Traffic Rules



7.1. Safety:

Any boat showing a disregard for safety, at any time during the weekend (including practice) will be given a 60-second penalty or may be disqualified. Safety violations may include but are not limited to: not following the published traffic patterns; not following the instructions from the Marshals and Dock Masters; etc.

7.2. Buoys:

Boats must keep to the right (coxswain’s view) of the orange buoys at all times during the weekend. In areas where there are no buoys (early on Friday before the course has been set or above or below the buoyed course) boats should keep to the right side of the river (coxswain’s view). Traffic patterns should be observed during practice as well as during races. Please see “Practice Traffic Pattern Map” and “Race Traffic Pattern Map” diagrams.

7.3. Sportsmanship:

Good sportsmanship must prevail at all times. Instances of unsportsmanlike conduct by scullers, crews, and/or coaches will be reported to the Jury, and penalties may be assigned.

7.4. Double Buoyed Areas:

The Cambridge Boat Club bend, downstream from the Eliot Bridge, and the Weeks Bridge turn will be double buoyed on the Boston side (orange and white buoy lines).  The space between the colored buoys and white buoys is considered completely out-of-bounds for hulls of all racing and non-racing boats.  Persistent excursion into the out-of-bounds zone may be grounds for a penalty as assessed by the Jury. (see Rule 7.6)

7.5. Travel Lane:

Once the buoyed course has been set, at all times during the weekend (Friday or race days), crews and scullers proceeding downstream in the Travel Lane must proceed firmly, with no stopping to watch races, and with no power strokes, and shall remain in single file unless there is clear room to pass.  The Travel Lane areas are defined as 1) Boston-side travel from the finish line to just downstream of Weeks footbridge.  Warm up (power strokes) is permitted from just downstream of Weeks footbridge to BU Bridge only if it is safe to do so, exercising extreme caution near Riverside Boat Club and Magazine Beach.  No stopping is permitted between BU Bridge and the entrance of the Queuing Zone.  The primary Warm-up area is in the designated Warm-up Zone in the basin downstream of the start funnel.

*** Competitors should anticipate a limited on-water warm-up.

7.6. Non-Racing boats:

Except when crossing the river, and at the discretion of the Jury, any non-racing boat proceeding downstream on race day which enters the race course may be penalized 10-seconds for each orange buoy violated by the hull.  Even when the hull of a non-racing boat stays within the travel lane, any non-racing boat which interferes in any way with a racing boat will be severely penalized and may face possible disqualification.  (Note: non-racing boats must take into consideration that a racing crew’s oars may cross the orange buoy line – see Rule 10.3)

7.7. Right of Way:

Boats racing have the right of way over all other boats. Boats not racing shall not proceed upstream along any part of the course after the start of the first race of the day until the conclusion of the last race of the day except when necessary to launch or land. Practicing on the course between races could result in a 60-second penalty, at the discretion of the Jury.

7.8. Crossing:

Boats proceeding in line with the direction of the river have the right of way over boats crossing the river. Care should be taken when turning around or crossing the river.

7.9. Finish Line:

After crossing the finish line, boats should immediately paddle upstream to the end of the line of buoys and wait for instructions from the Marshal.

7.10. Launching from Non-HOCR Docks:

Crews launching from Belmont Hill – Winsor Boathouse, Buckingham Browne and Nichols Boathouse, Cambridge Boat Club, Weld Boathouse, and Riverside Boat Club should await instruction from a Marshal before crossing the race course.  Boats launching from Boston University Boathouse should travel downstream along the Cambridge shore prior to entering the Queuing Zone.  Boats returning to Boston University Boathouse should travel downstream along the Boston shore to the end of the Queuing Zone and proceed around the warm-up zone with the flow of traffic and then hug the Cambridge shore after passing MIT Boathouse, proceeding to the BU Boathouse (unless light traffic allows crossing to the Cambridge shore between the Queuing Zone and the warm-up zone).  Returning crews should be alert for crews launching from BU Boathouse coming towards them.

7.11. SADL Launching:

Boats launching from the Singles and Doubles Launch (SADL) site should travel upstream to the Riverside Boat Club and await instruction from a Marshal prior to crossing the race course.  Boats returning to the Singles and Doubles launch site should cross just downstream of SADL ONLY after the instruction of a Marshal (see: SADL Race Traffic Pattern Map).

7.12. Right to Close the Course:

The Race Committee has the right to close the course and launch sites at any time during the weekend due to darkness or safety concerns.

7.13. Wet Launching:

No boats are permitted to wet launch.  All crews and scullers must use the docks provided by the HOCR.  Violation of this rule may result in disqualification.


8.1. Launching Hours:

Safety and insurance considerations mandate that all boats be off the water by 6:00 PM on Regatta weekend. No Boats will be allowed to launch after 5:30 PM on Friday. The course will not be open for practice Saturday or Sunday. Crews violating this rule may be penalized or disqualified.

8.2. Coaching Launches:

No coaching launches of any kind will be allowed on the river on Friday, Saturday or Sunday at any hour.

8.3. Practice Hours:

Practice will be available on Friday for all boats. The river will be closed to all non-racing shells after practice ends on Friday evening.

8.4. Turning:

No turning is permitted between the Weeks Footbridge and the Riverside Boat Club.  Please make turns safely downstream of Riverside Boat Club or upstream of Weeks footbridge.

8.5. Lights:

All crews launching before sunrise or on the water after sunset must use bow and stern lights.