The Head Of The Charles has two main areas for parking.  Finish Area Launching Site (FALS) is where trailers and teams launch from, with boat racks available for Fours and Eights.  Singles and Doubles are permitted to launch from FALS as well.  The Singles And Doubles Launch (SADL) is located at Magazine Beach in Cambridge – this area is restricted to Singles and Doubles only, and has limited parking, pickup/drop off space.  Please read below for more information regarding the two areas

HOCR Coxswain Clinic

Information on the 2023 Coxswain Clinic can be found HERE


Official Practice will begin on Friday at 10:30am. All boats must be off the water by 6:00 PM.  No boats will be permitted to launch after 5:00 PM.  The course will not be open for practice on Saturday or Sunday.

There is no official practice (no safety launches, no river control) any day during the week leading up to the Regatta. Rowing at any time before the official FALS and SADL docks open is at your own risk. Crews visiting the Charles River ahead of race weekend should be sure to be familiar with the Traffic Pattern map and local rules.

Practice Launch Windows:  To better manage traffic all crews planning to practice will be strongly encouraged to sign up for a Practice Launch Window.  Registration for practice windows will be available HERE after 10/9.  

Practice Windows FAQs:

  • What do I have to show to prove I signed up? We just ask that you stick to the window to the best of your ability, but there’s no proof required to launch.
  • What if I forgot to sign up? For this year, there is no penalty but we ask crews to sign up so our staff and volunteers can prepare accordingly
  • We missed our launch window. What should we do? For this year, you will not need to do anything. 
  • We signed up but the line is really long and we won’t be on the dock before our window closes; will we be able to practice? Yes. You will still be able to launch/practice
  • It’s 4:30 and the line is long and we won’t be able to get to the dock before the end of the practice launching times; can we still practice? No. Docks close at 5; practice is not guaranteed and tends to be quite busy. As such, we recommend giving yourself as much time as possible to launch.

  • FALS Guidelines

    Rules of the FALS Docks

    • Crews and Coaches must follow the directions of the volunteer staff, as they are there for the safe operation of the docks.
    • Docks and launch areas are restricted to competitors + one (1) boat representative (ie coach).
    • Depending on Practice, Race and Weather conditions – landing or launching may take priority at certain times. Please be patient and cautious. Some docks can get extremely busy at times.
    • Dock hours:


    Docks will be staffed by HOCR volunteers from approximately 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.  No boats may launch after 5:00 PM and must be off the water by 6 PM. 

          Saturday & Sunday:

    Docks will be staffed by HOCR volunteers from approximately 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There is NO practice on Saturday afternoon after racing.

    • Launching or landing on the dock without volunteer staff is performed at the crew’s risk.

    Commission Control 

    All boats will be checked for the following prior to launching onto the Head Of The Charles Course.  If these items are not present, boats will be asked to step out of the launching line to make necessary corrections.

    Bow Balls

    • All boats must have an appropriate bow ball affixed firmly or they will not be able to launch for practice or racing.
    • Competitors are responsible for obtaining a bow ball if necessary.

    Heel Ties

    • For boats with traditional foot stretchers, heel ties are mandatory. The “three finger rule” is employed as an acceptable gauge for slack between shoe and foot plate.
    • Boats must have heel ties attached from the shoe to the footplate boards in the boat for traditional stretchers. No ties are needed for Rigid Sole / Virtual Pivot foot stretchers.
    • Competitors are responsible for obtaining heel ties if necessary.

    Prior to Launching

    All crews must be prepared for the following before approaching the FALS docks:

    • Oars – All oars should be in the oar racks at the dock area prior to launching.
    • Oarlocks – Must be open and hanging loosely before the competitors set foot on the dock
    • Shoes – It is suggested that crews take their own footwear in the boat with them or leave it with the boat representative. There may not be any other place to leave it during the row and you may land at a different dock than you launched from.


    • Boats shall enter the launch area bow first unless otherwise instructed by volunteer staff.
    • There may be a long wait to launch, especially during Friday practice. Crews should bring their own slings (and be prepared to remove them from the launch area when they launch) if they do not want to hold the boat while waiting.
    • HOCR volunteer staff will carry the oars on and off the docks.
    • Crews should plan 30 seconds on the dock, as there will be many others waiting behind them.
    • Please be careful putting in and taking out boats as the Charles River may be shallow and/or rocky near docks.
    • Crews should plan to tie in after launching from the dock.


    • Crews are expected to land and be off the dock within one minute of landing.
    • Crews may be asked to put on their shoes after leaving the dock to speed dock operations.
    • The boat representative should be ready to assist with bringing shoes upon the boat’s arrival at the dock.
    • If you are landing at Dock 3, use extra caution when carrying your boat out of the launch area, as you will be immediately entering the public pedestrian footpath that is often very crowded.




  • Trailer Registration

    Trailer Registration will open on September 15, 2023 at Noon EDT.

    REGISTER HERE (under Operational Registration)

    Trailer spots are no cost and are first come first served. If you are bringing boats that are racing on Friday and are unable to secure a Thursday slot, please contact the office.

    Due to overwhelming demand, institutions wishing to bring a trailer onsite must register in advance. Only trailers carrying 4 or more sweep-oared hulls will be permitted to park on-site. Trailers with fewer than 4 sweep hulls will be asked to unload their equipment and park at a secure lot upstream.  We have a cap of 100 trailers. We will open the trailer waitlist after the initial 100 spots are filled.

  • FALS Trailer Parking

    The FALS area will open for trailer parking on on Thursday, October 19th from 11:00 AM-4:00 PM and from 7:00 AM—4:00 PM on Friday, October 20th. All trailers must approach the area from the Eliot Bridge end of Memorial Drive/ Soldiers Field Road. A Regatta volunteer will meet all trailers and issue the driver a parking permit for a specific area and direct the driver to that area. Courteous cooperation with their direction is expected.

    Please enter the required permit information and leave the completed permit on the driver’s side dashboard of the truck. If the driver chooses to take the truck, please place the permit in the plastic sheet protector provided, and attach it to the trailer with provided zip ties.

    IN CASE OF EMERGENCY WE MUST BE ABLE TO CONTACT THE TRUCK OPERATOR. Trucks that detach from trailers and leave the parking area may not be able to return until Sunday afternoon.

    Due to limited space, preference will be given to fully loaded trailers. Trailers with fewer than FOUR (4) Sweep Hulls will be required to off-load boats to FALS racks and park empty trailers in an overflow lot 2 miles further upriver.

    NO OTHER VEHICLES ARE PERMITTED TO ENTER THE PARKING AREA.  All unauthorized parked vehicles will be towed.

    Vehicles carrying only single or double shells will not be permitted to enter the FALS. They will be directed to the Singles and Doubles Launching (SADL) area at Magazine Beach to offload their boats to racks. No trailer parking is available at Magazine Beach, but there is limited space for cars carrying shells.

  • Directions to FALS

    Driving to FALS

    I-90 (Mass Pike) East to Exit 18 Brighton/Cambridge.

    Follow signs to Cambridge.

    Proceed through several traffic lights and cross the Charles River via the River Street Bridge.

    Once across the bridge, take a LEFT onto Memorial Drive so the river is on your left. Continue for 1.6 miles.

    When the road forks (near the Cambridge Boat Club), stay to the left, following signs for Watertown/Newton. Proceed through the traffic light, staying in the left or center lane to approach the Eliot Bridge.

    While crossing the Eliot Bridge, move to the right, and then turn to the right, following signs for Newton.

    A Regatta Volunteer will meet trailers for registration and then direct them to a parking space.

    Please use the utmost caution when traveling on Soldiers Field Road, which is not designed for large vehicles.

    DO NOT attempt to drive under any overpasses on Soldiers Field Road.

    A portion of this route closes at 8:00 AM Saturday and Sunday.

  • Trailer DEPARTURE

    All trailers and equipment must depart by 7:00 PM on Sunday of race weekend. Below, please find directions on the easiest way to return to the Massachusetts Turnpike.

    Pull out of the lot and take a right onto Soldiers Field Road, continue past the Northeastern University Henderson boathouse.  There’s a ramp to the right, go up that ramp and take a left onto Western Avenue.  Follow Western Ave for a couple miles until you reach the Charles River.  (You’ll know you’re there when you’re forced to take a right hand turn because the bridge over the Charles for Western Ave is a one way coming at you.)

    There is a sign at that right hand turn for the Mass Pike. After that turn, take your next right to get on the Mass Pike.

  • Competitor Parking at FALS (Cars Only)


    Accessible off of Soldiers Field Road heading East.  Parking will be available for approx. 500 cars. Location is across from the FALS/Rowing and Fitness Expo area

    Available: Friday and Saturday (6AM – 7PM), and Sunday (6AM – 6PM both days).

    Cost: $30/day. **cashless payment only**



    Free, on-street parking. Parkway runs next to I-90 and is accessible from Market Street off of Soldiers Field Road or from Soldiers Field Road and Route 20 intersection near Community Rowing.  Approximately a 1.3 mile walk to the FALS area.

    Available: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – NO PARKING AFTER 6PM


  • Parking/Boat Drop/Pickup

    SADL will be open beginning Thursday 10/19 at 4pm for Boat Drop Off

    Athletes dropping off shells will have 30 minutes for temporary parking to
    unload equipment. Please make other parking arrangements if you’re
    planning to rig, row, register, etc.

    Please see a SADL co-chair (or SADL volunteer) for an event-specific parking
    pass, good for 2 hours prior to/1 hour after your event. Your registration
    packet will be required to receive a pass.

    Please do not arrive more than 2 hours before your event.

    Parking is always at the discretion of the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and the ranger on duty may close the lot if it becomes full.

  • Safety, Launching, and Landing

    Safety Guidelines

    No shell may launch without a standard bow ball securely attached at the
    bow of the boat. No exceptions.

    No shell may launch without heel tie downs for foot stretchers that require
    them. No exceptions.

    Heel ties must not be longer than 3 fingers width (2.5in/7cm) from shoe to
    stretcher. Note that this standard may permit less slack than other

    Wet launching is strictly prohibited as per HOCR regulations.


    Athletes are expected to launch and be ready to row within 2-3 minutes of
    arriving at the dock.

    Athletes must have Bow/Shirt/Stern numbers firmly affixed prior to
    approaching the dock area.

    SADL volunteers will assist with carrying oars to and removing shoes from
    the dock.

    The Dockmaster will instruct athletes on when to shove off and cross the
    river. During busy periods, athletes may be instructed to tie in after shoving
    off and crossing.


    A River Control marshal will queue returning athletes and send them across
    the race course when safe, between events.

    Please queue up and follow the instructions of the Dockmaster when landing.

    Due to limited dock space, athletes are expected to clear the dock within 2-3
    minutes after landing.

    In the event that you launch at SADL but will be landing at another dock on
    the river, please inform the Dockmaster before you launch.

  • Practice and Racing


    On Friday, shells may only launch from 10:30AM to 5:00PM (at the
    discretion of SADL dockmaster). All boats must be off the water by 6:00
    PM. No exceptions. Practice rowing is not allowed after racing concludes on

    No crossing of the river is allowed on Friday—you must row the entire
    course from and back to your launch point.

    For safety reasons, use of the SADL dock is not allowed during the week
    preceding the Regatta (it is unstaffed).

    Race Day

    The dock will open at the discretion of River Control. Earlier launching is not
    permitted. On Friday, we will have two+ hours of racing from 7:45amAM to

    Please refer to the schedule of events when planning your launch time. To
    avoid interference, river crossings are only permitted between race events,
    with no exceptions.

    Ergs are for competitor warm-up only, with a 20 minute (maximum one hour
    prior to your event).

  • Boathouse
  • Parking