Community Rowing in Cockenzie and Port Seton

The last boat to be built and launched at Port Seton was in 1966 – 45 years ago! On the 8th May 2010, the first boat since then, “Boatie Rows”, has been built and launched, followed by  her sister skiff, “Boatie Blest”.  She was completed in the same year and launched from the first and natural harbour in Cockenzie, the Boat Shore in November.  Both skiffs have become a familiar sight as the Boatie Blest rowers take her out to sea on the waters between Cockenzie Power Station and Seton Sands on a regular basis.

BOATIE BLEST is a voluntary association formed to co-ordinate a boatbuilding and rowing project as part of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project.  This has involved local experts and enthusiasts building two rowing boats that are based on a traditional Fair Isle Skiff.   It is supplied in a kit form, designed by Iain Oughtred and supported by The Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther .

Rowers of all ages and abilities from the community have joined the Boatie Blest rowing club.  The Inaugural St Ayles Skiff Regatta took place in Anstruther on the 29th May 2010 and Boatie Blest returned with the cup!

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Project aims to promote and encourage the sharing of traditional skills, encouraging healthy exercise, making use of the wonderful coastline we live alongside and bringing communities together.

Boatie Blest is a community project involving the community at all levels.  There is a place for everyone in Boatie Blest.

§      The boatbuilders and assistants range from retired men to young children

§      The Port Seton Harbour commissioners donated a kit to Preston Lodge High School to encourage young people to get involved in the project.  The build will be supervised by the technical department with help from the builders of “Boatie Rows” and “Boatie Blest”

§      Children are involved in the project and we have made with strong links with local schools.

§      Volunteer fundraisers organise events.  These volunteers wish to support the project but not necessarily by building or rowing.

§      Rowing teams ranging from teenagers to 60 plus

§      Volunteers enjoy sewing bunting, making signs, painting banners etc.

§      Annual regattas are good for the economy bringing in visitors from all over Scotland

§      We take part in local art/cultural events

Boatie Blest seeks to preserve, display and sustain local heritage and traditions.  The boatbuilding tradition of Cockenzie and Port Seton has been reinstated in a small but effective way with the building of two St.Ayles Skiffs.   We want to encourage an appreciation of the opportunities that are on offer by living near the sea.  We hope that by building, rowing and racing we will contribute towards a great community spirit, raise awareness of local heritage and impart/share a range of skills.

Viewing Cockenzie and Port Seton from the skiff at sunset is a recommended experience.  Rowing categories range from open to 50 plus so there is an opportunity for everyone to row. There is also a leisure session for those who don’t want to row competitively.  Boatie Blest is a community group and so welcomes new members who can get involved in a number of ways, not necessarily rowing.  The benefits are healthy outdoor exercise, social activities, visiting other Scottish communities and making use of the wonderful coastline we live alongside.

For further information contact:

Stuart Mack, Team Captain, Email: stuart.mack@strath.ac.uk Tel: 07540 752 720


sponsored by Port Seton harbour commissioners, 3 Harbours Arts Festival


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