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Get Into a Scull


Ekaterina Karsten-Khodotovitch of Belerus wins the Gold Medal

Ekaterina Karsten-Khodotovitch of Belerus wins the Gold Medal in the Women's Single Sculls event at the 2008 FISA World Cup in Poland.

© by Christopher Lee / Getty Images

The narrow nature of the rowing boat known as a scull can be a tricky matter. Many a new rower has ended up in the water upon their first attempt to get into their scull. Hopefully following these instructions will reduce the learning curve you experience while trying to simply get into your scull.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Less than a minute

Here's How:

  1. Decide Where You Will Get Into Your Scull:

    Find a place next to a dock or shore where the water is deep enough and there are no rocks so that the scull does not touch the bottom. This will prevent any damage to the scull.

  2. Place the Scull in the Water:

    It is best to place the scull parallel to the dock or shore and with the bow pointing in the general direction you will be heading. Depending on how you are carrying the scull, you may need to feed the scull into the water and then rotate it so that it ends up being parallel to the shore or dock from where you are starting.

  3. Setup All Equipment in the Scull:

    If you took the seat out to transport the scull, place the seat back into the scull. Place the oars in the oarlocks using the system that suits your particular oars and locks.

  4. Arrange the Oars for Stability:

    Since the scull is extremely narrow, you will need to stabilize it with the oars. Arrange the oars so that they are flat and perpendicular to the boat. It is best if both oars are in the water but if you are launching from a dock it may be necessary to extend the oar out from the boat and rest the blade on the dock.

  5. Prepare to Get into the Scull:

    Stand next to the scull and facing in the same direction of the stern (back) of the scull. Grab both oars in one hand. Place the other hand on the closest edge of the boat. Ensure the boat is steady, and place one foot in the boat in between the tracks.

  6. Get into the Scull:

    Keeping the oars in front of you and the seat to your rear, step into the scull and manuever into the seat. Do this as steadily and smoothly as possible.

  7. Make the Necessary Adjustments:

    Once in the boat you can adjust the seat into position. Once the seat is correctly positioned begin to secure your feet onto the foot-boards. Keeping the oars in the water, slide forward with the seat toward your feet. Place the oars under your armpits and secure your feet to the footboards by the technique required by your arrangement.

  8. Push Off and Begin Sculling (Rowing):

    Depending on how you placed the scull into the water, you may be able to just row away. If not, push off from the dock or shore using quite a bit of force. If you are still not far enough away, use the oar to push off the dock or shore. Of course, be careful not to damage the oars.


  1. If you are new to rowing or sculling you should learn in warm weather and warm water.
  2. Be careful when placing the oars on the dock or shore and when pushing off from the dock or shore. It is very easy to damage or break an oar.
  3. Seek the instruction of an experienced rower or sculler to help you get into your scull the first few times.

What You Need

  • Scull (also called skin or boat)
  • 2 Oars
  • Life Jacket
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