top of page
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Bow Certification

Baltimore Community Rowing promotes the sport of rowing for fitness, competition, and recreation for residents of the Baltimore Metro area. 

Baltimore Rowing offers two levels of bow certification for those who wish to use club singles separately from coached sessions or at regattas. Applicants must be an adult member in good standing, 18 years of age or over, and have graduated high school. 

Baltimore Community Rowing does not afford Bow Certification privileges to rowers under 18 years old. Junior rowers may, however, with a coach's approval, race club singles at regattas. Additionally, adult rowers who are not Bow Certified and who are participating in a coached program may race club singles at regattas with a coach's approval. 

Apply for Certification

To apply for Bow Certification, please download the Bow Certification Checklist & Swim Test Forms.

Applicants for Bow Certification must complete their skills as part of the Open, Development, or Competitive programs. Meters rowed in the Foundations of Rowing or Juniors program do not count toward Bow Certification. The Bow Certification Checklist should be printed and signatures shall be obtained from the coaching staff of the Open, Development, or Competitive programs as skills are completed.

The skills checklist is designed to ensure that rowers know how to safely navigate BCR's traffic patterns, commercial and recreational boat traffic, and have the skills to maneuver a boat safetly and independently. A flip test is required, and must be taken in open water. BCR often partners with a local pool to provide flip test practice for individuals who may want to practice or refresh their flip-test skills in a controlled setting.

Separate from the boathouse, rowers applying for Bow Certification must take a swim test, completing 10 minutes of treading water and 50 yards of continuous swimming (any stroke), per USRowing safety standards. Athletes may take a swim test at any community pool under the observation of a lifeguard, and shall have that lifeguard sign off on the swim test form.

Once each of the requirements has been met, the swim test has been completed, and all signatures have been obtained, please send completed documents to Newly certified rowers will be provided with further instructions and a list of  BCR shells that may then be rowed based on experience, weight, and other factors. Bow Certification also allows a rower the opportunity to join the waitlist for reserving rack space for a private shell.

For more information on the bow certification process, please contact Baltimore Community Rowing at:

Required Safety Equipment

Bow certified rowers rowing independently from a coached program shall carry at all times:

  • A personal floatation device - can be inflatable and can be stowed in the boat - this is a MD Department of Natural Resources requirement

  • Cell phone w/phone numbers of BCR contacts

  • Whistle or other sound signaling devices

  • A key fob for reentry into the boathouse

Equipment Care & Use

Bow Certified rowers must demonstrate knowledge of how to reserve equipment and log equipment in and out in iCrew. All boats, whether club or personal shells, must be reserved and logged in and out in iCrew in addition to the paper log book at the boathouse.

Club equipment may only be reserved at times that coached sessions are not scheduled; coached sessions retain priority usage on all club equipment during their designated program times.

When leaving the boathouse, either for the water or for the day, all access doors at the boathouse must be locked. Key fob access to the boathouse is granted by Baltimore City Recreation & Parks and may be limited depending on how many key fobs are available. A deposit is required by the City to obtain a key fob and a replacement fee will be charged for lost fobs. Bow Certification does not guarantee access to a boathouse key fob.

Rowers are responsible for cleaning their equipment appropriately with soap and water before returning it to racks, paying special attention to cleaning the seat tracks and rinsing the hull well.

Rowers must log damage noted in a club shell in iCrew immediately upon returning the boat to racks. If damage occured as part of a collision on the water or on land, an incident report should be filed in iCrew.

For instructions on all reports, reserving a shell, and logging it in/out, please see the iCrew users guide.

Bowing Larger Boats

Bow Certified rowers wishing to use club doubles and quads outside of a coached program will be required to demonstrate a working knowledge of the commands needed to bow a double or quad, with an emphasis on the additional responsibility for the safety of all crew members that comes with bowing larger boats. All rowers in all seats of a larger boat must be bow certified. 


- George Pocock

bottom of page