Operating Race Rules

(Since 2017)

Intent of Rules

ECORA believes in promoting good sportsmanship and fair play in the activities we engage in. This means observance of these race rules as well as generally accepted rules of behavior and all governmental laws. Paddlers are to avoid situations where a canoe is deliberately rammed, 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. Officials and Officers are required to do their best to be fair and not biased in their decisions and in carrying out their duties. Violation of the Code of Ethics shall be referred to the Race Committee for review and course of action.  Rules are not meant to cover every situation and the intent is to cover the major areas of typical race situations.


Age Divisions:

  • 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

Any paddler who will reach at least his/her birthday during the calendar year of point series competition.  For instance, a 49 year old woman who turns 50 before the last point series race of the year is eligible to race as a Sr. Master.

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.
  • An OC-6 must be a minimum of 320 lbs to qualify for point series.

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.
  • The Race Committee may formulate a detailed starting procedure for each race.
  • It is at the Race Directors/Committees discretion if there will be any penalties for false starts or other infractions.  These should be made clear at the Captain’s meeting to avoid any misunderstanding.


  • Right of way at turning buoys will be given to the leading canoe.
  • Right of way is also given to the canoe in the most direct line to the buoy.
  • Any intentional collision in or around the turn could be cause for disqualification or time penalty.


  • The lead canoe has the right of way.
  • There should be no deliberate ramming of canoes by either the lead or passing canoe.


  • 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.


  • It is at the Race Directors discretion if there will be 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.


  • An intention to protest will 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 Race Director 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 which will include the race director.
  • If an ECORA officer is present, they can be part of the Protest Committee provided that they or their club was 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

  • It is the responsibility of both the Race Director and Race Committee that all aspects of the Safety Requirements are catered for at the race both on and off the water.
  • Weather reports must be monitored to ensure weather conditions are favorable.
  • In the event of the issuing of a Strong Wind Warning by local weather authorities, the following procedures must be put in place by Zones and Clubs for all paddling activities including training:
    • A risk assessment must be completed and recorded by the club coach(s) before each paddling session;
    • 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 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 adhered to 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.
    • A minimum of 2 buckets or similar pieces of equipment to be used to bail out a canoe. These are to be secured with rope (OR: “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.

Race Officials’ Duties

  • The Race Director will ensure that all race rules are adhered to by all competitors taking part in an event.
  • 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.

Time Keepers

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

Escort 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.