: March 2, 2018 - 9:00 pm

March 3, 2018
  • Dare to Be Snowday
    Starts:March 3, 2018 - 7:00 pm
    Ends: March 3, 2018 - 9:00 pm

March 26, 2018
  • First Day of Junior Rowing
    Starts:March 26, 2018 - 12:00 am
    Ends: March 26, 2018 - 11:59 pm

March 28, 2018
  • Junior Ergata
    Starts:March 28, 2018 - 12:00 am
    Ends: March 28, 2018 - 11:59 pm

April 28, 2018
  • MCRA Boatyard Spring Cleanup
    Starts:April 28, 2018 - 12:00 am
    Ends: April 28, 2018 - 11:59 pm

May 20, 2018
  • Moose on the Malden 2018
    Starts:May 20, 2018 - 12:00 am
    Ends: May 20, 2018 - 11:59 pm

June 3, 2018
  • Maine Youth Rowing Association Regatta (Tentative)
    Starts:June 3, 2018 - 12:00 am
    Ends: June 3, 2018 - 11:59 pm