Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row: The Premier Rowing Clubs of the United States

Rowing has to be one of the hardest sports in existence. While I have never physically been in a boat myself, I enjoy watching the smoothness, strength, and finesse that the sport demands. I commend all of the elite rowers out there, especially those that are a part of Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row. This is definitely the rowing scene of the country, especially since it boasts Schuylkill Navy, the oldest and most prestigious amateur rowing association in the nation.



Boathouse Row, situated in between Kelly Drive and Schuylkill River, consists of 15 boathouses, most of them the oldest rowing clubs in the nation. They are all rich in history and athletic achievements, producing many Olympic champions and holding some of the largest and most esteemed regattas in the nation. These include the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, which is the largest intercollegiate regatta in the United States, the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, and the Independence Day Regatta, which takes place on the Fourth of July.

Each club has its own unique history and goals. Some of the most famous boathouses along the row include:

Fairmount Rowing Association is considered the “premier club for masters rowing in the Mid-Atlantic region.”

Bachelors Barge Club is the oldest continuously operating boathouse in the United States, first established in 1853. While it initially only included Bachelors, the club started letting in married men and eventually women.

University Barge Club is a National Historic Landmark. Established in 1854, the UBC is considered to be the “dawn of organized athletics at the University of Pennsylvania.” It is responsible for the creation of the Schuylkill Navy.

Vesper Boat Club has one specific goal, “to produce Olympic Champions.” So far it has succeeded.

College Boat Club houses the University of Pennsylvania rowing teams. It became the official UPenn boat house when its rowers beat the rowers from the University Barge Club back in 1877. The membership is now open to enrolled students and alumni varsity crew members.

Lloyd Hall is the only public boathouse along the row. Sign up and start rowing today!

Take advantage of the incredible sights and events that the historic Boathouse Row offers, whether you are a master, just starting out, or just a fan of the amazing view of Boathouse Row!