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:

  • Classification of competitors
  • The Point System and Personal Ranking System
  • Classification of events
  • Competition organisation
  • Conduct of the race
  • Racing
  • Disputes and disciplinary procedures

Download the Rules of Racing 2017. Aligned to the Rules of Racing, please read our guidance on sponsorship and partnership marketing for events and clubs.

Rules of Racing and Changes for 2017

(Now in effect, as of 1 April, 2017)

Under the direction of the National Competition Committee the Rules of Racing Panel are currently half-way through a major overhaul of the Rules of Racing that is aiming to produce a simpler set of rules but also to develop them to take into account other types of rowing competition. Historically the Rules of Racing have covered regattas and head races but the intention is to expand them to fully include other types of competition including, but not limited to, indoor rowing, off-shore rowing, coastal rowing, stable boat competitions, etc.

The Rules of Racing for 2017 also have to cater for competitions using the ‘old’ status system and for competitions using the Ranking System so the 2017 version of the Rules is a hybrid to some extent. Any rules referring to the old status system will be removed for 2018 which will mean a clearer and more coherent document for next year.

The Rules of Racing Panel were also asked to simplify the rules where possible and remove areas of duplication. With this in mind there has been a major change this year and ‘regattas’ and ‘head races’ are now just referred to as ‘competitions’. This has allowed much of the old section 6 (Head and other Processional Races) to be included in the main body of the Rules.

Other changes for 2017 include:

  • Many sections have been re-arranged and renumbered.
  • The wording covering anti-doping has been updated.
  • The sponsorship rules have been relaxed.
  • The Ranking System has been integrated into the Rules of Racing fully and now sits alongside the Points System. The intention is that the Points System will be removed from the Rules of Racing in 2018.
  • The Local Rules sections for regattas and head races have been combined.
  • The role of the Regional Umpiring Committee has been clarified and there is now just one rule covering this.
  • The rules that describe the roles of umpires and other officials have been extensively re-written including merging the sections that previously covered regattas and head separately.
  • The majority of the definitions that were in the old section 1.2 have been moved into a glossary in a new appendix.
  • Standardisation to ‘cox’ or ‘coxes’.
  • Standardisation of ‘oarsman’ to ‘rower’.
  • Use ‘competitor’ to denote both ‘rowers’ and ‘coxes’.
  • Details of how to explain how a Masters Handicap race will be started are included.
  • The wording of the junior rules has been altered to try to clarify the difference between the age band of the rower and the age band of the event.
  • Junior Maiden has been removed.
  • The items required on the poster for a competition are now only suggestions – not actually a rule. Although the poster or notice still has to be approved by the RUC.

The Rules of Racing Panel will be working on the 2018 Rules of Racing over the summer and would welcome any feedback on the 2017 Rules of Racing or suggestions for the future considerations.


2016 Rules of Racing

2015 Rules of Racing

2014 Rules of Racing

2013 Rules of Racing

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