St Andrews Coastal Rowing Club


Covid-19 Update:

January 2021: All rowing is currently suspended until further notice due to the ongoing restrictions.

May 2021: Adaptive rowing has resumed subject to local restrictions and in accordance with government guidance. 

Our aims

St Andrews Coastal Rowing Club an amateur sports club that is a part of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association. We are the first coastal rowing club in Scotland to establish an adaptive rowing programme. This is tribute to the willingness of our adaptive rowers to “give it a go” and the dedication of the adaptive rowing team. A warm welcome and can do attitude is present throughout the club with the aim of giving people for whom rowing may have seemed inaccessible the opportunity to try a new sport and meet new people.

Adaptive rowing sessions

Julie Hardisty at will contact you before you come down to row to best understand what we can do to ensure that you feel comfortable and enjoy your rowing experience. This may include modifying equipment, amending the session duration or having someone sitting beside you. She will answer any questions that you have, send on additional information and make the necessary arrangements for your row. 

Where we are located

At the East Sands beach in St Andrews our base is a small hut adjacent to a children’s play park.

On public transport, our nearest railway station is Leuchars which is located 15 minutes away by car and is well served by a regular bus service or taxi into St Andrews. The bus station is located on City Road and is a 5-minute drive to the beach.

By car, access to the harbour (pontoons) from the north through St Andrews along the A917 turn left onto The Shore, the harbour is at the end of this road approximately 500 meters.

About St Andrews Coastal Rowing Club

The club has no paid staff and is comprised of volunteers who have a wealth of life and varied professional experiences that is used to create a happy and welcoming environment. A kind word, patience, willingness to try something new and a sense of humour forms the core ethos of our team. We put a lot of emphasis in being a friendly and relaxed club that enjoys a cup of tea and cake at the end of our rowing.

We have two St Ayles skiffs, Sandbay and Bluebay. Bluebay has been adapted to allow for the fitting of a seat in the bow position that is suitable for wheelchair users. 

When you arrive

When you arrive, you will be met either at the hut or beside the pontoons by one of the team. They are all volunteers that are there to assist you and answer any question that you may have.


We will ask you to put on a manually inflating life jacket. It is best that you wear layers of warm clothing that you don’t mind getting wet, hat, wind/waterproof jacket and loose trousers, not jeans, are ideal. Old trainers or wetsuit boots for your feet (no open toed sandals) are preferable. You can get hot when rowing and cool down quickly as you stop.

Access to the skiffs

Wheelchair access is limited to approximately two hours either side of high tide and is via pontoons. A crew lift hoist is available if required.  Beach launching can take place at any point in the tide, the distance walked on sand will vary on the tide height from 20 – 200 meters.

Pontoon access

The slope onto the pontoon varies with the tide, there are handrails at either side.

Harbour access

This is from a muddy slipway within the inner harbour and is not suitable for wheelchairs but is used by amputee rowers.

Beach access

This is dependent upon the individual and the sea conditions. For any initial adaptive rowing session access will be via the harbour to allow for a more reliable environment.

We endeavour to adapt equipment to suit the needs of individual rowers working together and in consultation with them.  Most rowing sessions last for around an hour and are all dependent on weather and sea conditions.

The crew

 The cox oversees the boat and they will tell you where to sit and give you instruction as how to row. You will be rowing as part of a team in a crew of four rowers and one cox. 

The cox will give instruction as to when you get into the boat and you will be assisted by the adaptive rowing team.

What you might see

St Andrews harbour has its origins in medieval times and was developed further in the 16thcentury as the town became an important academic and religious centre. It is now run by St Andrews Harbour Trust and is home to a small fishing fleet and pleasure boats. We have beautiful views from the bay looking back to the town’s skyline, cathedral and castle. In terms of connecting with nature, our corner of Fife is home to a variety of wild life. In addition to seeing numerous birds you might be lucky enough to spot seals or dolphins which frequent the area. 

Getting out of the skiff

The cox will give instruction as to when you get out of the boat and you will be assisted by the adaptive rowing team. 

Facilities at the pier

St Andrews is a working harbour which has a small café, public toilets and a limited amount of free roadside parking. 

Food and refreshments

In addition to the harbour café there is a toasted sandwich shack at the East Sands beach which also sells hot drinks and soup. There are numerous, cafes, pubs, restaurants and fish and chip shops a short distance away in St Andrews town centre to suit all tastes. 


“In the boat there is an aspect of my disability that means nothing or disappears” 

“Exercise is difficult when you are in a wheelchair and this is a fantastic form of exercise” 

In summary…


Photo Gallery

We thank our generous sponsors and supporters:

If you would like to know more or discuss how we can work together, please contact Julie Hardisty at