UPDATE June 2023 – We have taken the decision to pause the introductory sessions for the moment. We’ve had a significant influx of new members already this year, and we need to take some time for them to ‘bed in’ as it were, so that our balance of experienced rowers to new rowers is maintained. This situation will be reviewed in 3 month.

You will need to have booked your session in advance. Once you have expressed an interest then the New Member Secretary will contact you to arrange a session.

Our Location

We launch our training boat ‘Avocet’ from the dinghy park (along from the Sailing Club) at Shelly Beach, into the estuary. We gather on the beach (sorry no Clubhouse).

Parking is on the streets or at Camperdown Car Park (with a 3-minute walk).

What to Expect

Before any rowing can take place we will need to launch the boat. Everyone is expected to help out with this task but you will be given instructions on how to aid this process safely.

You will then be assigned a seat number from one to six (numbers start from the bow). If it is your first session then a few demonstrations will take place to give you an idea of what to do before you head out on the water for your session.

The typical journey for a new rower is to complete three intro sessions with us. Those who have rowing experience already may not need to complete all three.

You will cover:

  • Sitting correctly, setting up the stretcher bar (the footrest), position of the oar between the pins and the “start” position.
  • How to pull a “stroke” – the position and movement of the oar through the water and the movement of your body to facilitate this.
  • How to “recover” – returning both the oar and your body to the starting position.
  • The main commands the cox might give you
  • “Catching a crab” drill – what to do if your oar becomes stuck under the water.
  • How to row as a crew – rowing is all about timing.

The boat will go out for 3 or 4 sessions of approximately 45 minutes – you may not be in the first session so please expect some waiting around. This is good a chance to chat and get to know us!


As the Exe Estuary passes between Exmouth Marina and Dawlish Warren it narrows to just 100m. When we get large tides this water is squeezed through this gap creating very strong currents.

Intro sessions are organised when tides are small so that new rowers can learn the ropes in safe conditions.

So you may need to be patient after applying for a seat.

The Crews

Crews for Intro Sessions are carefully balanced with experienced rowers for your safety. Please make sure you are on time to meet your crew and go out together.

The Costs

Intro Sessions are:

  • £5 each or
  • 3 for £10.

After three sessions, you are invited to join the club for £110 for the year.

We row regular Club Sessions on:

  • Thursday evenings – from 5.30pm (summer only).
  • Saturday mornings – from 9.00am (all year).
  • Sunday mornings – from 10.00am (winter only)

Mixed crews on club sessions practice technique and enjoy the exercise. There are also opportunities to try out regatta racing and maybe join a racing crew, otherwise, we arrange social rows for example to Topsham or the River Exe Cafe.

WARNING! Gig Rowing is HIGHLY Addictive…

Hear what our rowers say about their sport:

“The club is for everyone, for all ages and for abilities. I enjoy a bit of everything, from social rows up to Topsham, stopping mid-river at the Exe Café for a drink or just having a catch up on the beach after a club row. Sometimes I even do some rowing!”

“Just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I can’t compete. I’m one of the oldest members at the club and I still love the odd race in the Supervets category.”

“I want to keep fit (and lose weight) and rowing uses more muscles than most sports AND its low impact. Meaning I can look after my health without risk of injury.”

“I thought I was a quiet character until I joined a crew for a regatta. Now I’m so competitive I train 3 times a week and cant wait for the next race.”

“Getting selected for a crew is a wonderful feeling. Its done on ability, fitness and how everyone fits together – its not just the same people being picked over again. I was a complete novice and in just one season I managed rowed for my club at the county championships and even represented Devon!”

What to Bring 

This depends entirely on the weather but it is good practice to come well prepared. A list of things you may find useful are below. There is normally someone waiting onshore so your bags can be safely left with them: 

  • Warm layer(s)
  • Waterproof Coat 
  • Warm over trousers 
  • Water bottle 
  • Sun hat 
  • Sun glasses 
  • A drink
  • A pair of old shoes / trainers that you do not mind getting wet!

What to Wear 

Again this depends on the weather so please think sensibly. You won’t want to wear 3 layers and a pair of leggings in beaming sunshine! 

As a guide, in summer conditions most rowers will wear a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and perhaps sweatshirt to start with (stowing their waterproof under the seat). In winter this might be increased to leggings, two layers and a waterproof over the top.

The cox will be stopping the boat a number of times out on the water so you can adjust the number of layers you are wearing.

You can expect to get your feet wet up to your knees so please wear old foot wear and short or trousers which you can roll up if you’d like to.

Other Notes

The nearest toilets are the Dockside Cafe or the Beach Pub.

We do leave bags on the beach but don’t leave valuables in them (small items can be kept under your seat in the boat). The club has no responsibilities for items left on the beach.

We look forward to meeting you!