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This is an occasional feature on people who paddle, swim, fish, and have fun on the Merrimack River.

Are you interested in rowing or paddling on the Merrimack, storing your boat just a few easy steps from the river and meeting people who share your passion for the water?  

The Merrimack Tidal Rowers Association might just be your perfect place.

Tucked into a spacious storage bay at Marianna’s Marina in Haverhill, the small non-profit group has been operating for several years. Membership fees cover the cost of renting the storage bay, which is split between the members.

On a recent sunny May afternoon, club members Paul Geoghegen and Rick Bayko met with MRWC’s John Macone to talk about the association, and to let people know that new members are welcome to join. There are 8-10 slots available for boat and equipment storage. Kayaks, canoes, or any other small boat is welcome, as well as larger boats for winter storage.

The facility has a lot of things going for it – there’s a washdown station, the club storage unit is just 50 yards from the boat ramp, and there’s plenty of room to store your boat and equipment. The boat ramp is an easy and quick walk across a paved parking lot.

For Geoghegen and Bayko, rowing is both a passion and a joy. The association offers them the flexibility to paddle whenever they please.

Both Geoghegen and Bayko enjoy early morning paddles on the river. It’s a time when the river can be still and nearly silent, save for the sounds and sights of nature.  

“If I don’t see a bald eagle or osprey, it’s a bad day,”  said Geohegan. “And pretty soon we’ll be seeing sturgeon.”

Sturgeon are a prehistoric fish that are native to the Merrimack. The 4-5-foot bottom-feeders have a unique appearance – they have no scales, instead they are covered in boney armor – and they leap out of the water regularly, for reasons that are unknown. The leap and dramatic slap of a sturgeon hitting the water is something unique to experience.

The location is convenient for paddlers who want to experience a scenic stretch of the river that is also tidal – but not as strong of a tidal zone as what you’d experience several miles downriver. Tidal paddling can enhance your experience if you time your paddles to coincide with the tides – for instance, paddling upstream as the tide is coming in, then downstream when the tide is going out. 

Many of the members have been paddling on the Merrimack for years, and can share experience and advice.

For more information on the club, contact Paul Geoghegan at