row2k Features
Rowing Hack: Bow Number Bow Lights
February 5, 2021
John FX Flynn

Let's take a look at a clever trick, one that will put bow lights onto all your shells without you having to invest in any of the well-made but not home-made options out there. That's right, time to put all those extra bow numbers from that last big head race to work: make your fleet some Bow Number Bow Lights.

This may well be one of the best re-purposing hacks we've come across...after all, unless you are planning to be bow number 382 again at your next head race, then you probably have a slowly accumulating pile of never-likely-to-be-used-again bow cards somewhere in your boathouse. Turning them into bow-clip fitting lights is a perfect way to reuse those old numbers, and will make your crews safer when it comes time to row in the dark.

With singles and small boats becoming a big thing at many boathouses as we head into another COVID-compromised season, all those old bow numbers can also help you hack up enough extra lights to make sure that no one has to share, or sneaks out without one.

And, speaking of rowing in the dark, early spring and late fall each see heaps of crews either launching or returning--if not both--without a whole lot of sunlight, so this is the perfect time to make sure you have plenty of lights on hand. Keeping those crews visible to each other, and any other traffic on your river or lake, is vital to keeping your rowers safe as they get those twilight strokes in.

Of course, any light will make that in-the-dark rowing safer, and we've looked at some other easily-hackable solutions in the past, but using those old bow cards takes advantage of the "affixing gear" that is already on any shell that is frequently used on Race Day: the bow clip. In addition, the bow card elevates the light off the deck, making it more visible.

If you want to take this hack to the next level, then pick up some extra bow number clips and put them on your sterns: that will let you use this Bow Number hack to make sure shells have an easy way to mount a stern light, too, so your crews can be seen from all angles.

Now, of course, you will have to purchase the actual lights to make this build work, but this idea should let you hunt around for some good online bargains--and we all know it is more fun to hack up your fixes rather than buy them pre-fixed.

If you have a clever repurposing trick that keeps your shells safer, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

During these unprecendented times, row2k is working hard to keep rowing coming to you; please help us keeping it coming by supporting our work!


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