All BWRC members in good standing may sign up for any open row (when seats are not specifically assigned by Coach). You will type your name in the Google Doc spreadsheet and later Coach will assign your seat. The spreadsheet link is emailed to members, and you can bookmark it just like a web site. Sign up for as many days as you want -- we only ask that if you sign up for a certain day and then can't make it, erase your name immediately and find a sub if the boat sign-up deadline has passed and seats have been assigned. If too many people sign up to row, Coach will decide whose turn it is and fill the boat seats fairly.
What to Wear
Please wear socks, non-baggy shirts (or tuck them into your pants) and stretchy shorts or track pants. You cannot row in jeans! The sun is usually either rising or setting on us so wear a cap or sunvisor too. You can wear rings but you may get blisters from them. Wear stable, non-slippery shoes such as running shoes (no flip-flops please) for carrying the launch (Coach's motor boat) and boat back and forth from the dock and boathouse.
Please be at the boathouse at least 15 minutes prior to our scheduled rowing time. If we are scheduled to hit the water at 5:30 AM, you should be gathered by the boathouse by 5:15 AM. Come a little early to put the oars down in the oar tree.
Try to park on the Alabama Crew boathouse side of the road with Alabama Crew rowers. The women's team parks on the other side. If it gets too crowded you can also park outside the gate.
In the Boathouse
NEVER step over a boat, always walk around.
Listen carefully to your coxswain's directions to pick up our boat. Although there is some variation, usually everything is done on the count of two. The first direction is "hands on" and next comes "ready to lift in two: one - two (lift on "two"). We may need to tilt the boat to walk it out of the boathouse so the riggers don't collide with other boats' riggers. When walking the boat out, you'll have it waist high tilted one way or the other. Watch the riggers CAREFULLY so you don't hit them on other boat riggers or hit your own back or head on other riggers.
Once the boat is clear of the boathouse, you'll even it out (untilt) and get ready to go to shoulders. WAIT for the coxswain to call this and try to move with everyone else. Once we reach the dock entry platform, you'll get ready to go overhead, and up.
Once you arrive at the end of the dock, you'll be instructed to put your toes to the edge and roll it in the water. Listen for instructions of who will get the oars (port or starboard rowers) and who will stay with the boat and open oarlocks. You can keep your shoes on the dock or carry them in the boat. We recommend that you bring bottled water as well. The coxswain will carry it down for you or you can stick it in the back of your spandex pants.
After your oar is secured in the oarlock, check your seat to see if it's rolling properly, and if there is time adjust your footstretcher. If there are other boats waiting we may do this on the water later. Double-check that your rigger nuts and bolts are secure. When everyone is ready the coxswain will ask the starboards to run out their oars. Usually we all get in the boat at the same time with the call "One foot on the strip -- down and in." Keep holding your oar at all times.
The only place you may step into the boat is on the "strip" which in our boat is a white rectangle stuck on, made of non-slip material. Rowing shells are very thin and you can put a hole through the boat if you step down into the footstretcher area.
When getting in the boat, starboard rowers should have their oars flat on the water, design side DOWN to stabilize the boat and port rowers should rest their blades on the dock with the design side UP so it doesn't get scratched off. Next secure your stockinged feet in the shoes with the release string across the top, place your free hand on the dock. The coxswain will call "Shove in two - one two" and hopefully everyone gives a nice even push to send us clear of the dock. As soon as possible, port rowers place blades flat on the water to stabilize the boat.
There should be no talking in the boat so you can hear what the coach and coxswain say. In an emergency always do what coach says first, then cox (such as "hold water"). Rowers are not to give orders unless bow seat sees something nobody else does (like a giant submerged log coming near). If you need to get your coach's or cox's attention you can raise your hand like in school!
Keep your eyes in the boat, even if you are holding the set. You need to see if the boat is off to port or starboard and adjust accordingly. You can glance at the herons and foxes, but never while rowing. If something happens to a rower in front of you, you need to immediately take action in order to avoid hitting him or her in the back with your oar handle. Although it's tempting, try not to constantly look at your blade as you row to check the height. If you are off, you will surely hear about it from cox or coach! Do everything you can to keep your weight centered in the boat.
Watch your dockside blade (usually port side) as we come into the dock and lift it design-side up just as you reach the dock. Keep your blade flat on the water as long as you can until we dock. Everyone will lean slightly away to put the dockside riggers just over the dock - do not lean so much that your outside riggers are in the water. After you are called to get out of the boat by the coxswain, starboards pull in their oars and everyone will open the gates of the oarlock and remove the blades. The coxswain will call who stays with the boat to close oarlocks and who will take the oars up to the oar tree. This must all be done quickly and efficiently if others are docking or coming down to the dock.
Returning the Boat
When lifting the boat out, the coxswain will call "Hands on, ready to lift, and lift (straight to overhead). Walk it up the ramp. When you are called to go to shoulders, be sure you do not stick your head inside a rigger!