Race Rules & Point Series Scoring

updated and approved, February 2023

Intent of Rules

ECORA believes in promoting good sportsmanship and fair play in the activities we engage in. This means observance of ECORA race rules and the ECORA Code of Conduct, as well as generally accepted rules of behavior and all governmental laws. Paddlers are to avoid situations where a canoe is deliberately rammed and where assaults and/or abusive language are used. Coaches are required to support and enforce these race rules and to avoid any circumvention of these rules. Race officials and ECORA Officers are required to do their best to be fair and unbiased in their decisions and in carrying out their duties. Violation of the ECORA Code of Conduct shall be referred to the Race Committee for review and course of action. Rules are not intended to cover every situation and the intent is to cover the major areas of typical race situations.

Race Rules

Race Requirements

  • In all canoes, a competitor will sit on a seat. Kneeling is not permitted.
  • Moving off the seat in a canoe, while turning a buoy or marker, is permitted.
  • There will be no more competitors in a canoe than the number of seats in that canoe.
  • A canoe must finish an event with all seats in a canoe occupied by registered team members, i.e. OC6 canoe must finish with 6 paddlers.
  • A canoe will follow the instructions as provided by the Race Director from time to time.

Race Starts

  • The start line is an imaginary line between 2 fixed or anchored markers for all other events.
  • Competitors must be present at the starting line at the time shown on the program, or as otherwise directed by the Race Director.
  • Starting signals will be given regardless of absentees, overturned canoes, or broken paddles.
  • Efforts should be made to ensure boats are safely distanced (adequate spacing, additional heats, etc.) for race starts.
  • The Race Committee may formulate a detailed starting procedure for each race.
  • Race Directors/Committees have discretion to assess penalties for false starts or other infractions. These penalties should be made clear at the Captain’s meeting to avoid any misunderstanding.


  • Correct mark rounding must be set before the start of the race.
  • Right of way at turning marks will be given to the leading canoe unless overlap is established.
    • Overlap is defined as a condition that exists when no open water can be seen between the stern of one canoe and the bow of another, when the canoes are viewed at right angles to their course.
    • An overlap must occur at least 2 canoe-lengths prior to reaching a mark (turning point) for the overlap to be considered established for purposes of rounding themark.
  • If an overlap is established when two canoes are approaching a buoy to be rounded, the outer canoe will give way to allow the canoe closest to the mark to round the mark, however, the outer canoe is under no obligation to give way before an overlap is established. In case of doubt, it will be presumed that the overlap was not established in proper time.
  • Any intentional collision in or around the turn could be cause for disqualification or time penalty.


  • The lead canoe has the right of way.
  • A canoe that is attempting to pass another canoe shall keep clear at all times and in no way interfere with the canoe it is attempting to pass, nor shall the canoe in the lead attempt to prevent another from passing


  • Race Directors have discretion to establish drafting rules for their race. Drafting rules need to be defined prior to the race and may be subject to protests.


  • The finish line is an imaginary line between 2 fixed or anchored markers.
  • The finish of a race is when the bow of the canoe passes the finish line between the finish buoys/flags.


  • Race Directors have discretion to set grounds for disqualifications. These should be made clear at the Captain’s meeting to avoid any misunderstanding.
  • Only the Race Director or Assistant Race Director may disqualify a Club, Team or Competitor from competing after consultation with the appropriate officials. The Club, Team or Competitor will be given the reasons for disqualification at the time of notification by the Race Director /Assistant Race Director.
  • A team or competitor must be notified as soon as possible in the event of any disqualification.

Protest or Grievance

  • An intention to protest must be lodged with the Race Director no later than 15 minutes after the completion of the heat/final and/or marathon event or disqualification by the Race Director. The Race director will issue a protest form and designated time frame for the form to be completed.
  • A protest fee of $50.00 will be delivered to the host club with the Protest Form, within the designated time frame. If the protest is upheld, the fee will be refunded in full.  If the protest is dismissed, the fee will be forfeited.
  • Each race should have a designated Protest Committee of at least 3 people, including the race director.
  • If an ECORA officer is present, they may be part of the Protest Committee provided that they or their club were not involved in the protest.
  • On receipt of a protest, the Race Director will notify all parties involved in the protest.
  • The Race Director will deliver the protest to the Protest Committee for deliberation.
  • The Protest Committee will hear, investigate, and rule on all protests and any other matter brought before it by the Race Director.
  • Any ruling made by the Protest Committee will be final.

Safety Requirements

  • Both the Race Director and Race Committee are responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the Safety Requirements are observed at the race both on and off the water.
  • Weather reports must be monitored to ensure weather conditions are favorable.
  • In the event that local weather authorities issue a Strong Wind Warning, the following procedures must be put in place for all paddling activities, including training:
    • A risk assessment must be completed and recorded by the club coach(s) before each paddling race;
    • Paddling may only occur after all the risks have been assessed, the zone and local maritime rules have been considered, and the potential risks are deemed to be minimal.
  • A course may be altered during the course of an event, subject to the appropriate authorities for all clubs, and subsequently all competitors being advised.
  • The Captain of a canoe or a Safety Boat is responsible for the safety of both his/her crew and canoe. The Captain of the canoe is in charge of the canoe and his or her directions and commands are to be strictly followed at all times.
  • All decisions by the Race Director based on weather conditions and/or safety concerns ARE FINAL.

Safety Equipment On Canoes

  • All canoes must carry USCG approved PFDs, one (1) per paddler. Waist USCG PFDs are acceptable unless the Race Director deems a full PFD is required due to conditions or local laws.
  • Race organizers are responsible for obtaining all local permits and enforcing local water safety laws.
  • All paddlers should carry sufficient water for the race distance and weather conditions.
  • It is recommended that boats have a phone or radio tuned the safety boat channel.
  • It is recommended to carry an extra paddle(s).
  • OC6 safety:
    • Must have minimum of 2 buckets or similar pieces of equipment to be used to bail out a canoe.
    • Buckets are to be secured to the canoe to prevent loss in the event of a huli (canoe capsize).
    • Spray skirts are permitted at any time.
    • In prevailing conditions, spray skirts are to be fitted at the direction of the Race Director. If a decision is made that spray skirts are to be fitted before racing, all teams must fit covers or will not be permitted to compete.
  • OC1/2 Safety: a leash is strongly recommended and subject to individual race rules.

Race Officials’ Duties

  • The Race Director will ensure that all competitors taking part in an event adhere to all race rules.
  • The Race Director will ensure that all Safety Boats are briefed on their responsibilities and are conversant with these rules.
  • The Race Director will be responsible for notifying all disqualifications.


  • There will be 2 or more time-keepers who will be solely responsible for timing events and will ensure that times are recorded and rule on any time discrepancies.

Safety Boat Rules

  • Each race should have at least one safety boat.  Larger races should consider more.
  • The safety boat should not interfere with the race.
  • The safety boat should help ensure all canoes are safely back to shore.

Suggested Equipment on Safety Boats

  • A suitable tow rope of 25 meters minimum length.
  • Communication equipment capable of transmitting to and receiving messages from the Race Director and/or local Authorities.
  • All equipment required by local Marine Safety Authorities.

ECORA Point Scoring

Divisions/Classifications for ECORA Point Series

OC6 Divisions

  • Unlimited (any outrigger canoe)
  • Spec (Greater than or equal to 320 pounds) – teams wishing to race a lighter canoe in the spec division must add weight to the canoe to meet the spec weight requirement

Small Boat Divisions

  • OC1
  • OC2

Note: Stand-up paddleboards (SUP) and other small boats are not ECORA Point-Series eligible craft


  • Mens
  • Womens (all paddlers are female)
  • Mixed (at least half the paddlers are female)

Age Divisions:

Age is determined by the age a paddler will reach during the calendar year of point series competition. For instance, a 39-year-old woman who turns 40 before the end of the year is eligible to race as a Master.

Small Boat:

  • Youth, under 20 years
  • Open, 20 yrs and above
  • Masters, 40 yrs and above
  • Senior Masters, 50 yrs and above
  • Golden Masters, 60 yrs and above
  • Platinum Masters, 70 yrs and above


  • Open
  • Masters

Note: For OC6 age divisions to apply toward ECORA point series from a race, there must be at least three boats within each age division.

Boats must register in the age division of the youngest crew member. Example: If a boat has any crew member under 40, the boat must register as Open. This is applicable for OC2 as well. In an OC2, to qualify as a Youth division, both paddlers must be under 20.

Paddlers may register for any age division lower than their actual age division (i.e., Actual age = 52 can register as Senior Master, Master, or Open; Actual age = 22 can only register as Open).

OC6 Point Scoring

  • For all eligible race-divisions, a 6-point system will be used, with the 1st place ECORA club receiving 6 points, 2nd place receiving 5 points, and so on. At 6th place and beyond, 1 point will be awarded.
    • In order to be eligible for ECORA points in a race in which there are insufficient entries in the unlimited division, unlimited canoes may race in the spec division if their weight is brought up to 320 pounds.
  • In boats with paddlers from more than one team, points will be awarded to the club that registers the boat crew – for instance, NCA registers a boat but is 2 people short, Cayuga paddlers join. NCA will get points that are awarded.
  • The ECORA OC6 Point-Series Club Champion will be the club that accumulates the most points from ECORA OC6 races over a season.

OC1 and OC2 Points Scoring

  • Paddlers must race in a minimum of three (3) Small Boat Point Series Events within a boat division and be ECORA members in good standing to be eligible for Point Series points and awards. A member in good standing is listed on the club’s submitted roster.
  • Point Series points will be awarded for long-course races only. Short-course races are not eligible.
  • A 12-point system will be used, with 1st place receiving 12 points, 2nd place receiving 11 points, and so on. At 12th place and beyond, 1 point will be awarded.
  • There will be separate 12-point systems in use for each boat division and classification: OC1 Men, OC1 Women, OC2 Men, OC2 Women and OC2 Mixed. Thus, within a race category, all applicable age divisions compete for the same set of points.
  • OC2 points are accrued per paddler, allowing paddlers the opportunity to have multiple partners throughout a season.
  • The ECORA OC1/OC2 Point-Series Champion(s) (determined for each age group) will be the paddler who earns the most points in their best 4 finishes within a boat category (OC1/2). A paddler does not have to compete in all races, but only the 4 best scores will be counted.
  • In the event of a tie for points in any age division, the first tiebreaker will be the total number of points for all races, if applicable. The second tiebreaker will be the best placements in individual race standings, if applicable.