Choosing Proper Length Oars


In Getting Started in Boats No. 38, which was bound into WB No. 230, we discussed how to choose a proper dinghy. In that article, we made reference to choosing oars of the proper length for your boat. Here’s a handy formula shared by the well-known wooden oar makers Shaw & Tenney of Orono, Maine ( —Eds.

Oar length drawing.

Shaw & Tenney Oar Length Formula for Correctly Fitted Oars

  • Inboard length of the loom equals ½ the span between the oarlocks + 2″
  • Total length of oar equals 1/7 of inboard length multiplied by 25
  • Distance from the center of leather to end of grip equals 7/25 of the total length of the oar

Oars measured according to this formula will have a leverage ratio of 7:18.

Measuring oars drawing.

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