rowing the apple pie dinghy

Forward Facing Rowing

Being able to see where you are going is useful if there is a chance of bumping into other boats or where maneuvering is tight. It's also nice to see where you are going.

Several systems have been designed to make this possible. A few are offered commercially and a few are clever inventions by tinkers.

The Victorians forward Facing Rower

Victorians had a system that is very similar to GIG Harbor system Below. Chris Partridge's blog has a couple of photos of this forward rowing system

Gig Harbor Boat Works

They offer a stainless steel rowing system which transfer the normal rowing motion so that you can row facing forward. Gig Harbor also offers several rowing and sailboats.

Their rowing system does not have an integrated moving seat but many of their boats do. Their FAQ on Forward Rowing also has several videos.

Their units have a nicely finished look and look sturdy and usable.


EZ-ROW have developed an assembly that can be installed in a canoe, or rowboat.

Not only does it allow you to face forward but also integrates a sliding seat for superior efficiency, allowing you to use your leg and arms to move the boat.

Front Rower

Ron Rantilla has a wonderful rowing system. that also uses arms and legs AND lets you face forward. His website is here Front Rower Not as polished looking as some of the others but it seems to work and is worth a read.

This design allows you to row and to use your legs to propel the boat.

See Rower

Forward Rowing System patent issued to Arthur F. Kuckes. His design appears to have been marketed by See Rower It's not obvious if it is still available.

RowRite and ????

RowRite is a forward rowing system that could be installed into an existing boat to allow you to face forward. Their web page is dead but the youtube video is still online.RowRite

Forward Rowing system I found on Youtube. No information, but it seems to be working. Seems like a well made unit maybe a commercial product. If you know email me.

Prototypes and experiments

Several people have worked on the design and some fascinating prototypes have been made. Here are a couple.

Simon Farthing's design of a leg and arm powered rowing system that also has the advantage of letting the rower face forward. Here are a Youtube video of his boat. I think his posiiton is a bit off but it's really interesting.

UK Home Boat Builder Forum Thread on Forward Facing Propulsion A couple of designs well worth the read. One is a sculling Yulow.

NOTE: Many of these mechanisms are experimental and not proven. Some of the companies are not well established or very small. Inclusion in this website and on this page is not a garantee of quality or performance. Do your homework.