Race and Safety Rules

Molesey Head Races

Race and Safety Rules – Instructions to competitors 

Things which all participants should study

It is a condition of entry that this document, along with the documents concerning Safety Planning, Safety Precautions and Emergency Procedures are to be read by all Clubs entering crews into this event and it is to be the responsibility of each Club’s Captain (or such other authorised officer of the Club) to review the information in this document alongside the guidance contained in the British Rowing Water Safety Code in determining whether the crews which they have entered are  adequately prepared, trained and equipped to take part in this event.

Instructions on the Day

Pre-race briefings will be given in the morning by Coaches to their own crews at Hampton/LEH School boathouse (the MIllennium Boathouse) and Molesey Boat Club. And ALL crews must familiarise themselves with the Course Map. the Safety Precautions notice and the Emergency Procedures notice, all of which are to be prominently displayed at both boathouses.

There will be a mandatory pre-race briefing for the Masters’ race at 1.15p.m. in the MBC Clubhouse which must be attended by all Club representatives and all coxes.

All of these briefings will provide an update of river conditions.

Race Time-tables

It is anticipated that the Junior Head will be raced in two divisions, at 10 a.m. and noon with crews boating from the Millennium Boathouse or from Molesey Boat Club.

The Veteran Head will take place in the afternoon with a starting time of 2.30 p.m.

The Course and its Landmarks

The attached course map provides further information including

  • Course layout
  • Start and finish locations
  • Access locations for emergency services
  • Locations of notable hazards along this reach of the river
  • Areas which crews may not enter unless directed by an event marshal or umpire
  • Boating areas
  • Paramedics are located at Molesey Boat Club and Hampton School Boat Club 

Further details showing umpire and marshal positions are shown on the River Organisation page.


The instructions of race officials must be observed at all times and in particular when marshalling to start positions, turning around the buoy upstream of the race start and on the return to either the Millennium boathouse – a marshal will be supervising the turn downstream of Garrick’s Ait – or the MBC clubhouse and landing stages, where there will be marshals at two positions on the entry to the Molesey Lock Cut (this is the section of the river on which Molesey Boat Club is sited) to ensure that the flow of boats into this area and the rate at which they are cleared from the river is such that we do not have excess numbers of boats in the area of the Molesey Lock weir which could place crews at risk of being drawn over the weir sluices.

Safety Precautions

Entrants must do everything possible to avoid injury or collision when marshalling or racing. 
Be aware that the stream may be strong at this time of year and the water and weather cold; crews should be selected and prepared accordingly.

  • All coxes and bow-steers must attend one of the pre-race briefings and familiarise yourself with the course map before taking to the water
  • Follow the directions shown on the course map at all times
  • Keep to the RIGHT hand side of the centre of the river at all times
  • You must comply with British Rowing Rules of Racing and observe the British Rowing Water Safety Code (inc the rules on the selection and use of equipment)
  • You must observe the directions of Umpires and Marshals

 Proceeding to the start: Instructions you must follow

  • Keep to the right of the river going to the start. (Middlesex bank if you’re going upstream.)
  • The top of the marshalling area is well below Sunbury lock.
  • Crews should form a single line with boat number ONE at the top on the Middlesex bank, starting just across from the water intake (“eel trap”) on the opposite bank above Sunbury Court Island as directed by the Marshals.
  • There are markers on the Surrey/towpath bank for positions 1, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60.
  • Fours should marshal immediately behind the last eight.
  • Crews must be in position at least ten minutes before the start of the race. To do this you must be clear of the landing stage at Molesey Boat Club at least thirty-five minutes before the start, or twenty minutes from the Millennium boathouse.
  • Crews arriving in the starting area will come under the direction of a marshal. If you do arrive late, you will be held on the Middlesex side below Sunbury Court Island until all other crews have started. A crew which arrives late and interferes in any way with a crew which has started will receive a 30 second penalty.
  • Practice starts must only be carried out along the Surrey side of Platt’s Eyot, not from the race start point. The last point to turn for a practice start is at Aquarius Sailing Club under the direction of a marshal.

 The Start

  • The start is clearly marked on the Surrey bank.
  • When the signal for the race to start is given by loud-hailer, all crews should remove sweaters, paddle in order up-stream and turn round above the TURNING BUOY. Keep at one boat’s length spacing, and turn well upstream of the buoy, allowing for the current.
  • After turning, row down towards the start, but do not stop again unless told to do so by the Start Marshal. Crews will be told to start as they cross the line thus: “No.1..Go!, No 2 ..Go!” and so on.
    The timing start is five or six strokes beyond the start line.

 During The Race

  • Crews must keep to the RIGHT of the centre of the river and give way to overtaking crews by going further  to the RIGHT, so  towards the Surrey bank.  But do not go too close to the Surrey bank, in order to avoid any sticking-out trees and moored boats.
  • Umpires are stationed at intervals along the towpath and will report any infringement of the rules by crews and penalties may be applied by them

 The Finish

  • The finish is at Hampton Ferry, opposite Hampton Church, and is marked with a FINISH sign on the Surrey bank.
  • Crews should keep moving at the finish so as not to impede other crews, and steer to the LEFT of Garrick Island.
  • DO NOT GO to the left of Tagg’s Island as there is a weir at the bottom of that channel
  • At the upstream end of Tagg’s Island there will be marshals who will direct you as to when it is safe to proceed along the cut to the boating areas at MBC, or to turn and return upstream to the Millennium boathouse.
  • If returning to Molesey, turn opposite the Club and come into the landing stage. Do not proceed further past the MBC landing stage unless directed by the bank marshals as there is a large weir on the North side of the lock channel.


  • Boating and changing facilities will be available at Molesey Boat Club and the Millennium boathouse.
  • Trailer parking is available in Graburn Way (the access road to Molesey Boathouse) and will be under the direction of a marshal. Boat assembly will take place inside the MBC compound or in the Cricket Club as directed on arrival.
  • Trailer parking is also available at the Millennium boathouse.
  • Registration desks will be open from 8.30 a.m at Molesey Boat Club and the Millennium boathouse. Bow numbers will be issued.
  • Entry fees must have been pre-paid before publication of the race order, unless permission has been pre-arranged to pay on the day. Entries must be made via BROE.

In the event of cancellation, an alternative date may be offered. Refunds of race fees will be made proportionately after deduction of unavoidable race expenses.

Reviewed 15th January 2024