Rowing Program

Dolphin Club members have rowed on the San Francisco Bay since 1877. Today we maintain a diverse fleet of 40 boats including traditional wooden boats and contemporary fiberglass racing shells. Dolphin rowers run the gamut from beginners to experts and our members include former Olympic rowers, former collegiate rowers, and many who first pulled an oar after joining this club. Our rowers engage in a variety of rowing activities including races, trips, and leisure cruising. Once a year club rowers undertake the mother of all rows; a three-day, 100-mile trip up the Sacramento River to Sacramento, CA.

Only Dolphin Club members who have been certified in our training program may row our boats. Once certified, rowers are free to take boats onto the bay on their own schedule and within the limits of our safety rules.

Aquatic Park Boathouse
This is the primary club boathouse on Jefferson Street. The majority of our fleet is here as well as our wooden boat shop and the main club building. This is where we launch from to row on the bay.

Lake Merced Boathouse
The Dolphin Club maintains a boathouse at Lake Merced where certified members can row flat-water shells. Only experienced shell rowers are allowed to row at Lake Merced. If you have never rowed in a shell before, the process to go from complete beginner to competent in a shell can take 12-weeks or more, depending on how determined you are to practice. We do not offer a training program at the Lake Merced Boathouse. All shell-training and certification must be accomplished from the Aquatic Park Boathouse before you can be considered for the Lake Merced Boathouse.

Although there are few formal regattas informal racing can occur any time two boats get together on the water. While several members out at Lake Merced have received national as well as international recognition most members row for recreational purposes. The Lake Merced boathouse is owned by the city of San Francisco and leased to the club.

One of the main events that brings together both swimmers and rowers are Club organized out-of-cove swims. These are swim competitions that happen in the bay. Swimmers either start from a beach or jump from a boat and swim back to aquatic park. Rowers, kayakers, and SUPers have a unique role in these events as Pilots. Pilots act as shepherd and lookout, guiding swimmers back the club ensuring that the swimmers take advantage of the best currents, whilst also keeping an eye out for boat traffic that could interfere or injure the pod of swimmers.

Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards
The club owns several kayaks and stand up paddle boards for recreational and pilot use. A number of members also store kayaks at the club. Like our rowboats, there are classes taught on how to use our kayaks and SUPs. These are separate from Basic Rowing Training.

If you have questions about our rowing program please contact us at