The Occoquan Boat Club was founded in 1979 by Rick Evans to represent independent rowers on the Occoquan and to promote rowing in Northern Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region. The club started with three members and in recent years has registered approximately 150 rowers annually. Over the years the fleet has grown to 24 singles, doubles/pairs and quads/straight four. The first Head of the Occoquan Regatta was held in 1983. HOTO has now grown into a two-day event with 600 boats and 3000 athletes; proceeds from the regatta are, next to membership fees, the main source of club income. In 2009, OBC added the Occoquan Memorial Sprints (OMS) to the regattas it hosts annually in order to fund the Julia Shew Memorial Rowing Scholarship for local high school rowers.

Throughout its history OBC has lived up to its stated purpose of supporting Northern Virginia rowing, frequently contributing funding for park infrastructure and equipment, lending its boats for sculling camps, and providing rowing scholarships for local high school rowers.