Types of Rowing Boats: An Comprehensive Guide to Help You Select One

Rowing is a highly engaging water sport that blends athleticism, teamwork, and the beauty of being on the water. Finding the best rowing boat can determine the experience for beginners and advanced rowers alike is of utmost importance to an enjoyable and rewarding rowing journey.

For starters, there are various types of rowing boats designed to meet various requirements and environments. Therefore, understanding each type's features, performance capabilities, and suitability for various rowing environments is important for making an informed choice when selecting a rowing vessel.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various types of rowing boats, including sculls and sweep boats, to assist in making informed choices when selecting their next rowing vessel!

A Look at Sculling Boats

Sculling boats are specifically designed for rowers using two oars in each hand to row. Sculling boats provide great maneuverability and can be used for single, double, and quad sculling. Here are some popular types of sculling boats:

Single Sculls

Rowing single sculls is ideal for rowers of any experience level to expand their individual skill development and fine-tune their technique. Their lightweight construction allows rowers to develop precise control of their boats, while competitive racing makes this an excellent choice.

Double Sculls

These boats feature two rowers each using two oars. Teamwork between rowers is critical in double sculls.

They’re popular for recreational rowing and racing purposes, providing an ideal balance of individual skill and team dynamics.

Quad Sculls

Quad sculls are rowing boats intended for four rowers using two oars each. Often found at competitive rowing events, quad sculls require effective coordination among all members in order to achieve optimal performance.

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Sweep Boats: Powerful Rowing Boats

Rowing sweep boats, which employ two rowers using one oar between their hands, are popular among larger rowing teams due to their power and speed.

Let's explore some popular types of sweep boats:

Coxed Pair Boats

Coxed pair boats are two-person boats with a coxswain who guides and directs their rowers, guiding one side of the vessel and coaching from another side.

These vessels are often used for training purposes, giving rowers an excellent opportunity to develop their technique under guidance from an experienced coxswain.

Coxless Pair

A coxless pair is similar to a coxed pair but without an experienced coxswain, requiring strong communication and coordination between its rowers. Coxless pairs are commonly seen at competitive rowing events to test skills and coordinate among rowers.

Coxed Fours

A coxed four is a four-person boat equipped with a coxswain that offers an optimal blend of power and precision, making it a popular choice for training and competitive rowing. Coxed fours also allow rowers to foster teamwork skills under guidance from their coxswain.


The eighth boat is the largest sweep boat commonly associated with both collegiate and competitive rowing. Featuring eight rowers plus a coxswain for maximum power and speed, its design requires perfect synchronization among rowers for maximum efficiency and thrills on its waterways. Rowing one can be both thrilling and demanding!

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Rowing Boat

When purchasing a rowing boat, several key considerations must be met in order to select an optimal boat that matches both your needs and preferences:

Skill Level

Assess your rowing experience and skill level before selecting a boat. Beginners may find it more comfortable to start rowing on stable boats, such as wider single sculls or larger sweep boats, before progressing onto more advanced and narrower options.


Set your intended rowing boat usage objectives; are you using it for recreation, fitness or competition? Different boats have been designed with specific purposes, so select one that aligns with your desired goals.

Water Conditions

Take into consideration the conditions you will row in. For instance, calm lakes or rivers require boats with less stability, while rougher or open waters might necessitate more secure vessels that provide seaworthy performance.

Weight and Portability

Consider weight and portability when shopping for a boat, especially if you plan to transport it frequently. Lighter vessels are easier to handle and transport, though their additional expense could outweigh their advantages.


When setting a rowing boat budget, remember the prices can differ depending on its type, material and brand. Achieving a balance between your desired features and performance at an acceptable cost is key to successful purchase decisions.

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Final Thoughts

Selecting the ideal rowing boat is paramount to having an enjoyable and successful rowing experience. No matter your experience level, understanding different types of boats, their features and their suitability for different environments is necessary when making this important decision.

Consider factors like skill level, purpose, water conditions, weight portability and budget when making this important choice - doing so will enhance your rowing journey while building fitness, teamwork and experiencing life on the water!

And when you come to a decision you’re happy with, look through our collection of inflatable rowing boats at Perun Outdoors. We’ll deliver a boat that provides smooth water adventures every time. Happy rowing!

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