Frequently Asked Questions

What do I wear for rowing?
Rowing is a water sport; expect to get wet at some point, either from rain, waves, splashing oars or possibly flipping a single. Wear comfortable clothing, but don’t wear long t-shirts or really baggy shorts/pants. Make sure what you wear can get wet (you will get wet) and can get dirty. Don’t wear expensive sunglasses on the top of your head because they will likely fall in the lake. Bring or wear socks.
Since we wade into the water to launch the boats, footwear needs to protect your feet from gravel, rocks and shells. Neoprene and rubber kayak or diving booties are popular. No sandals may be worn while rowing as they may get trapped in the boat, although you may wear them while launching. Many rowers take off their foot wear once in the boat and wear thick socks while rowing.
Where do I park?
The Otsego Land Trust/Brookwood Gardens have made a special request that people park only in the grass area along the road and only to drive beyond the teahouse to unload vehicle.
What else should I bring?
There is no running water at the boathouse, so bring a reusable water bottle or two. For sun protection, we recommend putting on sun screen before practice and wearing a baseball cap. Because you will likely get wet, bring an extra, dry set of clothes. If your camp will be several hours, you may be asked to pack a lunch.
What is the Refund/Transfer/Credit policy?
There is a $50 cancellation fee for all registration. If you withdraw from a program prior to the start date, you may receive a FULL REFUND less a $50 cancellation fee. NO REFUNDS will be given once a program has started (unless there is a medical reason where participation is not possible).
Why are there attendance requirements for the programs?
For our instructional programs, OAR asks that participants attend at least 75% of the program’s sessions. If you cannot attend the first week of any given session or know you will not be able to meet the minimum attendance requirement, please register for a program at a later date.
It’s raining, do we still have class?
Yes—we row in the rain! Instructional programs meet as scheduled, rain or shine. If severe lightning, wind, or storms are present, participants will not be permitted on the water. There may be an alternative indoor instructional class. If a class is cancelled, the coach will send a text message to the contacts listed.
What if I can’t make a class?
Contact the coach as soon as possible.
Swim Tests
Why do I need to complete a swim test? 
Rowing takes place on the water, and while falling out of the boat is unlikely, it is possible. Therefore, each OAR member and learner must prove his or her ability to swim.
What type of swim test do I need?  
A certified lifeguard must confirm in writing that you are able to swim 100 yards and remain afloat for 5 minutes before you are permitted to row in club boats. For your protection and the protection of Otsego Area Rowing, we make NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy. 
Where can I complete my swim test?  
Participants are responsible for finding a certified lifeguard to watch them perform the swim test and sign the form. Lifeguards can be found at municipal pools, YMCAs, schools and colleges, and recreational facilities. It is recommended that individuals call ahead to confirm swim test hours and fees.
When is my swim test due? 
Swim test documents must be received no later than the first day of the program in which you are participating. Please make sure to write your name on your swim test before turning it in. You can mail in your swim test before the start of your program.
Can I register for my program without a swim test? 
You may register before completing your swim test. The swim test form can be downloaded from the website and submitted upon completion. We highly recommend that you keep a copy of the signed form for your records.
What if I haven’t taken my swim test yet?
A registered rower without a valid swim test form will be asked to wear a life preserver until he or she can provide written proof of his or her swimming ability.
Can I use a swim test from another source?
If you have current swim, lifeguard, or scuba certification documents, copies may be submitted to fulfill the swim requirement.
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