Rowlocks (swivels)


Swivels can be bought new from boat suppliers but at £25 per swivel (sometimes called a 'gate') and £16 for the pin, these are expensive items ( The swivel shown is made from 300mm x 25mm x 2.5mm stainless steel. Aluminium could be used but would need to be a thicker section, say 30mm x 4mm. The hinge is stainless steel and available as a pair from Screwfix for £3.99 (

The wooden insert is made to fit the oars and needs a 4 degree taper to provide the correct stern pitch on the oar.  The angle bracket connecting the swivel assembly to the rigger needs to be 4mm thick stainless steel or 6mm aluminium.

Note: the two swivels must be 'handed' i.e. a right hand version and a left hand version.


The centre pin of the hinge needs to be vertical looking both parallel and across the boat - and the pins should be 158/160cm between centres.
Google Sketchup files for the swivels and wing rigger are available for download from:

This is a design for a rowlock suitable for fixed seat rowing. It is designed for use with a square section oar (50x50mm) with a rounded handle. The size of the rowlock allows for 'squaring and feathering'.