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We're a group of men and women who like to row whaleboats (lifeboats). We've been doing it since 1979. We live all over the Bay Area, we have all sorts of jobs and our age range goes from early 20's to over 60! That's our men's team in the photo to the right, rowing in our boat, Iron Oars.

Iron Oars Rowing Club is a member of the Bay Area Whaleboat Rowing Association (BAWRA), which provides support for the whaleboat teams and races in San Francisco, Oakland and Vallejo.

Take a look at About the Boat if you want to learn more about the whaleboats and their history.

Practices and Races

We practice in the boat on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from March to mid-June, and again from August to the end of October. We run "rookie practices" at the beginning of each season for people new to rowing. We're racing on many of the last six Saturdays of each season.

From our home berth at South Beach Harbor/Pier 40 in San Francisco, we row up and down the waterfront and around Treasure Island, or Alcatraz...or Angel Island. We're on our way back from Angel Island in the picture below. We row back and forth to Berkeley and Oakland for the races that take place there. That's a lot of rowing!

So if you like a good hard workout, some fun races, rowing out in the bay, and plenty of great people, give us a try!!

Contact us at and we'll get you on the boat!


Our home berth is South Beach Harbor / Pier 40, Townsend at the Embarcadero in San Francisco -- by ATT Park. There’s parking in the lot at the head of Townsend. You can also take the trolleys or walk from downtown SF. We sometimes dock at Hyde Street Harbor in SF or at Embarcadero Cove on the Oakland Estuary to be closer to races held in those locations.

Practice Schedule

We practice Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. People row two to three practices a week.


Come out and see if you like it. And we can see how you do. If you join and race in the spring, our fees are $265 for the calendar year. This includes your racing team t-shirt, insurance and race fees. You pay $105 if you join in the fall. When you come back the next spring, our yearly fees are $475. That covers docking fees, boat maintenance, insurance and race fees. When the dust clears, it's not a very expensive sport for the amount of time we spend in the boat!




What to bring/wear:

We row rain or shine, so bring appropriate gear. Even sunny days turn cool on the water, so bring it all! Most people bring on board a small backpack or bag for gear. Bring/wear:

  • Water – even on cool days
  • T-shirt, sweatshirt, windbreaker, hat, sunglasses, etc.
  • Rubber-soled shoes (most any sort of athletic shoe is ok, white sole is best to reduce scuffs)
  • Gloves -- the kind with fingers exposed like those used for bicycles or weightlifting. If you don’t have any, we usually have an extra pair or two kicking around the boat.
  • Pants: Most people wear two pair of pants:
    • Inner shorts that are tight fitting like tri-athlete shorts (spandex/cotton)
    • Outer pants, long or short, that have a smooth finish, such as:
      • a second pair of tri-athlete shorts with a smooth/shinny finish
      • looser soccer-type shorts with a smooth/shinny finish
      • windbreaker pants with a smooth/shinny finish
      • you get the point

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