Girls/Boys Novice Program

The Girls and Boys Winter/ Spring Novice programs are designed to familiarize athletes with the principles of water safety, develop basic rowing skills, build fitness, and prepare athletes for the Varsity Program.

Novice athletes are generally expected to attend practices 4-5 days per week with a number of opportunities to compete in weekend regattas, mostly in May. Practices start indoors with gym training and using ergs (rowing machines), and they move outdoors when weather and the Charles River permit.

New Novices are strongly encouraged to start indoor training as of Tuesday, January 21, unless participating in another winter sport; however, new Novices will be allowed to join through the week of February 10. 

Answers to many initial questions can be found on the New to BLS Crew webpage.

Who Should Register for Varsity vs Novice

  • If you have rowed Varsity before, you remain in Varsity

  • If you started in Spring 2019 or earlier, and you are currently in 9th grade or above, you should register for Varsity

  • If you started in Spring 2019 or earlier, and you are currently in 8th grade, and you are a girl, you should check with Jasmine ( and/or Hannah (

  • If you started in Spring 2019 or earlier, and you are currently in 8th grade, and you are a boy, you remain in Novice

  • If you started in Fall 2019, you remain in Novice

  • If you are new to BLS Crew, you start in Novice

Practice Times and Locations (Same for Girls and Boys Novice)

Indoor Practice Start Date: Tuesday 01/21/2020

Indoor Practice Time: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm (1)

Outdoor Practice Start Date: TBD, typically late March depending on weather

Outdoor Practice Time: 3:15 pm - 5:15 pm (2)

(1) Meet at BLS ‘Loft’ area- near Athletic Director’s Office

(2) Meet at BLS Boathouse

Registration and Payment Deadlines for Returning Novices

  • Registration Close Date: Friday 12/20/2019

  • Forms Due Date: Friday 12/20/2019

  • Payment Due Date: Friday 12/20/2019


Registration and Payment Deadlines for New Novices

  • Registration Close Date: Friday 02/14/2020

  • Forms Due Date: 01/17/2020 or, if joining the team later, at least two days prior to their first day of practice.

  • Payment Due Date: Friday 03/13/2020


Required Forms

All Novice rowers must submit the required forms as PDF email attachments to before the indoor session starts. Forms can easily be scanned and emailed as PDFs using a free smartphone scanner app ("Tiny Scanner" works well).

(1) For ALL Spring 2020 rowers: A Spring 2020 BLS Sports Clearance Form, obtained from the BLS nurses' office. A physician's school/camp form completed within the past 13 months must be on file with the nurses' office to get the Sports Clearance Form.

(2) For Spring 2020 rowers who did NOT row in Fall 2019: A concussion training certificate, obtained by doing the video training at

(3) For Spring 2020 rowers who did NOT row in Fall 2019: A signed Sports Safety Pledge. You can download the form from here

(4) For new Novices only, a completed swim test form (note: the swim test does not need to be completed until early March), available at

Fees and Financial Aid

  • Rower Fees:  $500.00

  • Payment Options: See Spring Payment

  • Friends of BLS Crew is committed to ensuring that crew is affordable for all students and families in the BLS community. If you would like to request financial assistance for the crew program, please send an email to

  • Payment is due Friday, December 20, 2019, for returning Novices, and Friday, March 13, 2020, for new Novices, unless a financial aid or payment plan arrangement has been made.

Note on Transportation

  • When Novice practice moves from indoors at BLS to the boathouse, rowers are able to take the MBTA/BLS Supplemental Bus #57 that conveniently leaves from right outside BLS after school. Novice families should disregard the question on the registration form about the Varsity bus to practice, as it does not apply to them.


To start registration, please fill out this form: