How do we get into the tank building?

On the day of your session, you will receive an email with a pin code that will provide access through both the rear gate and the door into the tank room. Access is from the rear of the boat house, up the stairs on the first floor. The code lasts for a limited period either side of your timed session.


Is car parking available?

There is no parking on site. Paid parking is available on Cutter Ferry Close, accessible from the Elizabeth Way road bridge, one minute’s walk to Downing Boat House.


Is there anywhere to park our bikes?

Bike racks are available at the rear of Downing College Boat House. These are left at your own risk.


Where is the tank located? Where is Downing Boat Club?

The tank is located at Downing College Boat Club, which is on Cutter Ferry Path off Manhattan drive – CB4 1ZA. Access is via the gate at the rear of the boat house. Please see the map here

Who should we contact if we can’t access the building?

Downing College Porters’ Lodge, tel 01223 334800


Booking and Pricing

Can I book for less than 1 hour? Can I book for more than 1 hour?

Each session is an hour, which is the minimum bookable period. There is no maximum number of slots that can be booked. This flexibility will be monitored, and if it appears to be causing a problem of access then restrictions may be placed on the maximum number of consecutive slots that can be booked.

Can we cancel a session once it’s booked?

Sessions can be cancelled up to 48 hours in advance with a refunded credit for an alternative session. Within 48 hours of the session, you will not be given a refund. To cancel a session, please contact us using the online form here

Can we have a free session before committing to book?

Each club will be given one free session. Subsequent sessions will be priced at £45/hour.

Can we reserve recurring slots?

Yes, slots can be reserved up to 3 months in advance.

Can we swap sessions with other clubs?

No. Sessions are non-transferable.

How do we book a session?

Booking is done online at www.cambridgerowingtank.co.uk. Prior to making your first booking, you will need to set up an account on the website, which will be linked to your card details. Once payment has been made, you will be sent a confirmation email with a code to access the tank room.

How do we pay?

Payment is by credit or debit card (Visa/Mastercard) online at the time of booking.

How many people can we bring to a session?

The facility is set up for eight rowers. We recommend a minimum of four to set up the water flow. A maximum of 16 rowers can be in the tank room at any one time. A session could therefore be shared by two crews.

How much does it cost?

The price is £45/hour, payable when you make the online booking. The price is likely to increase annually with inflation.

What happens if my crew arrives late, can we run over into the next hour?

No. A session is one hour, starting on the half-hour and ending on the half-hour when the next session starts. If you overrun, even if there is no-one using the tank in the session after you, you risk being invoiced for the additional session.

Health and Safety Damage Security

I left something in the Tank room; is it possible to get it back?

Downing College takes no responsibility for possessions left or lost in the tank room. Please contact us via the online form at www.cambridgerowingtank.co.uk to retrieve any lost items.


We have had an accident. Who do we have to talk to about filing a report/talk about insurance?

You use the tank at your own risk. If you would like to talk to someone, then please contact us at www.cambridgerowingtank.co.uk.


What do we do in case of a medical emergency?

In case of an emergency call 999. An ambulance can access the Downing hard via the Emmanuel hard. The address of Emmanuel Boat house is 1 Cutter Ferry Lane, CB4 1JR. If the Emmanuel gates are shut, the Downing Porters’ Lodge (01223 334800) has the combination code. Please notify the Downing Porters’ Lodge in the event of any such incident. There is a defibrillator in the tank room with operating instructions. The telephone numbers for Addenbrooke’s and the nearest GP surgery are posted on the wall in the tank room.

What happens if something is broken when we arrive?

Record the breakage in the log book located in the tank room and take photos if you can. If the damage stops you using the tank, you will be offered a free replacement session. There is a spare pair of blades under the seating which can be used if there is any fault with the blades but please ensure you report that you have had to swap the blade. 

What happens if we break anything?

Please report damage in the log book in the tank room before you leave the session and consider taking a photo of any damage. If the damage has been caused by misuse, you will be charged.


Are there any showering/changing facilities?

There is access to male and female toilets but no changing or showering facilities.

Are there ergos available to warm up?

No. Warm up by light rowing in the tank is recommended.

Can the tank be re-rigged e.g. to a ‘bucket’?

Yes, the tank can be re-rigged to any configuration that you require. However please ensure that there are only ever 4 blades on bow side and 4 on stroke side as any more than this risks damaging the tank (with the exception of sculling of course!). At the end of your session, please return the configuration to that of a conventionally-rigged sweep eight.

Can the tank be rigged for sculling?

The rig of the tank allows it to be used for sculling simply by changing over the blades. This can be done in a few minutes at the beginning of your session. Please ensure that the blades are appropriately positioned with the red on the right hand side (stroke side) and the green on the left hand side (bow side) as failure to do this can cause damage to the tank. The tank should be returned to a conventionally rigged sweep eight at the end of your session. 


Can we bring rowers who are not members of our College/Boat club?

Yes, provided they are under the supervision of the club who has made the booking.

Can we do racing or rolling starts?

Under no circumstances can racing or rolling starts be done. Such starts risk breaking the oars, and you will be charged for replacements.


Can we do rate work on the tank?

No rate work should be done on the tank. The Cambridge Rowing Tank is designed so rowers can work on technique, not rate. High pressure rowing is permitted, but pressure should be reduced if water is being splashed over the sides of the tank and onto the floor.

Can we go out on the water in Downing boats to see differences after our tank session?

No, only the tank can be used.

Can we train without being disturbed by Downing crews entering the boat house?

Downing crews will from time to time access the changing rooms but will not linger in the tank room while you are using it.

Do we have to clean/sanitise the boat/blades after use?

Yes. Please use the cleaning spray/paper towels provided and dispose of towels in the bin.

Do we need someone there to operate it? Will there be a coach?

Each crew must be accompanied by someone who has been through the induction session, which may be one of the rowers. Please make a request using the online form which can be found here


Do you have to row as an VIII?

The tank is an eight-person facility but up to 16 athletes can attend a session. The price of a session is not reduced if you bring fewer than eight.


How can we leave feedback?

There is a feedback form available here.

How similar is the rowing tank to rowing on real water?

The tank is “athlete powered”, meaning the water is still when athletes are not rowing. When they row, the athletes generate a flow which simulates the feeling of being on moving water when they row. Most splashing will be contained by the splash guards. The rowers sit on seats mounted on the floor; only the blade dips in the water. You will see that the blades are slightly smaller than regular oars. The blades are specially designed by our supplier, Dreher, to achieve the closest feeling to being on moving water.


Is eating allowed in the tank room?

Eating is not permitted in the rowing tank room.

Is the boat rigged suitably for both males and females?

Yes, the gearing is an average suitable for both.

Is there a force measurement system?

We are actively exploring purchase of a force-measurement system, but there is not currently one fitted.


Is there space for a cox?

Yes, a cox can attend. There is no seat for the cox; however, coxes can walk around to coach the rowers.

What do you do with my personal data?

Our policy can be found here

What size are the footplates/are they shoes or Velcro straps?

The footplates are identical to those on a concept 2 ergo. The footplate position can be adjusted depending on the height of the user. You should wear footwear appropriate for an ergo.


What’s the changeover time between sessions?

Sessions run consecutively; they start and finish on the half- hour with no gap in between. You should arrive five minutes before your session and should leave a few minutes before the end of your session in order to tidy up and clear away your belongings for the next user.

Where can I find the Cambridge Rowing Tank terms of use

The Cambridge Rowing Tank terms and conditions can be found here

Video/Sound System

Are we allowed to film the sessions?

Yes. If you would like to take footage away with you, then you will need to take it on your own device – the footage from the tank AV system cannot be taken away.

If you do take any photos/videos, we would love to share them on our social media so please tag us in any posts!

Do we need to pay to use the video system?

No. The video system is offered to users as a free bonus. Please note that you will not be refunded for the session if the AV equipment fails.


Do you have WI-FI we can use?

Wi-Fi is currently unavailable at the Boathouse but we are planning to install ‘Eduroam’ in the near future.

How do the cameras and TVs work? Are there instructions?

Instructions are in the tank room. Equipment will also be explained at the induction session for the responsible person.

Is there a music system and can we use it/bring our own MP3s?

Yes. Access to the music system is via a standard 3.5mm jack. You must bring along your own 3.5mm jack lead which is compatible with your music device. There are also some USB ports available to charge your phone. You are required to bring along your own charging cable to use these.


What cameras are available?

There are eight cameras; three on each side wall, one overhead at the stern, and one overhead at the bow. There are two HD TV screens on the front wall. You can select which camera you want displayed on the TV screen and switch easily between cameras.