Rules of Racing

The Rules of Racing apply to all rowing and sculling races, events and regattas that are registered by British Rowing.


The purposes of the Rules of Racing are to:

  • Provide a basis for safe, fair and equal racing.
  • Ensure that due notice is taken of the Row Safe Guidance, the provisions of which shall take precedence at all times.
  • Provide a consistent framework for the regulation and organisation of Regattas and other rowing events.

The rules specifically cover:

  • Conduct of the race
  • Safety
  • Competitors
  • Classification of events
  • Regatta organisation
  • Head and Processional races
  • Sponsorship

Download the Rules of Racing 2016

Rules of Racing and Changes for 2016

(Now in effect, as of 1 April, 2016)

The Rules of Racing Panel has started to address the transition between the points system and the new Personal Ranking Index (PRI). The concept is introduced in two new definitions at the beginning of the rules and then amplified in rules that will have duplicates to allow Pathfinder events to proceed whilst also facilitating the collection of data that will populate each competitor’s PRI.  The duplicate rules are introduced at:

Rule 2-3-9 which confirms that when the new system comes online, BR will maintain the PRI via the online entry system though each competitor will still carry responsibility to ensure that his/her Licence is up to date; and

Rule 3-2-1 outlines the concept of the Personal Ranking System confirming that the PRI on entry into an event will be determined eight (8) days before the official close of entries. The Panel noted that some events are suspending some event entries because they are oversubscribed or full and accordingly, the ‘official close of entries’ clarification is deemed to be important in the amended rule; and

Rule 3-3-5b confirms that Masters, in common with all other competitors, will have a PRI to enable them to compete at Senior level in addition to Masters competition; and

Rule 4-1-2, Qualifying Conditions has also been amended for Pathfinder events; and

Finally, in this group of changes relating to the Personal Ranking introduction, the Change of Status reference at Rule 4-1-10 is amended to reflect the introduction of ‘ranking’.

Other rule changes, apart from the usual minor tautological adjustments, reflect the changing competition environment. Safety Information and Circulation Patters can now be confirmed by way of an email with associated web link to satisfy the requirements of Rules 2-2-3 and 5-2-3f. 

National Competitions Committee is concerned at the number of disqualifications, particularly after event finals, that result from illegal substitutions or those made in contravention of the rules. In an attempt to address this, Rule 2-3-4b Crew Composition  has been amended to allow 100% substitution of a crew until the ‘official close of entries’.

Poor and defective heel restraints continue to represent a major safety concern and Rule 2-3-8b has been amended to bring it in line with FISA standards requiring each heel to be restrained to prevent it from rising higher than 7cm measured at right angles from the footplate. It is hoped that the introduction of a fixed dimension will clarify the requirement for all.

Many regattas run early and Rule 2-4-4a acknowledges this by enabling the Starter to start races early subject to approval of the Race Committee.

The Panel also looked at the points allocated to crew members participating in the Oxford and Cambridge University boat races and Rule 3-2-1d has been amended to include all competitors.

Rule 5-2-3b has been amended to enable an Organising Committee to report upon the state of the entry list prior to that list being closed though this does not extent to identifying the crews that have actually entered.

Finally, Rule 5-2-4 has been amended to broaden the scope of information to b reported after each event to facilitate the collection of date for each competitor’s PRI.

All of the proposed rule changes have been approved by Council.

-Tim Walton, Chairman, Rules of Racing Panel


2015 Rules of Racing

2014 Rules of Racing

2013 Rules of Racing

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