British Rowing membership keeps rising

British Rowing Membership – Growth & New Members

Since August 2012 approximately 11,500 people have purchased their first ever British Rowing membership. 

Of these, around 6,000 are male (52%) and 5,500 are female (48%) – a very even split and a great sign for women’s participation. Our membership rates in the past have been roughly 60% male and 40% female so this is very encouraging progress.

Of the 11,500 around 5,750 (50%) are aged under-18 – a great indication that the Olympics “inspired a generation” of new rowers.

If you include students in that figure it rises to 8,500 (75%).

British Rowing Membership overall has grown steadily since the Olympics and went above 30,000 members for the first time in October 2012.

From June 2012, just before the London 2012 Olympics to Christmas 2012, British Rowing Membership increased from 28,632 to 32,148 – an increase of 3,516 members (12.2%).

See the pdf file below for graphs showing the Olympic effect on overall British Rowing Membership.

Female Participation in Rowing

Female British Rowing membership has been growing steadily. The latest Sport England Active People Survey estimates the number of women rowing at least once a week for more than 30 minutes at around 11,000. This survey only measures those aged 16+.  In just over three years from November 2009 to January 2013, the number of female British Rowing members increased by 3,847 from 9,600 to 13,447.

Female British Rowing Membership as a percentage of total membership has been increasing year-on-year, showing that rowing is becoming increasingly accessible and attractive to women. Few sports are as gender-balanced as rowing, especially at junior/university level. In October 2009 women represented only 38% of British Rowing membership – that has now risen to almost 42% and is continuing to rise.

 Younger Generation (“Inspire a Generation”)

Approximately 55% of our membership is under 22 years old and 65% are under 28 years old.

Competition Entries

Women’s Head of the River (March 2013)  Largest ever entry = 320 crews (2,880 participants, including coxes). About a third were novice crews.  The largest ever entry for the race was significantly aided by the number of people who decided to take up the sport following the London Olympic & Paralympic Games last Summer: novice crews this year represent nearly one third of all the entries (around 90 crews).

British Rowing Masters Championships (May 2013)

Record entry of 742 crews, up 77 from 2012.


There were nearly 1,000 applications for volunteer roles at the Rowing World Cup at Eton Dorney (June 2013). A real range of people applied to volunteer – about a third are long-term rowing volunteers, roughly another third volunteered at the Olympics and were keen to do more volunteering – and the final third are very new to volunteering. It is encouraging to see all three groups applying and a real appetite for volunteering in rowing.

From these applications, 400 successful volunteers were selected and have received special training for the upcoming event.

Row for Gold

During Summer 2012 around 60 clubs signed up to “Row for Gold” and over 80 events were run as part of the campaign.

Indoor Rowing (NJIRC & UIRS)

National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC)

  • 2,538 entries from 11 to 18 year olds.
  • 170 volunteers.

 University Indoor Rowing Series (UIRS)

  • 13 events held across the country
  • More than 1,600 students

Rowers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds taking part in the two-week series. A record entry! And the series included rowing for people with disabilities for the first time (Paralympic Legacy).

Olympic Postcode Searches

During London 2012, 33,000 people were inspired to search for a club on

There were ten times more searches on British Rowing’s clubfinder database during the first day of the London Games (5,410) than the most popular day of the Beijing Games (405).

During the Olympics, nearly 33,000 people searched for a club on the British Rowing website. On the day Team GB won their first rowing gold medal 5,410 people searched for a club, compared to just 163 on an average day before the Olympics. Not only was this Britain’s first female Olympic gold in rowing but also Team GB’s first gold medal of the Games. On 1st August 2012 ‘#rowing’ was the number one trend worldwide on Twitter.

Coastal / Gig Rowing

More than 350 crews took to the Isles of Scilly for the 24th World Pilot Gig Championships – the biggest event in the competition’s history (May 2013).