All Aboard celebrates rowing

On Saturday 1st November, the All Aboard Watersports Centre in Bristol held an event to celebrate the success of its burgeoning rowing programme, and to christen its new stable boats. Aaron Sims reports…

Launching a brand new rowing programme takes a lot of planning, financial backing and commitment from some very willing people. The fact that Bristol’s All Aboard Watersports Centre has gone from an entirely sailing and canoeing construct to also specialising in rowing over the course of less than a year is a remarkable feat.

The centre has worked hard to get youngsters from inner city and SEN schools out onto the water, and has enabled many participants to have a go at and connect with the sport. The centre has also worked hard to establish an “Over 55s Club”, which has flourished into a prominent group of watersports enthusiasts.

To celebrate rowing’s inclusion in All Aboard’s overall program, the facility – located in Bristol’s floating harbour – held an event to showcase the sport. Members of Bristol Pilot Gig Club, which is partnered with the centre, also joined in the festivities as its fleet took to the water.

Bristol’s Deputy Lord Mayor Faruk Choudhury joined the trustees of the centre in giving a welcoming speech, before joining some of the junior gig rowers in a paddle around the docks.

“What is offered by All Aboard, that is very important for the city, is the opportunity to be active,” said the Deputy Lord Mayor, “and to give these opportunities to our young people and to our senior citizens”.

Also in attendance was Gary Harris, Deputy Chairman of British Rowing who had the honour of christening the centre’s two new stable singles, ‘Catch’ and ‘Drive’. He was then presented with a commemorative plate from the centre, the mark the efforts of British Rowing to help get the project off the ground.

“We’re delighted to be working with a centre like All Aboard, who are taking up rowing as a new initiative,” Gary said. “What impresses me is the range of options available. It caters for everybody!”

To find out more about the All Aboard Watersports Centre, visit