10mm Gaco Oarlock Sets

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This pair of Gaco oarlocks includes 4 sockets and a retaining clip for each oarlock.

Why it works so well:

Ordinary rowlocks develop friction and wear because of the uneven pressure where the pin rotates in the socket. In the GACO rowlock the pin does not rotate in the socket. Up and down movement of the oar is accommodated by the carefully angled shape. The two features above are employed in the design of rowlocks fitted to racing sculls now available for your rowboat.

  1. Light, strong and won't corrode.
  2. Much lower friction in both horizontal and vertical planes.
  3. Will not wear out.
  4. Less wear on the oars and gunwhales.
  5. Snaps onto the oar so rowlocks can t be lost.
  6. Does not develop slop with time.
  7. Quiet and elegant.
  8. User friendly, magic to use.

Fitting the Rowlock to the oars of your rowboat:

  1. Lay the oars alongside each other so that the blades are together. Open the gate of the rowlock by pressing a screw driver into the bottom of the slot at the front top of the rowlock.
  2. Pull the gate open and slip the rowlock over the shaft of the oar.
  3. Press the clip on the end of the gate shut. Repeat these steps with the second rowlock.
    The rowlocks must be mounted so that the arrows on top are pointing towards each other.
    (See picture 4)
  4. You now have a port and starboard oar. They will function much better if they are mounted so that arrow on the top of the rowlock is facing the bow when rowing. NB: If your rowlock sleeves have lugs on them you will need to cut them off with a knife (a simple task).

Fitting the socket to the gunwale.

The socket has a 10 mm internal diameter and a 5/8 (16mm) outside diameter, and should fit most socket holes. For high sided boats the rowlocks will work more efficiently if they are angled outwards. If no suitable hole exists drill a 5/8 hole in the gunwale. and insert the socket and secure with 3/4"(20mm) by 10 gauge screws. The bushed set includes 7/16"(11mm) adapter sleeves for current 1/2" sockets.

How the Gaco design avoids wear problems.

The GACO snap-on Rowlock makes it easier to row well! It’s as simple as that. The GACO snap-on Rowlock allows the oar move up and down easily, and its unique shape encourages the oar to sit at the best angle to achieve an efficient rowing stroke.

The plastic head of the rowlock rotates around the metal pin which remains stationery in the gunwale. This eliminates wear in the socket holes and is virtually friction free, making it easier to row.

Conventional rowlocks rotate in the gunwale causing wear, often causing the hole to become oval and creating that familiar clunk slap noise when rowing the boat.

The GACO snap-on Rowlock head is made of polypropylene, a material that is very strong, UV resistant and extremely light.

The pin is 316 Stainless Steel. It will not corrode or wear and is the benchmark for metals used in a salt water environment. It is 40-50% stronger than conventional rowlocks.

Hi Chuck,

I recently purchased a pair of Gaco oarlocks from ductworks and I want to report that this is a great product.


I am an ardent fixed-seat rower and my problem over the years has been wearing out traditional brass oarlocks and sockets to the point where they will not rotate easily so that you feel the chatter and the resistance with each stroke. A little Vasolene (lazy man’s tallow!) helps and a little filing sometimes restores easy motion but it always seems to be a messy struggle.

These new Gaco oarlocks seem like a perfect solution to my problem. They fit my Spruce oars well and work very easily and smoothly, as good as a pair of brass oarlocks on their very best day. The design suggests that these are not going to wear out for a while and if they do the replacement is going to be much cheaper than the brass.

I’m very pleased,


John Murray, the inventor of Gaco Oarlocks responds:

Chuck, Thank you for passing John's comments on. I might add that:

  1. the Gaco oarlocks are the product of 50 years of dissatisfaction using available oarlocks.
  2. Investigation of available racing oarlocks , that though excellent did not suit recreational rowers.
  3. Years of hand making an adaptation of racing oarlocks.
  4. Biting the bullet and spending $30,000 designing and making the mould for manufacture.
  5. Researching and solving the problem of rejigging the moulded plastic oar holding body.
  6. Solving the problem of the right kind of plastic, (copolymer) to give the right amount of flex for the gate, and strength.
  7. Being ripped off for $12000 by company that made 10,000 understrength pins that almost destroyed my reputation (over 10 years ago)
  8. Researching and finding a way of making over strength pins.

Incidentally the pins are two and a half times as strong as equivalent steel pins. My research indicates that stainless pins that are cold rolled and or drawn, are much stronger than annealed pins. So far I have no record of a customer bending or breaking a pin and nor, incidentally, do I have a record of anybody fracturing the new plastic body made of copolymer (which has been used now for about 5 years).

As you might imagine I do not make a fortune out of the Gaco oarlocks but am proud to provide my customers with such a good product. As we say over here: Not smelly noisy engines Just smelly healthy quiet rowers.

John Murray

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