Reading Amateur Regatta - Rules & Regulations

Reading Amateur Regatta will be held under the rules of British Rowing and the British Rowing Rules of Racing will apply. Further the Regatta conforms to the 'RowSafe' guide.

This page will set out the most important information for Coxes and Competitors. Please ensure you familiarise yourself with the course by having a look at the course maps at the bottom of the page and by reading the official “Notes for Competitors” document which is copied below.

Competitors and Coxes must familiarise themselves with the contents of these pages

You can download this page in PDF format here. Also read our regatta Safety information using this link

Notes for Competitors

1. General

Reading Amateur Regatta is held under the rules of British Rowing and the British Rowing Rules of Racing will apply. Further the Regatta conforms to the 'RowSafe' guide.
All enquiries should be directed to the Entries Secretary (tel. 07849 109764,

2. Site Access

The Reading Amateur Regatta is held on the river Thames, along the Thames promenade, next to Caversham Bridge in Reading.

ACCESS TO THE REGATTA SITE HAS CHANGED FROM LAST YEAR : The access route is from Thames Side Promenade through the car park behind Reading Rowing Club. Vehicles towing boat trailers or carrying sculling boats will be directed to a designated boat parking area.


The site will be accessible for trailer parking from the Friday morning when arranged through the Site Manager in advance (tel. 07784 570271, e-mail: The site will be open from 0500 on Saturday and Sunday mornings and close 2 hours after the last scheduled race of the day.

Trailers may be left overnight; however, this will be at the owner's risk. Trailers may be left on site until Monday morning; this must be arranged via the Site Manager in advance.

Parking will be charged at £2 per vehicle.

For sat-navs use RG1 8DR and follow the road signs.

Any site access issues should be reported to the Site Manager immediately.

3. Crew Registration

Crew registration and weigh-in will be in the Crew Stewards office which will be located in a marquee along with Regatta Control. During registration competitors will be challenged as to their crew's composition. The identification and notification of substitutions remains the responsibility of the crew.

Prior to boating for a final, crews must present themselves with their BR cards to Crew Stewards for formal identification, and to receive a final's certificate required for boating. Cards will be retained and returned to the crew after the final. Any crew failing to do this may have their prizes withheld.

4. Safety, First Aid & Welfare

Reading Amateur Regatta conforms to the RowSafe guide.

Regatta Safety Advisor: Ms D. Neate.

Regatta Welfare Advisor: Ms V. Allen.

Both can be contacted through Regatta Control or on 07849 109764.

A First Aid unit will be located close to the Finish Tent.

Regatta Medical cover can be contacted through Regatta Control.

Additional emergency medical support is available from:
Emergency Services: tel. 999
NHS Direct: tel. 111
The Regatta's location is: "Near Reading Rowing Club on Thameside Promenade off Richfield Avenue".

There is a public telephone at Reading Rowing Club (tel. 0118 956 7091). Emergency telephones are also available at Regatta Control.

Two safety boats, crewed by trained personnel, will patrol the course throughout the regatta. Safety boats can be summoned via Regatta Control or a race official.

All further enquiries should be made to Regatta Control.

If required, the local police contact telephone number is 101.

5. Accidents

All incidents shall be reported to Regatta Control at the earliest opportunity and not later than the close of racing. Accident/incident reports are available from Regatta Control.

In the event of a junior being involved in an accident, the emergency contact will be identified from the competitors' entry form held in Crew Stewards. The named person will be called over the public address (PA) system and contacted by the mobile phone number given on the entry form.

All incidents and near-incidents must be reported online to British Rowing by all parties involved within 24 hours of the incident occurring. Reports should be made online to British Rowing via

6. Racing programme

Races are timetabled to allow competitors the longest possible interval between races.

Doubling up of competitors is not allowed as per Rule 10 of the Rules of Entry.

In the event of a dead-heat, crews will re-row immediately over the full course.

The Committee reserves the right to:

  • Make alterations in the programme.
  • Redraw an event where circumstances subsequently make the original draw unfair to a significant proportion of the competitors
Any alterations will be communicated to competitors as soon as possible before race day via the website, and also over the PA system on the day of racing.

7. Rules of navigation

7.1 General

The Thames Navigation Licensing & General Byelaws 1993 and regulations for the avoidance of collisions shall be observed at all times.  In particular, the navigation channel must be left unobstructed for through traffic at all times.

It is the responsibility of the competing crews to report to the start at the appointed time - they alone must ensure they have allowed sufficient time to make the transit to the start area.

Crews in the channel that behave in a dangerous or discourteous manner with disregard for the rights of other river users may be disqualified from the Regatta.

7.2 Course

The regatta will be umpired from towers and boats along the bank. The course will be approximately 1500m on Saturday and 1100m on Sunday, raced with the stream. On both days, the finish will be approximately 100 m up-stream of Reading Rowing Club.

The start will be administered from a pontoon positioned in the river behind the stakeboats supported by roving marshals.

The full length of the course will be separated from the navigation channel by YELLOW buoys. The two racing lanes will be separated by RED buoys.

7.3 Boating

The boating area is situated on the Thames Path, which is a busy public walking route. Every care should be taken carrying equipment through areas where members of the public and regatta supporters are present.
Crews must make equipment and cox's weight certificates available for inspection by the Control Commission before boating.

Crews shall leave the rafts at least TWENTY MINUTES before the scheduled race time. However, it is the responsibility of the competing crews to report to the start at the appointed time and crews should take into account river traffic conditions in deciding when to boat.

Boating is under the supervision of raft marshals. Crews going afloat to practice prior to racing shall advise the raft marshal whether they intend to land again before racing or stay on the water until their race time.

Crews should boat with their bows pointing upstream (i.e. towards the start). When leaving the raft, crews shall take care to ensure the river is completley clear of crews finishing a race or winding down after the finish before crossing promptly (with full crew rowing) to the navigation channel along the farther, Oxfordshire (north) bank. All outbound crews must be in the navigation channel before they pass the finish line buoy.

Boats and blades shall not be left in the access area between the Finish and Reading Rowing Club. There will be a marked-off area immediately behind the Enclosure where boats and blades may be left between races.


Crews must present themselves with their BR cards to Crew Stewards for formal identification and to receive a final's certificate required for boating. Cards will be retained and returned to the crew after the final. Any crew failing to do this may have their prizes withheld.

7.4  Before racing

This section of the Thames is a busy public thoroughfare throughout the Regatta. All craft passing through this area have a right of navigation and competitors have no special rights of way in the navigation channel itself. The sole purpose of the navigation channel is to allow the flow of all traffic through the Regatta area.

A channel marshal, with assistance from the safety boats, will be responsible for maintaining the flow of river traffic and will police the movement of crews in the navigation channel along the Oxfordshire (North) bank.

Crews proceeding to the start must avoid impeding other river users, particularly vessels travelling downstream in the navigation channel Crews shall identify themselves to the start marshal when passing the start pontoon while processing upstream. After reporting to the start pontoon, crews shall pair up with their opponents. On Saturday, first continue through the Gut, where marshals will be in place to instruct competitors where they should spin and wait for their race.

7.5  Practice Starts and Firm Pressure Restrictions

Practice starts and firm pressure paddling is not permitted in the navigation channel or in the start marshalling area.

Crews wishing to practice starts or to paddle firm shall proceed well beyond the Gut immediately above the Saturday start area, and clear of crews waiting to race. Coxes and steersmen should note that normal navigation rules apply once clear of the Regatta course, and crews must take care not to interfere with other river traffic. Crews should also note that there is no safety boat cover beyond the immediate vicinity of the Regatta course.

Failure to observe this rule may lead to disqualification from the Regatta.

7.6 Proceeding to the start

Crews paired with their opposition shall report to the marshal upstream of the start pontoon FOUR minutes prior to their scheduled race time.

Crews should proceed to the start when directed to do so by the marshal.

On Saturday, when instructed by the marshal, crews shall proceed through "the Gut", easying just above their respective stakeboats and taking care not to obstruct the navigation channel. Crews who have to stop in "the Gut" shall do so line-astern to ensure that other river traffic can continue to pass freely.

7.7 The race

There will be a stagger at the start to take into account the stream conditions on the day, thus equalising the course. The stagger will be aligned using the sterns of the boats.

Crews are required to remain in the lane in which they start and to obey instructions from the umpires to maintain safe and fair racing.

7.8 After the finish

After finishing, crews shall proceed downstream, passing through the right-hand (from direction of travel) arch of Caversham Bridge, and keeping close to the central buttress. Coxes and steerspersons should be aware of, and give way to normal river traffic that will be passing through the centre of the arch. Crews should NOT proceed through the left-hand arch of Caversham Bridge. All crews should turn clockwise around the buoy in the pool downstream of Pipers Island.

Crews shall cross the river (giving way to normal river traffic) and return upstream as close as possible to the Berkshire bank (nearest to Reading Rowing Club). Continue back under Caversham Bridge, staying as close as possible to the Berkshire bank.

Crews waiting to land shall hold position just downstream of Reading Rowing Club until called to the landing stage by a raft marshal.

Crews wishing to warm down may proceed downstream of Pipers Island following normal rules of navigation. There will be no safety cover in this area.

7.9 Passenger cruises

The Caversham Lady, Caversham Princess and Princess Marina operate cruises from a jetty just down-stream of Reading Rowing Club.

Coxes and steerspersons should make themselves familiar with the following signals that will be used by these vessels when manoeuvring.

  • One short whistle blast --> changing course to starboard (right)
  • Two short whistle blasts --> changing course to port (left)
  • Three short whistle blasts --> reversing
  • Four short whistle blasts / short interval / one short blast --> turning with bows moving to starboard (right)
  • Four short whistle blasts / short interval / two short blasts --> turning with bows moving to port (left)
8.  Prizes

Prizes may be withheld if:

  • Less than three boats actually compete in an event.
  • The British Rowing membership card of any member of the winning crews is not presented for updating.
    All finalists shall present their cards for verification prior to going afloat for Finals. They will be returned after the result of the event is known.

9.  Competencies expected of entrants

9.1  General

It is a condition of entry that all competitors are competent in basic watermanship and racing skills.

Reading Amateur Regatta works hard to provide safe and fair racing for all concerned, but we expect competitors to do their bit as well by being competent in basic watermanship and racing skills.

It is a condition of entry that all competitors are able to:

  • Proceed safely in the navigation lane and marshalling area without impeding other river users.
  • Get attached to the start quickly and cleanly (see 8.2 below).
  • Know which station is which, and the one they are allocated for their race.
  • Respond quickly and clearly to any steering instructions given by regatta officials (and not just during a race) and that they can do so unaided, without the intervention of a coach or regatta official.

Competitors who are clearly not competent in any of these areas may not be allowed to race in the interests of their own and other competitors' safety. We ask that club captains and coaches ensure their competitors (especially juniors) are trained in these basic manoeuvres.

9.2 Getting onto the start

We expect competitors to get onto the start unaided, and to be practised in the following procedure:

  • Move into the start area without impeding other crews or colliding with the start pontoon or stakeboats.
  • Paddle directly ahead of the allotted stakeboat and straighten up no more than 30 m from it.
  • The bow half of the crew sit with blades flat on the water, whilst the stern half back down at backstops and without slides, steering the boat towards the stakeboat.
  • The bow half of the crew check the boat speed by squaring their blades so the stern stops gently at the stakeboat, and does not hit it at speed.  Stroke is to control this manoeuvre in a bow-loaded boat.
  • Once attached, "bow" or "two" can make minor adjustments to direction using short strokes with arms only, at front-stops (no slide).
  • Larger adjustments can be made by "bow" or "two" passing their oar forward to "two" or "three", who then takes short strokes on front-stops (no slide), reaching out so that the blade is as close to the boat as possible.  This procedure reduces the pull on the stakeboat.

Regatta Maps

Circulation at the Finish & boating area