Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


When is the club open to the public?
Along with the Dolphin Club next door, the South End is open to the public on alternate days of the week.  Please ring the doorbell for access to the club. Hours 10 am to 6 pm during the summer and 11 am to 6 pm during the winter.  Day Use Fee is $10, please deposit your cash or check in the envelopes provided just inside the front door, sign the waiver printed on the envelope, place the envelope in the safe on the floor and sign the guest register book.

How do I join the club?
Fill out the application and send it to the address provided with the dues. (If joining mid-year send the pro-rated dues.) Click here for an application!

How do I replace my key if I've lost it or if it no longer works?
If you have lost your key, replacement keys are available through the office for a $25 fee. Please send in a check to the club office for $25 along with the address you would like your new key sent to. A new key should arrive within two weeks.

If your key no longer works, please leave a note in the office mail slot or email the office manager. We will attempt to reprogram the key, if that does not work a new one will be sent to you.

How do I get a locker?
If you are interested in a locker, please email If a locker is available, you will be assigned one once you have paid the locker rental fee. Please do not just take an unlocked locker as it may be a fellow member's who has paid for it and does not have a lock on it.

What is the day rate if I'd like to use the club and I'm not a member?
$10.00 payable at the door. Ring the bell for access.
Boats are not available for use by non-members. Please see the Rowing FAQs.

How can I contact the club?
Call the office at 415-776-7372 or send an email to us at

Are the Club By Laws available online?
Yes, in PDF format. Click here.


Which events are open to the public?
The Alcatraz Invitational, held in the late summer, is the only swimming event open to the public. Day use is available for $10.00 on alternating days with the Dolphin Club.

Is Bay swimming dangerous?

Yes. Boats are the most dangerous thing to watch for when swimming outside of the Aquatic Park cove. Hypothermia can be lethal, so you must learn and respect your limits in the cold water. Sea lions have been known to bite, but this is rare.

How clean is the water?
Runoff after a heavy rain can contaminate the Bay water. Generally, though, the water is clean enough to swim in every day. The salty taste, lack of clarity due to algae and other marine life, and ocean smell may be off-putting to some. These aspects aren't "dirty", and you will get used to it the way you got used to the chlorine.

What are the signs of hypothermia?
Cold, shivering, mental confusion, euphoria, and suddenly feeling warm and that you can swim forever are all signs of hypothermia. Dizziness, nausea, physical weakness, and mental confusion can also be signs of hypothermia. Sometimes you can feel okay while you're in the water but then notice signs of hypothermia once you are out of the water - these help you know that you may have gone beyond your limits.

What should I do if I feel hypothermic?
If you think you're dangerously cold while swimming, you should try to get out as soon as possible. Signal to a pilot for assistance. If you get in the zodiac, wrap up in blankets and try to cover your head to prevent heat loss. Drink warm fluids. It is a good idea to take wet clothing off if possible. When you get back to the club, go carefully but quickly to the sauna as breathing warm air into your lungs will warm you more quickly than a shower. Once in the sauna, sit down and drink warm fluids. Take off your suit and dry off as quickly as possible. Shower after you feel more steady on your feet and if possible ask someone test the water temperature for you before you step into the shower. Hypothermia can be very dangerous and it might be necessary to seek medical attention.
To help retain body heat (and help prevent swimmer's ear infections) a thermal cap and "Mack's Earplugs" are highly recommended for all swimmers.

How do I learn to pilot a zodiac?
Pilot training classes are offered periodically at the South End. After taking one of the classes, you can co-pilot and learn from one of the more experienced pilots. Eventually, after you've gained experience and confidence, you'll be ready to pilot!

What if I'm not a fast, competitive type of swimmer?
Swimmers of all abilities are welcome to participate in the Club Swims.

What if I want to be challenged?
The Club offers challenging Long Swims for more experienced swimmers. These swims are difficult to plan and execute due to pilot coverage needs and tides. It is sometimes necessary for swimmers to qualify for these swims.

Can I wear a wetsuit?
Sure! Wetsuit, swimsuit, even birthday suits are welcomed at the club.


How do I get started rowing?
Contact the Rowing Commissioner or Boathouse Captain. The South End also offers Rowing Clinics throughout the year, open to the public, though early registration is required. 

May non-members use the boats?
No. South End boats are not available to the public, nor for rent. In fact, members themselves may use boats only after they've been certified by either the Boathouse Captain or the Rowing Commissioner

May I store my own boat at SERC?
No, privately owned watercraft are not stored on premises. All boats at the Club are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Is there competitive rowing team at SERC?
We're competitive, but we do not have a regular crew. Except for the barge South End, our boats are either singles or doubles. Rowing at SERC is more social and recreational than competitive.


How do I get started with handball?
Like most of our club activities, the best way to begin is to simply come down to SERC and meet the people. There are two annual Handball tournaments open to the public: Cinco De Mayo and Memorial Day. Members are often looking for partners to create teams.

How many courts does the club have?
The South End Rowing Club has 3 indoor courts.