Whatcom Rowing Association | Bellingham, WA

1,600 square foot boathouse

The Whatcom Rowing Association was established as a recreational and competitive club in 2011, the vision of local businessman and communitarian Bob Diehl, whose rowing career began at the University of Washington in 1958. The fledgling organization used a small protected corner of Lake Whatcom’s Bloedel Donovan Park to stage boats and access the lake. It was a good start, but Bob had bigger ideas. He wanted to give the entire community the chance to experience the cooperation, work ethic, and excitement of rowing. For that he not only needed more boats, but a place to put them.

So began the fund and friend-raising. Meanwhile RMC designed a boathouse using common (mostly donated) materials, framing and forms in thoughtful ways that would be easy for volunteers to build — the project itself an example of rowing’s spirit of pulling together. The boathouse holds about a dozen shells. In the three years since it was built, the program’s popularity has soared. It is one of just two externally run athletic programs endorsed by the Bellingham School District. Now, more space is needed. Let the fund and friend-raising continue!

"Rowing is a transformational sport. You get started with it and just fall head over heels. And it does change you. It changes your personality. It changes your work ethic. It changes your feelings about other people, about teamwork ...That's what really excites me about rowing." — Bob Diehl, Chairman Whatcom Rowing Association