RCA is proud to announce the new Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 RCA Umpiring Education Program for Canada. The Program will improve access to the cadre of umpires and will improve the consistency and quality of umpiring across Canada. The program, available in English and French, presents a clear umpire pathway providing similar support and education offered to athletes and coaches. For full announcement, please click here.

The program has been revamped and includes the creation of a five-tier structure, the establishment of the training frameworks and the development of the curriculum for each level. The first three levels now include a formalized presentation of updated material, a supervised practical training program and a final evaluation. Each candidate will have consistent mentoring throughout their training lasting up to three years.

To learn more about the RCA Umpiring Education Program, contact your Provincial Rowing Association or Rowing Canada Aviron.


Regattas could not run without umpires.  All RCA Licensed umpires undertake training to ensure that racing is fair and safe for all competitors.  Many umpires are rowers themselves who have given up or reduced their active rowing to contribute to their sport.  Others become involved in umpiring because their daughter or son row.  Regardless of the reason, there is a bonus to umpiring:  it’s the “best seat in the house” to watch a race.

The training, development and licensing of umpires is overseen by the RCA Umpires Committee.  The Committee’s mandate is to promote umpiring, standardize and improve the quality of umpiring, co-ordinate the selection of juries for Canadian National regattas and to train and nominate Canadian umpires to FISA’s International juries. Committee liaison:


Umpires can progress through 5 levels as follows:

Associate Umpire:  is an individual who has participated in an umpire “clinic”.  The clinic content and teaching methodology is set by the RCA Umpires Committee and the clinics are delivered by the provincial rowing associations (PRA’s).  As noted above, an individual is not required to have a rowing background to become an umpire.  A person is referred to as an Associate Umpire after attending a clinic, and can immediately start his or her apprenticeship at RCA sanctioned regattas under the tutelage of Licensed Umpires.  The primary education tool for associate umpires is the RCA Rules of Racing that can be downloaded from the RCA Website.

Umpire (Licensed): an Associate Umpire who has passed a written and practical exam after a set period of training.  Candidates who pass the exam are issued an RCA Umpire’s Licence.  An Umpire will fill many roles at a regatta, including starter, on-water umpire, control commission umpire and finish judge. There are requirements to maintain a licence.  One such requirement is to attend an umpire “seminar” once every three years.

Chief Umpire:  after three years of serving as an Umpire, a person can take a Chief Umpire (CU) course and then be eligible to fill the role of Chief Umpire at a regatta.

Clinician:  a Clinician conducts Umpire “Clinics”, Chief Umpire Clinics and Umpire Exams as well as Umpire “Seminars” and Evaluations.  Chief Umpires nominated by their PRA can be eligible to become clinicians.

International Umpire:  an International Umpire is an umpire who has passed the FISA Umpire written and practical examinations.  FISA Umpires are eligible to be appointed the juries of world cup, world championship Olympic and Paralympic regattas.

Details on the five levels of umpiring noted above are available from provincial rowing associations or from RCA.


All Associate and *Licensed Umpires are required to be registered and in good standing with their respective PRA and RCA. *Licensed Umpires create an account in the RCA Web Registration System (WRS) and are registered as an umpire in the WRS by their respective PRA. Associate and Licensed Umpires are covered by RCA’s comprehensive liability insurance program. Please go to this webpage for further information regarding RCA Insurance.


Umpire uniform information can be found here: umpire clothing