Rules of the Race 2024

Failure to comply with these Rules renders the crew liable to a penalty up to and including disqualification as deemed appropriate by the Chief Umpire.


  1. All crews must dispose of their refuse responsibly and must not leave any debris (especially water bottles) along the foreshore or at any of the boating sites
  2. All competitors must behave in a decent and responsible manner, the sport’s exposure at boating sites and along the course is substantial. Crews must not engage in acts such as the use of foul or abusive language, or urinating in public view.
  3. Any crew or club at fault in a verifiable navigational incident or boating without a six letter and digit code on the Tideway during the fourteen day period prior to the event may be sanctioned or excluded from starting.


Safety is the responsibility of each competitor and club.
4. As per BRRoR 7-2-8 (a) , all crews and boats must conform, in all respects, to the British Rowing Row Safe Code during training and racing.
5. Should a crew member go overboard the crew must stop, stand by and assist recovery.
6. Boats with a front – loaded coxswain are NOT permitted to race.
7. Captains of clubs are responsible for ensuring that all coxes are sufficiently competent to navigate and control an eight on the Tideway.


  1. Crews must obey marshalling instructions contained in the “General Race Instructions” and review the “Start Marshalling Area” map; this will be updated after the draw to match variable hazards in the area of the river closure and the entry.
  2. Crews not in their marshalling position by the time specified must proceed as directed by the marshals.
  3. Crews may only paddle up to half pressure and to a maximum rate of 21 in the marshalling area, unless instructed to do so by an official.
  4. In the event of the cancellation of the Race, all crews in the marshalling area remain under control of the marshals and must only move from their position following receipt of specific instructions from a marshal.
  5. Beachmasters. Specific Race Officials in the Putney, Hammersmith, Barnes Bridge and Chiswick areas will be designated as Beachmasters. Their role, under instruction from Race Control, will be to prevent crews from going afloat in the event of either Race cancellation or abandonment; crews are required to follow their instructions at all times.


  1. The Chief Marshal will start the race with a signal to all Marshals that the first crew may cross the start line. The Chief Marshal may also temporarily suspend crews crossing the start line for reasons of safety; in this instance the race has not been stopped. Prior to crossing the start line crews must not close up on boats next to or in front of them, and must immediately drop back if instructed.


  1. During the race, boats being overtaken must give way in good time to those overtaking so that overtaking boats are not impeded in following their proper course.
  2. All crews must pass through the centre arches of Barnes and Hammersmith Bridges, and pass on the Middlesex side of the line of the moored boats at Putney.
  3. BRRoR 7-5-9; there can be no communication with a crew other than unaided voice during the race.
  4. In the event of the need to stop the race, marshals and umpires along the course will sound continuous short blasts on air horns, wave red flags and instruct crews to “STOP RACING”. Crews must immediately slow to a light paddle and await further instructions. Failing to do so is a major safety infringement.

After the Racing
After completing the course, all crews must continue through the centre arch of Putney Bridge and the centre arch of Fulham Railway Bridge before turning.

  1. After passing through the centre arches of the Bridges all crews must turn right towards the Surrey (Putney) shore and paddle back on that side of the river between the line of moored boats and the shore.

(a) Crews returning to Middlesex clubs below Chiswick eyot have crossing marshals for their boating locations, they should present themselves to these marshals and await instruction to cross.  Fulham Reach, the marshal is opposite the clubhouse.  Hammersmith clubs below Dove pier the marshal is stationed above Hammersmith Bridge. Hammersmith clubs above Dove pier (Latymer and Sons of the Thames) the marshal is stationed upriver of St. Paul’s BC.  No crew should cross unless specifically instructed to do so.
(b) Crews returning to Barnes, Mortlake, Chiswick and Kew must paddle up the Surrey side to opposite Chiswick Pier, and present themselves to the marshal stationed at this point before crossing to the Middlesex side. They must then paddle up the Middlesex side keeping clear of racing crews.
(c) Only in exceptional circumstances and under the express direction of an umpire/marshal, may a crew cross at a point other than an official crossing-point.
(d) While marshalling is still in progress crews returning to Barnes, Mortlake, Chiswick and Kew must remain on the Middlesex side behind the last division on Middlesex as they move upstream and – if necessary – wait below Mortlake Anglian & Alpha BC for them to complete their turn before proceeding further upstream. Under no circumstances may returning crews overtake marshalled crews. Crews wishing to cross to Surrey at this point must await permission from the Marshal above Chiswick Bridge. This will not be given until the last crew to start has passed through Chiswick Bridge.
(e) If weather and/or river conditions are poor, but not bad enough to force cancellation, the Committee may decide for reasons of safety to hold the Race over a shorter course, and possibly with fewer crews.

Ben Helm
Chief Umpire