racing procedures

Racing Procedures

The information given below is provided for coaches and athletes, from Rowing Canada Aviron Rules of Racing, to assist their crews in interpreting the Umpire's commands during racing. The format for lodging of protests is provided so all crews are aware of the correct procedure in the event such a situation occurs.

All races will start on time. A race cannot be held for a late arrival, except in extraordinary circumstances.


All shells must be fitted with a bow ball and bow clip. Boats with flexible shoes must have properly adjusted heel ties, 7cm maximum length. Please make sure you have reviewed Rule #3.5 from the RCA Rules of Racing as it is new and will be checked at our regatta. All these will be checked at the dock. Boats not meeting these safety requirements will not be allowed on the water until they are fixed.

The Start

What follows is an explanation of procedures so that all competitors will be familiar with the start.

Elements of the Start

The two minute warning

When the starter announces 'two minutes' all crews should be at the start line, if starting platforms are in use, the crews should be held by the boatholder by the time this announcement is made. Any crew not at the start line (and being held in place if appropriate) should be assessed a warning for late arrival at the start. Crews should be ready to race within the two minutes indicated by the starter.

Alignment of the shells

The aligner controls this process. When the aligner considers the alignment to be good, this is passed to the starter in a variety of ways: the aligner can raise the white flag.

The roll call

The starter does the roll call. Note that the roll call consists solely of announcing the name of the crew - this is not a question, and the starter will not be waiting for a response from the crew. In addition, once the starter has commenced calling the roll, a hand raised in a shell will be ignored.


The starter will make one further check along the length of the start line to ensure that alignment is still correct, and that there is nothing that would prevent a start. The starter then announces 'ATTENTION'.

Raising of the flag

The starter will then raise the red flag.

The pause

The starter will then pause for a variable length of time.

The start command

The starter will give the start command by announcing 'GO'. At the same time, the starter will drop the red flag.

During the Race

A red flag means stop rowing.

If a crew is about to interfere with another by its wash or by leaving its lane, the Umpire shall raise the white flag, call to the crew at fault, indicating the required change of direction by lowering the flag to one side. In principle, the Umpire may not steer a crew unless there is an obstruction in its lane.

At the Finish

As each crew crosses the finish line, a horn will sound. A white flag raised at the end of the race indicates the race was in order. A red flag raised means an objection has been lodged.

Objections / Protests

Objections (a) must be made initially, on the water, to the Umpire; (b) the protest must be then submitted by the coach, and in writing, together with a $100.00 protest fee, to the Head Umpire from Rowing Canada. You have one hour to complete this process from the time of the initial objection. This fee will be refunded only if the protest is upheld.

Should the Umpire consider the race to not have been properly run, the Umpire shall raise the red flag, consult, when appropriate, the objecting crew, and go to the judges at the finish in order to give them any necessary explanations. If a crew considers they have suffered interference during a race, the coxswain must raise a hand immediately after finishing the race. After an explanation has been given to the Umpire, a written submission stating the facts and reasons for the protest, signed by the crew's coach, must be submitted to the Head Umpire, accompanied by a deposit of $100.00 (Canadian Funds). You have one hour to complete this process from the time of the initial objection. These funds will be refunded if the protest is upheld, but will not be refunded if the protest is dismissed.

The Chief Umpire will neither consider or accept the submission of GoPro or cell phone video as part of an objection or protest.