Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the office hours at the boat house?
The Doc Schaab Boathouse and Fontana Boathouse are generally staffed between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM daily (with some early morning and later evening hours). These hours are subject to change without notice, and visitors are encouraged to call ahead.
2. Who do I contact in case of emergency?
If there is an emergency, please dial 911. There are telephones available inside the WSRC office. The City of Buffalo Police Department is located at 74 Franklin Street and can be reached at (716) 851-4444 and the New York State Police are located nearby in Grand Island and can be reached at (716) 773-9651. The U.S. Coast Guard is located at 1 Fuhrmann Blvd and can be reached at (716) 856-8143.
If there is a family emergency and you need to contact an athlete, you can call the WSRC at (716) 881-9797 or contact the Coach directly if they have provided you with a phone number.
3. How do I register for my WSRC Program?
To register for your program please complete the steps on the registration page for your desired program. If you have trouble with registration please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include detailed and specific program information in your query. When registering, it is important that you accurately enter information especially your email address as that is our main form of contact.
4. When is the program schedule released/where can I find it?
WSRC offers rowing programs all year round. Program schedules are posted on the WSRC website at least one month prior to the start of each program. To access the registration page, click on the “Registration” links on the Programs pages.
5. How do I know if this program has space?
Registration will be accepted until a program is full or until registration is closed. If a program is full or registration is closed then it will be noted on the WSRC web page. Registration is first come, first served. If you register, but the course has already been filled, you will be notified within one business day whether you have been placed on the waiting list. At that time you can decide if you wish to register for another section.
6. What do I do while I am on the wait list?
Please be patient. If a spot becomes available in your desired program, WSRC will contact you by email. You will have 24 hours to respond if you would like the spot in the class. If WSRC does not hear from you, your space will be offered to the next person on the wait list.
7. 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 WSRC rowing member must prove his or her ability to swim
8. 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 WSRC equipment. For your protection, and the protection of WSRC, we make NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy.
9. Where can I complete my swim test?
Participants are responsible for finding a certified life guard to watch them perform the swim test and sign the form. Lifeguards can be found at municipal pools, YMCAs, schools/colleges and recreational facilities. It is recommended that individuals call ahead to confirm swim test hours and fees.
10. 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.
11. Can I register for my program without a swim test?
You may register online prior to 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.
12. What if I haven’t taken my swim test yet?
A registered rower without a valid swim card will be asked to wear a life preserver until he or she can provide written proof of his or her swimming ability.
13. Can I use a swim test from another source?
If you have a current swim, lifeguard or scuba certification documents, copies may be submitted to fulfill the swim requirement. Please make a copy of the current certification and staple it to the WSRC Swim Test form.
14. What if I don’t know how to swim?
Non-swimmers are encouraged to take swimming lessons and pass a swim test prior to registering for a rowing program. It can be difficult to progress as a rower while wearing a life jacket as it inhibits proper rowing technique.
15. When is the swim test held?
WSRC does not administer swim tests. There are no pool facilities at our boathouse location, and swim tests are not conducted in the Black Rock Channel.
16. I submitted my swim test form last year, why am I being asked for it again?
Although it rarely happens, sometimes swim tests are not turned into the office and therefore never recorded. Please make sure to hand or mail in your swim test directly to the office. This will help to eliminate the chance of your swim test being lost or misplaced. It is a good idea to make a copy of your swim test and keep it for your records.
17. What is the refund/transfer/credit policy?
There is a $50 cancellation fee assessed for all refunds/credits. If you withdraw from a program prior to the start date you can receive a full refund minus the $50 fee. Once a program has started, athletes will be able to receive a full refund (minus $50) for the first 2 weeks of the program. A refund of 50% (minus $50) will be available until the fourth week of the program. No refunds will be available after the 4th week. You can receive a credit to use by October 1 of the current year towards a future program. To transfer to a different class or term you will be charged a $15 transfer fee. These fees are not designed to discourage registration, but rather to encourage early registration and commitment to a program
18. Why are there attendance requirements for the program?
For instructional programs, WSRC requires attendance during the first two weeks of each new session. This policy helps ensure that all participants are familiar with basic boat handling techniques and safety concerns before they launch onto the water. Additionally, we ask that participants attend at least 80% 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 or time.
19. Can I make up my absences by attending another program?
Unfortunately, due to coaching and equipment limitations, we cannot allow participants to attend programs other than their own. Absences may not be made up by attending another section of a particular program. Please let your coach know ahead of time if you are going to be absent, this will help them on planning their class.
20. It’s raining, do we still have class tonight?
Yes - we do 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 will be an alternative indoor instructional class - but class will not be cancelled. Classes will not be rescheduled due to weather.
21. There is a winter storm, what is the cancellation policy?
WSRC will be closed on all weekdays in which the Buffalo Public Schools cancel after school activities due to winter weather. Notices will be posted on wsrc.org, the West Side Rowing Club Facebook page and Channel 2 News’ Closing Central each day (weekday or weekend) when WSRC is closed due to weather.
22. What should I wear?
Always dress in LAYERS. Dress appropriately for the weather, including a windbreaker or Gore-Tex shell if necessary. Make sure you are able to shed layers easily as you begin to warm up. Your rowing clothes will get DIRTY. Don’t wear clothing that can’t get dirty in the boathouse. Clothing should be both COMFY and SNUG. It should allow you to move freely, but should not be baggy. Baggy pants, shorts and shirts tend to get stuck in the sliding seat.
23. Are there showers/locker rooms at the boathouse?
Yes, we have both showers and lockers.
24. Are my personal belongings secure at the boathouse?
All participants are advised to leave any valuables in their cars to ensure the security of their personal items. WSRC is not responsible for items lost or stolen from the boat area, locker rooms or parking lot. Although rare, theft of personal items left unattended does occur. You may bring a lock to temporarily secure your valuables in a locker while you are on the water. Locks must be removed daily. Please take appropriate measures to protect your belongings.
25. I own a single – can I store it at WSRC?
A limited number of storage racks are available for WSRC participants to store single (or double) sculls. Rack spaces are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Currently there is no waiting list for rack spaces, however, all scullers must maintain an active standing with the club, or by participating in another WSRC program, or joining as a supporting member. In addition, there is a rack storage fee which must be paid annually. There is also a requirement of service to the club for those with boats in storage. Scullers storing singles at WSRC are required to race under the WSRC name. Please email Mary Kane at email@example.com or Miles Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain an application and current rates.
26. How do I become a Private Sculler?
Private Scullers are entitled to use club singles or doubles on their own time, during regular operational hours. To be eligible, a rower must comply with all of the following: registration for private sculling must be complete and paid in full, and you must have a valid captain’s test and swim test on file with WSRC.
27. When and how do I complete the Captain’s Test?
Captain’s tests are taken during private lessons.. Once you have passed your Captain’s test it will remain valid provided the sculler remains active in WSRC’s sculling programs during that time. If you are inactive for one year then you need to retest. If you have participated in WSRC sculling programs before, only one lesson is needed if you can pass on the first attempt. If you are new to the water, a minimum of two lessons is necessary before you can be passed. Please check with the office to get the coaches contact information to schedule a captain’s test. Many of our coaches give private lessons, but only a few are certified to administer the captain’s test.
28. Can I take private lessons?
A limited number of WSRC coaching staff are available to conduct private sculling lessons. To be eligible for private lessons, one must have a valid swim test and waiver on file. We offer rates for WSRC participants and non-participants as well. Lessons must be booked and paid for in advance and are non-refundable/non-transferable. Please contact the WSRC office and we’ll put you in touch with one of our coaching staff to arrange a time for your lessons.
29. What is the West Side Rowing Club’s roster code?
The US Rowing roster code is: P7VCA Athletes can complete the US Rowing online waiver and join the WSRC roster at the following address: www.rosters.usrowing.org