The Need for Volunteers…

One of the great and distinguishing features of our sport is that it an all-volunteer sport. Everyone who is working in a regatta is doing so on their own time. In order for the race organizers (club, division, province & nationally) to conduct a safe & fair competition – we are totally reliant on volunteers.
Your kids work & train hard for weeks & months to prepare for these competitions – and it is important for all parents to be prepared to support your kids by participating in the conduct of our regatta’s.
A qualifying regatta (ie WOD Trials) requires upwards of 40 volunteers (of which 8 are boat drivers), plus up to 12 officials.
This info sheet is designed to help parents understand the roles involved – so that you can feel comfortable about your ability to do the required duties. Finally – this is a great opportunity for high school students to obtain their volunteer hours required for graduation.
Volunteering for regattas is coordinated through your club, as each club has designated slots to be filled.


There are a number of specialized roles that require certification; We encourage all parents to achieve a basic certification – which will enable you to participate in key support roles in a competition (Starters assistant, Boat control assistants, timers,  Announcer, Results management, finish line judges, video operator etc);
Interested persons can then seek additional certification in the following positions: Chief Official, Chief Finish Line Judge, Competition Secretary, Finish Line Judges, Timer, Boat Controller, Starter,

Please contact Joanne Bryant – Divisional Officials Coordinator at:         joanne.i.bryant@gmail.com

Volunteer Positions:

Below is a brief summary & description of key volunteer positions required at a typical regatta:

Boat Drivers (Note: the Division will pay for Boat Operators Permit fees)

  • Safety Boats  – Operate boats on the fringe of the course to pick up paddlers who have fallen out of their boats. 
  • Referee Boats  – Follow down the lanes behind the racers to allow the Referees to monitor each race.
  • Starter’s Boat – operate the boat so the  Starter can get the racers lined up properly for the start of each race

NOTE: Boat Operators MUST have a Boat Operators permit

Spotters: 1 per safety boat 

  • Keep an eye on the racers - and alert driver to paddlers who have fallen out of their boats.
  • Assist paddler to board safety boat.
  • Pick up paddles and blocks as necessary.
  • Secure race boat for return trip to shore.

Finish Line Judges

  • Responsible for writing down the finish order of the racers.  The racers each have a lane number marker on their boats.  As they cross the finish line, the judges simply write down the lane number in the order of the finish.  The finish line judges must agree on the finish order.  In the event of a disagreement, the judges refer to the video replay.


  • Time keepers operate the manual timing device.  The timekeepers will get the start of the race from the Starter and then mark the race times as the racers come across the finish line.  The timing device will print out a list of the race times which the timekeepers hand to the Chief Official.

Results Officials

  •  Must be comfortable working with Microsoft Excel.  The results officials get the race times from the Chief Official and enter the times into a spreadsheet provided.
  • Second person to calculate Burgee points


  • Responsible for using the PA system to inform spectators of the race on the course plus the names and lanes of the racers.
  • Will make general announcements such as calling coaches to the judges stand, lost & found, food services etc

Assistant Starter

  • Provide assistance to the Starter as requested
  • Identify the boats for upcoming races
  • Communicate any scratches etc. to tower
  • Hold 2-way radio for starter

Video Operators

  • Responsible for operating the video replay camera.  This is a basic tripod video camera similar in operation to a home video camera.

Awards Co-Ordinator

  • This person(s) would be responsible for ensuring the awards are available for the presenters during the awards ceremony

The person would ensure the podium and flags are ready
Results Runners (Great job for young kids!)

  • Responsible to obtain results & advancements from the Results official – and post them on the designated results boards

Info tent host

  • Variety of duties including:
    • Checking in Volunteers
    • Selling of race cards
    • Provide Tower officials with beverages/snacks
    • Helping set up officials’ lunch
    • Helping out the results runner & awards coordinator

Note: As a volunteer in any capacity – you are expected to be neutral! You should not be cheering on any crews while in your station.