Race rules and safety

These rules are those that will apply during the race and also covering the period from the arrival of the boat at the launch site and until it is taken out of the river.  The full set of instructions, rules and regulations for the race is given in the Great River Race document Regulations and Long GuidanceNotes which every crew member is expected to have read and understood prior to taking part in the race.

  1. Participants must display their Race numbers clearly as directed on the day.  Failure to display a race number can result in disqualification or a time penalty.
  2. Participants must start at their allotted timeslot and complete the whole course. Participants who miss their start time will be held back and given instructions when they can start by a Start Marshall.
  3. It is the coxswain’s responsibility to keep their boat in the correct part of the river and must not obstruct other vessels.
  4. It also the coxswain’s responsibility to pass under Bridges through the specified arches as directed in the GRR guidance notes available on the website. A laminated Bridge Plan will be provided at Registration.
  5. Overtaking boats must keep clear of boats they are passing and ensure that they pass safely. They should ensure that there is at least 2m between their oars and those of the boat they are overtaking.
  6. Boats being overtaken can hold their course but must not purposefully obstruct the overtaking boat.
  7. There are particular safety considerations when making overtaking manoeuvres where space is very restricted coming up to and passing under bridges. Over taking is not permitted in these areas and it is the responsibility of the cox to ensure that overtaking manoeuvres are executed safely avoiding collisions.
  8. All participants must adhere to instructions given to them by Safety Marshalls. Failure to do this can result in disqualification or a time penalty.
  9. Abusive behaviour to any GRR Officials, Marshals or safety boat crews will not be tolerated and will result in disqualification.
  10. We understand the desire to complete the race but should the Safety Marshalls deem it necessary that your craft or crew should retire then their decision is final and you must accept a tow.
  11. Taking a tow will result in exclusion from the results.
  12. All participants’ boats must have been removed from the riverside at Ham 5 hours after the start of the race.
  13. In areas where there could be congestion, for example at the start and the finish, it is the responsibility of the cox and crew not to become an obstruction.
  14. In the event of a collision, all boats involved should stop immediately and exchange details.  No boats involved may start racing again until all involved have done this and it is safe to continue.
  15. In the event of any infringement of the GRR rules for racing, disputes and interpretation of the terms and conditions of entry and participation the decision of the Race Director supported by the GRR board is final. The decisions that they make are binding on all participants.
  16. Every boat shall have a minimum of four oars and carry a cox and a passenger except in the case of those specific classes that are exempt from carrying a passenger.

Event Safety

ES 1 Ensuring safety is paramount. The course map, course instructions as well as the launch and recovery instructions will be available on the website. They are set out in the Rules, Regulations and Guidance notes. Every crew member taking part in this race must have read and fully understood the contents of this document and it is the responsibility of the Team-Captain to ensure they do. Failure of the crew or any of its members to adhere to the Rules and Regulations may result in disqualification or time-penalties.

ES 2 It is an absolute requirement that suitable Personal Flotation Devices (PFD/life-jackets) must be worn by all under 18s.  Although it is preferred that all other crew members including the cox and passenger wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFD/life-jackets) they must at least have them in their boats close at hand and must be able to put them on quickly if instructed to do so by the crew Captain or Race Official. If crew members choose not to wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFD/life-jackets) they do so entirely at their own risk.

ES 3 All boats may be asked to present themselves to a designated inspector for inspection on race day. They are required to have the following on board:

  • PFDs for all crew
  • A clearly displayed race number (supplied)
  • A stern flag 3ft x 2ft (90x60cms) mounted on a flagpole which must fly freely during the race
  • 20ft towline, securely attached to the bow of the boat
  • Two x 1litre bailers
  • A multitool
  • An adequate supply of drinking water
  • Sun protection
  • Mobile phone with numbers relevant to the race
  • ICIs, Bridge-Plans, race rules and regulations and other relevant papers provided at registration

ES 4 All entrants are responsible for the safety and condition of their own craft and equipment, for insuring it and for the safety of all persons aboard.

ES 5 Please note – every boat must be covered by Third Party Liability Insurance up to a minimum limit of £5,000,000 and provide indemnity to the GRR. You will have to sign at the Registration Desk on race day to confirm you have such public liability insurance in place.

ES 6  Participation in the Event is personal to you and every member of your crew. You are strictly prohibited from swapping, selling or transferring or offering to sell, swap or transfer the place in the Event or allowing any other boat and crew to wear the Event number.