These Rules are established by The United States Rowing Association (USRowing), and shall be known and may be cited as the USRowing Rules of Rowing.
The purposes of these Rules are to:
(a) provide for the safety of competitors and officials;
(b) provide for fair and equitable racing under rules that are adapted to the needs of the sport of Rowing;
(c) promote consistent application of rules in situations where they apply.
These Rules shall be interpreted to effect the purposes described in Rule 1-102 ("Purposes"). Wherever possible, provisions of these Rules shall be interpreted consistent with each other, but if such interpretation is not possible, the more specific language shall control the general, and provisions regarding safety shall control any other provision. Captions, titles and headings are part of these Rules. In cases of ambiguity, these Rules shall be interpreted consistent with the rules of the International Rowing Federation (FISA).
(a) These Rules shall apply to all rowing races and regattas that take place in the United States, and that are registered by USRowing. These Rules shall not apply to any races or regattas that are within the exclusive jurisdiction and control of the International Rowing Federation (FISA).
(b) These Rules shall apply without exception or amendment to all National Championship Regattas, Regional Championship Regattas, and all trials races and regattas to select the National Team. Subject to subsection (c) below, the local organizing committee of any other registered regatta may make exceptions or amendments to these Rules if such exceptions are described in detail in the application to USRowing for registration, and are publicized in writing and distributed to every competing team. USRowing may take the extent and nature of variation from these Rules into account in determining whether to register a regatta.
(c) Subsection (b) above notwithstanding, there shall be no exceptions or amendments to any provision designated as absolutely binding. (In these Rules, such provisions are noted by an asterisk (*) in the appropriate caption or subsection heading.)
(d) Head races (Article VIII) and races for Open Water Events (Part A of Article IX) shall be held under the specific rules designated for them.
In situations not covered under these Rules, race officials are empowered to make such decisions and give such instructions as are necessary to carry out their responsibilities, and to effect the purposes described in Rule 1-102 ("Purposes").
"Rowing" is the propulsion of a displacement boat through water by the muscular force of one or more rowers, with or without a coxswain, in which oars are levers of the second order, and in which the rowers are sitting with their backs to the direction of forward movement of the boat.
Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions shall apply when the terms below, or grammatical variations thereof, are used in these Rules:
(a) "Advertisement" shall mean any writing, symbol, emblem, mark, or other graphic design that identifies or promotes a person, club, organization, sponsor, corporation, trade product, association or entity, other than the club for whom a crew is competing.
(b) "Club" shall mean any entity recognized by USRowing as an organizational member, that operates or sponsors a rowing program.
(c) "Competitor" shall mean any person who participates in a crew as a rower or coxswain.
(d) "Coxswain" shall mean any competitor in a crew who is not a rower and who, apart from operating a bona fide steering mechanism, does not participate in the physical propulsion of the boat.
(e) "Crew" shall mean an entity comprised of competitors and constituted for the purpose of competing in an event at a regatta. A crew shall be considered an entity subject to these Rules, and members of a crew shall be collectively responsible for its conduct, from the time it has launched until it has returned to land.
(f) "Equipment" shall mean any part of a boat, oar, or other mechanism, that is used in the normal propulsion, flotation or steering of a boat.
(g) "Event" shall mean a race or series of races, including all heats, repechages, semifinals, petite finals, and grand finals, that together determine the winner and order of placement in a particular class of competition. An event may be characterized by category of boat such as those described in Rule 3-103 ("Categories of Boats"), manner of construction of boat or other equipment, gender of competitors, age of competitors, weight of competitors, or level of skill of competitors.
(h) "FISA" shall mean the International Rowing Federation (Federation Internationale des Societes D'Aviron), or any successor body recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the international governing body of rowing.
(i) "Head race" shall mean a race in which the participating crews start a race at different times, and where the order of finish is determined by comparison of the elapsed time taken to traverse the course.
(j) "International committee" shall mean whichever one of the following has jurisdiction over a given matter, as the context or situation may indicate: Men's Olympic Rowing Committee, Women's Olympic Rowing Committee, Men's Lightweight Committee, Women's Lightweight Committee, Men's Junior Committee, or Women's Junior Committee.
(k) "May," when used in describing the duties, powers, or responsibilities of a race official or other authority described in these Rules, implies the exercise of discretion and judgment in light of training, knowledge, and experience.
(l) "National Team" shall mean all members of those crews that are selected to represent the United States, and bear the national colors, in international competition, as defined in the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, 37 U.S.C. 371 et seq., including but not limited to the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, and any FISA Championship Regatta. The National Team shall also include all coaches, managers, trainers, doctors, administrators, or other staff selected to serve.
(m) "Race" shall mean the rowing of the course in a competitive manner by one or more crews, the results of which are used as part of the process to determine the winner and order of placement in an event.
(n) "Race official" shall mean the Chief Referee, members of the Jury, or any other person who serves at a regatta in one of the capacities described in Rule 2-104 ("Officials"), and who possesses a valid USRowing Judge-Referee license.
(o) "Regatta" shall mean a combination of different events sponsored by the same local organizing committee as a single unit.
(p) "Registered regatta" shall mean any regatta that has been specifically designated by USRowing as meeting the requirements of a registered regatta.
(q) "Rower" shall mean any person acting as an oarsman or oarswoman who participates in the physical propulsion of a boat.
(r) "Scull" shall mean an oar used in a boat in which each rower uses two oars. "Scull" shall also refer to boats and events in which such oars are used.
(s) "Selection criteria" includes all procedures, policies, and regulations that determine the manner of selecting the National Team. Such criteria include the manner of selection, such as whether trials, camps, or other method of selection is used; whether time standards will be utilized; procedures regarding vacancies in a boat subsequent to trials; policies regarding entry in more than one trials event; and any other limitations on selection to the National Team or on the ability to participate in trials or camps to select the National Team.
(t) "Starting area" shall mean the first 100 meters of the course, as well as the adjoining water at the perimeter of the course.
(u) "Sweep" shall mean an oar used in a boat in which each rower uses one oar. "Sweep" shall also refer to boats and events in which such oars are used.
(v) "Team" shall mean all competitors, coaches, managers, trainers, boatmen, and other administrators who represent the same club at a particular regatta. A team and members thereof shall be considered constituted and subject to these Rules throughout a regatta.
(w) "Unsportsmanlike conduct" shall include, but not be limited to, failure to heed the instructions of race officials, use of obscene language or gestures, delaying a race without just cause, intentional or flagrant disregard of principles of safety and fairness, or abusive behavior toward any official, team member, or spectator.
(x) "USRowing" shall mean the United States Rowing Association, as well as any officer, employee, committee, or other entity acting within the scope of its authority granted under the USRowing Constitution or Bylaws, or delegated by USRowing Board of Directors.
(y) "Wash" shall mean the creation of water turbulence that
affects the progress of a crew.
(a) It is the primary duty of every race official to provide for the safety of competitors and officials.
(b) Subject to subsection (a) above, it is the duty of all race officials to ensure that all crews have a fair and equal opportunity of winning or placing. Where a crew has been affected by unfair advantage or disadvantage, whether due to another crew or outside circumstances, it is the responsibility of race officials to restore fair racing conditions.
(c) These primary duties shall control the operation of all other provisions of these Rules.
(a) Before the regatta, there shall be appointed a Chief Referee.
(b) Appointment of the Chief Referee for all USRowing National Championship Regattas, and all trials races and regattas to select the National Team, shall be made directly by the USRowing Judge-Referee Committee. Appointment of the Chief Referee for all other registered regattas shall be according to procedures established or approved by the USRowing Judge-Referee Committee.
(c) All persons acting as Chief Referee at a registered regatta shall hold a full Judge-Referee's license.
(a) The Chief Referee:
(1) shall assign the functions of all other race officials at the regatta;
(2) shall be President of the Jury;
(3) may also act individually as a race official as described in Rule 2-104 ("Officials");
(4) shall verify the existence of safety requirements at the regatta site, and shall execute an appropriate document reporting his or her findings and return it to USRowing headquarters;
(5) shall perform such other functions as are assigned to him or her under these Rules.
(b) If these Rules call for a decision by the Chief Referee, the Chief Referee may instead refer such matter to the Jury for resolution.
(c) Assignment or appointment of race officials made by the Chief Referee, including members of the Jury, shall be subject to review and revision by the USRowing Judge-Referee Committee, but shall not otherwise be subject to challenge, review or protest before the Jury or another race official.
(a) For each race at a regatta, the Chief Referee shall cause to be assigned officials to perform the following functions:
(1) Referee: The Referee shall have general supervision of the race, and shall follow the progress of the race from start to finish. All other officials for a particular race shall be subject to the control of the Referee except where duties are specifically delegated to them under these Rules. If more than one official follows the progress of a race, the official who begins the race following behind the lanes closest to the Judges' stand shall be the primary Referee, and all others shall be secondary Referees. Unless otherwise indicated, reference in these rules to the "Referee" shall include both the primary and secondary Referees.
(2) Starter: The Starter shall administer the starting procedures, and shall be responsible for their fairness. The Starter may be assisted by a deputy.
(3) Judge at Start: The Judge at Start shall supervise the process of bringing the crews into alignment with the plane of the starting line, shall decide when a crew has left the starting line before the proper commands, and may otherwise assist the Starter The Judge at Start may be assisted by an Aligner provided by the local organizing committee.
(4) Chief Judge: The Chief Judge shall supervise the judges at the finish line, and along with the judges, shall inspect photographic records of finishes to determine the proper order. If there is disagreement, the finding of the Chief Judge shall prevail over an individual judge.
(5) Judges: Under the supervision and control of the Chief Judge, the judges shall determine and record the order of finish, when necessary inspect photographic records of finishes, determine the proper placement of crews, and compute the appropriate time margins.
(b) All persons acting as Referee (primary or secondary), Starter, Judge at Start, or Chief Judge at any registered regatta shall have a full, emeritus, or associate Judge-Referee's license.
(a) Before the regatta, the Chief Referee shall appoint a Jury.
(b) The Jury shall normally be comprised of five members, including the Chief Referee as President. A different number may be designated by the Chief Referee, provided that there is an odd number of members, and that there are no less than three members. Jury members shall have a valid full, emeritus, or associate Judge-Referee's license.
(c) The Jury shall:
(1) hear and decide all protests arising out of competition;
(2) decide matters referred to it by the Chief Referee.
(d) The decision of the Jury made within its jurisdiction shall supersede any decision of an individual race official.
(e) When the Jury is hearing and deciding a protest as authorized under
subsection (c)(1) above, no official shall serve as a member if the issue
to be decided involves a decision made by that official, or if that official
must give testimony as a witness. The Chief Referee shall designate an
alternate member to serve instead.
If the Chief Referee finds that either of the requirements of safety or fairness described in Rule 2-101 ("Primary Duties of Officials") cannot be met under then existing conditions, he or she shall stop or suspend all racing until such time as safe and fair conditions are restored. The Chief Referee, if possible, shall consult with the local organizing committee either before suspending racing, or as soon as practical thereafter. If the Referee or Starter for a particular race finds that the requirements of Rule 2-101 ("Primary Duties of Officials") cannot be met under then existing conditions, he or she shall stop or suspend that race and shall inform the Chief Referee.
No later than one hour before the first race in a regatta, a meeting for all competitors and coaches shall be held, which shall be conducted by the Chief Referee or his or her delegate. All crews and teams shall be responsible for any information disseminated at this meeting.
(a) The local organizing committee shall devise and post in a conspicuous place at the regatta site a diagram showing all traffic patterns and regulations on the water. This diagram shall show the race course itself, the route to be taken by crews from the launching area to the start, any "warmup" area, any "cool-down" area, and the route to be taken by crews returning from the finish line. To the extent possible, it shall also show all known obstacles that may interfere with a crew's progress on or near the course. If conditions call for a different traffic pattern during practice hours than during racing, such practice traffic pattern shall also be posted.
(b) The local organizing committee shall also post, at the same place as the diagram showing traffic patterns, the location of the first aid station (Rule 7-202(q)), the location of a telephone, and the method to summon medical assistance in case of emergency.
Whenever a race is approaching, a non-competing crew rowing at or near the perimeter of the course shall stop rowing, come to a complete rest, and make sure that it does not interfere with the race, either by obstructing the path of the competing crews or accompanying launches, or by causing a wash.
(a) No crew shall enter the starting area until the previous race has cleared, and unless explicitly permitted to do so by the Starter. Except where required by the posted traffic pattern (Rule 2-203), a crew shall not practice on the course itself during the time when racing is taking place without permission of the Starter.
(b) After a crew has been given permission to practice on the course, it shall do so only in its assigned lane. If it is necessary to cross other lanes to reach its assigned lane, a crew shall yield to any other crew practicing in its own lane.
A crew that violates a posted traffic pattern described in Rule 2-203, or that violates the provisions of Rule 2-204 ("Rowing Near the Course While Race in Progress") or Rule 2-205 ("Approaching the Start; Warmup on the Course"), may be assessed a warning as described in Rule 2-602(b) ("Types of Penalties") by any race official. Such warnings shall be applicable to the next race in which the crew competes.
(a) The local organizing committee shall provide motor launches for use by Referees and by safety personnel. Each launch shall be capable, when occupied, of maintaining a speed necessary to follow a race, but without unnecessary wake. Each launch shall carry personal flotation devices for each occupant of the launch plus at least two extra. The local organizing committee shall use its best efforts to procure launches whose hull design minimizes wake, such as flat bottomed or catamaran launches.
(b) Each race shall be followed by at least one Referee. In a race without coxswains where there are more than four crews competing, a secondary Referee shall follow the race initially, who may subsequently withdraw if he or she judges that the race is proceeding satisfactorily.
(c) In addition to one Referee's launch, for each race there shall be another launch immediately accessible to the crews for use in case of emergency. This launch may be the secondary Referee's launch, a safety launch following the race, or one of a series of safety launches stationed at the perimeter of the course that is within 500 meters of the crews at all times throughout the race.
(1) If for any reason a safety launch is unavailable in an emergency,
the Referee's launch shall assume immediate responsibility for attending
to such an emergency. If the emergency requires the Referee to leave a
race in progress for a significant amount of time, and if there is no other
Referee available to follow the race, the Referee may stop the race.
(a) Each crew is responsible for being attached to its starting station and ready to race two minutes before the scheduled time of the race, whether or not announcements have been made by the Starter. If racing is delayed, crews shall be responsible for being within voice range of the Starter and in a position to respond to instructions.
(1) The Starter shall, whenever practicable, announce the time remaining to the start of the race at five, four, three, and two minutes to the start.
(b) A crew that is not attached to its starting station at least two minutes before the scheduled time of the race may be assessed a warning (Rule 2-602(b), "Types of Penalties") by the Starter. A crew that is not attached to its starting station by the scheduled time of the race may be excluded by the Starter. If racing is delayed, the Starter may announce a new racing time, which shall have the same effect as the original scheduled time for purposes of this Rule.
If a crew does not comply with Part B (Insignia and Advertising) of Article III (Equipment) of these Rules, the Referee, Starter, or other race official may reprimand the crew as described in Rule 2-602(a) ("Types of Penalties"), and shall then report the incident to the Chief Referee. If, in any subsequent race at the regatta, the crew persists in the violation, the Chief Referee may impose one of the penalties described in Rule 2-602 ("Types of Penalties").
The Starter may change the schedule of racing or any lane assignments previously made.
(a) Before the start, the Judge at Start shall cause the bows of all boats to be aligned with the plane of the starting line.
(1) If wind or other conditions make alignment difficult, the Judge at Start shall use best judgment to determine when alignment is as correct as possible under the circumstances.
(b) When the Judge at Start is satisfied with the alignment, he or she shall so indicate by raising and keeping aloft a white flag. If proper alignment is lost thereafter, the Judge at Start shall lower the white flag and, if necessary to gain the Starter's attention, shall raise a red flag.
(a) After the Judge at Start signals that alignment has been achieved, the Starter shall poll each crew to see if it is ready to race. Polling shall consist of calling out the name of the crew. If a crew is not ready, either during polling or thereafter, the bowperson shall signal by raising his or her hand conspicuously in the air.
(b) If alignment is lost during the polling of the crews, or if a crew previously polled signals that it is not ready, the Starter may suspend the polling process and resume when the previous condition is restored. If there is a significant delay, the Starter may repeat the entire polling procedure.
(a) After the crews have been polled, the Starter shall start the race by: (1) calling out "Attention!", (2) raising a red flag overhead, preferably using two hands, and (3) after a distinct pause, calling out "Go!". The command "Go!" shall be accompanied simultaneously by a quick downward motion of the red flag to one side.
(b) If, after the red flag has been raised, the Starter believes for any reason that the start should not occur, he or she shall call out "As You Were!", and gently lower the red flag directly in front of him or her. The Starter shall then repeat the starting commands in their entirety, but may dispense with repolling the crews.
(c) Crews may leave the starting line when the Starter's red flag begins to move.
(d) Unless the Starter believes that a crew is engaging in intentional delaying tactics or other unsportsmanlike conduct, he or she shall recognize a crew signalling that it is not ready, except where the "countdown start" (Rule 2-308) is used. If the race is started while a crew is validly signalling before the start that it is not ready, that crew shall remain at the start (Rule 2-310). A crew that rows out of the starting area (100 meters) waives any right to protest on the grounds that the start was not fair. Any official in the starting area may stop the race if he or she observes a crew signalling that it is not ready.
If weather or other conditions prevent use of the normal starting procedure without inordinate delay, the Starter may dispense with the polling procedure described in Rule 2-305 ("Polling"). The Starter shall first announce to the crews that a "quick start" will be used. When all crews appear to be properly pointed and ready to race, and if no crew signals that it is not ready, the Starter shall then immediately give the starting commands (Rule 2-306). The Starter shall nevertheless recognize a crew that signals before the start that it is not ready when required under Rule 2-306(d), regardless of when such signal occurs.
(a) If it appears to the Starter that conditions prevent use of either the normal starting procedures or a "quick start" without inordinate delay, he or she may resort to a "countdown start." The Starter shall first announce to the crews that a "countdown start" will be used. At an appropriate juncture, and without further polling the crews, the Starter shall count down in regular cadence: "five-four-three-two-one," and then give the starting commands in normal cadence. It is the sole responsibility of the crews to point their boats while the countdown is in progress.
(b) The Starter may disregard any crew signalling that it is not ready under this procedure, regardless of when such signal is given.
(a) A crew commits a false start when its bow crosses the plane of the starting line before the Starter's red flag begins to move. More than one crew may be assessed a false start at the same time.
(1) A crew shall not be assessed a false start merely by beginning a rowing motion before the proper command, so long as the bow does not thereby cross the plane of the starting line. Nevertheless, if the Judge at Start is of the opinion that a crew has gained unfair momentum through such an early rowing motion, he or she shall cause the race to be stopped and restarted without penalty.
(b) The Judge at Start shall be the sole judge of whether a crew has left the starting line early.
(c) In the event of a false start, the Judge at Start shall raise a red flag. The Starter shall then stop the race by sounding a bell or sound device, waving a red flag, and calling "Stop!". The Referee and the Judge at Start may also use a red flag or sound device to assist the Starter in gaining the attention of the crews.
(d) After a race has been stopped due to a false start, the Starter shall instruct the crews to return to the starting line. Once the crews have returned, the Starter shall announce clearly the identity of the crew or crews that committed the false start, and assess a warning as described in Rule 2-602(b) ("Types of Penalties") upon the offending crew or crews.
(e) A crew that receives two warnings, including false starts, applicable to the same race shall be excluded under Rule 2-602(c) ("Types of Penalties").
If a crew fails to leave the starting line after the starting commands have been given, the Starter shall stop the race. If the crew's failure to start is not justified, the Starter may impose one of the penalties described in Rule 2-602 ("Types of Penalties").
(a) If a crew suffers broken equipment before it has left the starting area, it may stop rowing and signal to the Referee. The Referee shall thereupon stop the race as described in Rule 2-407(d) ("Referee's Instructions to Crews") and inspect the damage. If there is in fact broken equipment, the race shall be restarted after the crew has had sufficient time to make repairs. If there is no broken equipment, the race shall be restarted immediately, and the Referee may impose upon the offending crew one of the penalties described in Rule 2-602 ("Types of Penalties").
(b) A crew is deemed to have left the starting area once its bow crosses the 100 meter mark. If a crew attempts to claim broken equipment after it has left the starting area, and if the boat can still be operated safely, the Referee shall instruct it to continue rowing as described in Rule 2-407(c) ("Referee's Instructions to Crews")
(c) "Broken equipment" shall mean a condition in which any equipment, as defined in Rule 1-202(f), is not in a normal operable state. The following shall not count as broken equipment:
(1) A condition that is the obvious result of carelessness or neglect;
(2) Crabs and jumped slides (in which a rower's seat comes off its track), unless accompanied by a condition that would independently constitute broken equipment;
(3) The condition of a coxswain's sound amplification system (including a COX-BOXTM), a stopwatch, strokewatch, or similar device.
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