How much does rowing an ocean cost?
Not many people row oceans – and that is almost exclusively because not many people want to row an ocean – but presume for a moment, that you really do want to row an ocean – unless you are Brangelina’s love child or an undead Pablo Escobar – then the biggest obstacle for most people, is the money.
Without a boat, you’re going to look very silly, and you’re going to get wet, so it’s pretty crucial. The price of an ocean rowing boat ranges enormously, from a super-light, brand new, super-fast four man boat for around £70,000 to an on-its-last-legs wooden solo boat for around £6,000. Of course for certain custom boats you can pay much more than £70,000, but if we take something in the middle ground at £30,000 that will give us some half decent options and will get us a four man boat.
A boat, and nothing else, does not make an ocean row. Here is a breakdown of the sort of costs you could expect to pay for an Indian Ocean Row.
- Boat – £30,000
- Equipment – £25,000 (oars, life raft, electronics, watermaker, life jackets, etc)
- Shipping – £10,000 (£5k each way)
- Flights – £6000 (4 x one way tickets from UK to Australia plus 4 x one way tickets from Mauritius to UK)
- Food – £6000
- Trailer – £2000
- Accommodation – £1000
- Total £80,000
Now that gets you a row – you’re good to go if you wish – but there are other costs that you may need to consider. Do you want to film the row for a documentary for instance? If so, your fancy Go-Pro ain’t going to cut it, you’ll need a custom, high performance, (and very lightweight) media system. The one that we are using costs a lot….like….as much as a boat!
PR – You might be a beast on the rowing machine, or you might be an amazing adventurer, but are you good at promoting yourself? Depending on your reasons for doing the row, you may need to invest in a PR company and costs can vary wildly, from £1k to £100k.
To cut a long story short – costs for a row can be enormous.
“But Barry, I saw you dancing topless the other day in a seedy backstreet biker bar just so you could pay your rent – how can you possibly afford this?” (I hear you ask)
Don’t let the costs put you off. Most people that have been part of an independent ocean rowing campaign didn’t just go out and buy the equipment with their own cash. There are three key ways in which to make the bills.
Large companies spend millions (literally) on marketing campaigns. Done in the right way ocean rows gather a lot of attention, and if that company’s name is written all over your boat, it’s great exposure for them. It links them with adventure, clean energy, ocean challenges, endurance, fitness, teamwork – an ocean row can be angled in a thousand different ways to suit the people sponsoring you.
Often a company will not want to part with any money, but will be much happier parting with products or services that they provide, perhaps a trailer company would donate a trailer to have their name on the boat, or an airline company would donate flights. Never underestimate the power of getting out of your comfort zone and being a bit cheeky in what you ask for – in many cases the company is investing in you, not the challenge – so be nice!
A little pre-cursor to this one – DO NOT CUT CORNERS WITH SAFETY EQUIPMENT, IF YOU THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA THEN GO AND HAVE A TIME OUT IN THE SAND PIT UNTIL YOU HAVE LEARNT YOUR LESSON. That said, there are safe costs to cut. For example, when you are preparing for a row you will need to be in the country you are leaving from for a while beforehand, setting the boat up, and waiting for ideal conditions. Accommodation is expensive. Can you perhaps sleep in your car? Can you talk nicely to a local and stay with them? If so, boom, it’s like being given a thousand pounds towards your row. You’ll find lots of other times like this when money can be saved.
Rowing an ocean is hard, but speak to most ocean rowers and they’ll tell you that getting to the start line with no money is harder – but as has been proven time and time again, it’s perfectly doable. So…what are you waiting for?
If you have any questions that you want answering, pop them on the Facebook page, and one of us will write a blog answering that very question for you!