Regattas could not run without umpires. All Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) Licensed Umpires undertake training to ensure that racing is fair and safe for all competitors. The training, development and licensing of umpires is overseen by the RCA Umpires Committee and is supported by Provincial Rowing Associations.

There are over 100 sanctioned regattas in Canada every year and we need well-trained and skilled Umpires to ensure these regattas are safe and fair for everyone involved. The role of Umpire is ideal for someone who enjoys volunteering their time and who wants to be in a role that is essential to the sustainability of rowing in Canada. Our Canadian Umpires have many opportunities to develop their skills and acquire advanced certificates so they can help deliver local, regional, provincial, national and international regattas.

Umpire Development Pathway

All Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) Licensed Umpires undertake training to ensure that racing is fair and safe for all competitors. The training, development and licensing of umpires is overseen by the RCA Umpires Committee and is supported by Provincial Rowing Associations.

The RCA Umpire Education Program is a five-tiered structure. The first three tiers consist of content delivered during clinics, supervised practical training, formal evaluation and ongoing mentoring. Provincial Rowing Associations organize and deliver the components of Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 clinics, training, evaluation and mentoring. These are managed differently in each province, so for further information, please contact your Provincial Rowing Association.

Umpire Education Pathway

The Assistant Umpire Clinic is FREE! You will need an NCCP number to take this course in The Locker (on the Coaching Association of Canada website), which you can obtain here. Within The Locker, click on the “E-Learning” tab at the top of the page. Click on “Multi-Sport” and change it to “Rowing”. The Assistant Umpire Clinic will then show under the heading “Available”. The course will take 60 to 90 minutes to complete, and you can pause and resume the course at any time. If you are a coach, you will obtain one Professional Development point for taking the course.

Umpire Categories Descriptions

Assistant Umpire (Level 1): an individual who has participated in a Level 1 Umpire Clinic.

  • The clinic content and teaching methodology is set by the RCA Umpires Committee and the clinics are delivered by the RCA Clinicians in cooperation with the PRAs. The clinic may alternatively be taken free of charge in a one-hour online course, which can be accessed through The Locker.
  • An individual is not required to have a rowing background to become an Assistant Umpire.
  • A person is referred to as an Assistant Umpire after attending the four-hour Level 1 clinic or taking the one-hour online clinic, and can immediately start their practical training at RCA sanctioned regattas under the guidance of Licensed Umpires.
  • The primary education tool for Assistant Umpires is the RCA Rules of Racing that can be downloaded here.
  • After taking the clinic (either online or in person), the Assistant Umpire gains practical experience as follows: a minimum of one shift (min. two hours each) at each of the following stations: Control – dock, Control – weigh in, Finish, Start and an observation with a Race Umpire on the water.
  • Assistant Umpires may remain as Assistant Umpires from this time forward, supporting Licensed Umpires in the various roles in which they have obtained practical training.
  • Or, they can pursue Umpire licensing and follow the Umpire Pathway, as described below.

Associate Umpire (Level 2): an individual who has obtained basic experience with regattas, with observations of umpires at work, as an Assistant Umpire, and has participated in an eight-hour Level 2 Umpire Clinic.

  • After the L2 Clinic, which will broaden and deepen their understanding of the Rules of Racing, and application to the delivery of regattas, the Associate Umpire begins a period of supervised practical training, that can last from one to three years.
  • During this time the Associate Umpire should attend as many regattas as possible and get as much experience in all positions as possible.
  • At a minimum, the Associate Umpire must have completed 10 shifts (two hours each), with two shifts at each of the following stations: Control, Start, Finish, Race Umpire and Judge at the Start.
  • As RCA encourages Umpires to gain experience at a broad range of regatta venues, these practical experiences should be obtained at four or more regattas, at more than one venue and should consist of at least three sprint and one head race(s).

Umpire (Level 2 – Licensed): an Associate Umpire who has attained the age of 18 years, has completed the Level 2 practical training requirements, and passed the written and practical exam.

  • Candidates who pass the exam are issued an RCA Umpire’s Licence.
  • To maintain their Umpire License, as per the RCA Policy on Umpire Licensing, an Umpire must:
    • Register annually with RCA and the PRA in which they live and normally umpire, be active at the local and/or provincial level in the previous year, and
    • Be evaluated at three of five stations over every three-year period block (as specified in the RCA Umpires Evaluation Policy) and attend an umpire seminar once every three years. The stations include Start, Judge at the Start, Race Umpire, Control Commission and Finish Judge.

Chief Umpire (Level 3): after two years of serving as an Umpire and having a variety of regatta experiences (as specified below), an Umpire may take a Level 3 Chief Umpire (CU) clinic.

  • Required prior regatta experiences as a licensed Umpire include eight regattas as a member of the jury, over a minimum period of two years, which will include:
    • Three regattas at various levels: local, regional, provincial/interprovincial
    • Four different regatta venues (locations)
    • Experience in several types of regattas which must include: a mixture of seven standard-sprint races or head races and at least one of indoor competition, coastal rowing regatta or Para-rowing regatta.
  • As an Associate Chief Umpire, they then begin a period of practical training alongside a Chief Umpire.
  • During this program, the Associate Chief Umpire has the opportunity to participate:
    • In planning for the regatta (including liaison with the Regatta Chair in the sanction application, developing traffic patterns, recruiting and assigning the Jury, managing quality control issues addressed through a pre-regatta site visit, following weather protocols, reviewing the racing program, the numbers and training of volunteers, attending the meeting of coaches and addressing them)
    • During the regatta day (checking installations, chairing Jury meeting and post-regatta debrief, and handling decisions related to weather, race delays, umpire assignments, Rules interpretations, and Board of the Jury meetings) and
    • After the regatta (writing the Chief Umpire’s report).
  • To complete the practical training program, Associate Chief Umpires must attend at least five different regattas, at three regattas levels in that role (local, regional and provincial/interprovincial).
    • The five regattas must include one of each of a sprint race or a head race or indoor competition or coastal regatta, must take place over three different regatta venues and be completed within a three-year period of the date of the clinic.
  • Once the practical training is complete, the Associate Chief Umpire may write the written and practical exam, and upon successful completion, would be awarded a RCA Level 3 Chief Umpire certificate.

Clinician (Level 4): an Umpire Clinician conducts Umpire clinics, Chief Umpire clinics and Umpire exams as well as Umpire seminars and evaluations. Chief Umpires are nominated by their PRA and upon approval by the RCA Umpires Committee are eligible to become Clinicians. The training and evaluation program for Level 4 Clinicians is in development.

International Umpire (Level 5): an International Umpire is an umpire who has been nominated by their PRA, accepted by the RCA Umpires Committee into a two year training program and successfully completed the program organized and delivered by RCA and passed the FISA Umpire written and practical examinations. FISA Umpires are eligible to be appointed to the juries of the World Cup series, World Championships, and Olympic and Paralympic Games regattas. FISA Umpires are required to maintain their umpiring license from their National Federation.

Selection of Jury Members for 2023 Canadian National Events 

Please be advised that Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) is preparing the selection of the Juries (Chief Umpire, Deputy Chief Umpire, and members of the Jury) for the below listed National Events. All RCA licensed Umpires, or Chief Umpires, who are in good standing with RCA and their Provincial Rowing Association, and have completed the Safe Sport Module and Screening requirements, are invited to apply for nomination as Chief Umpire or Member of the Jury.

The National Events are:

  • 2023 Royal Canadian Henley Regatta (August 8 – 13, St. Catharines, ON)
  • 2023 Rowing Canada Aviron National Rowing Championships (September 29 – October 1, Quamichan Lake, B.C.)
  • 2023 Canadian University Rowing Association Championships (November 10 – 12, Burnaby Lake, BC)


Rowing Canada Aviron Umpires Development Program

Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) recognizes that development opportunities across the country are vital for the continuous development and retention of umpires.

The RCA Umpires Development Program was established in 2018 to support these opportunities.

Umpires interested in participating in the RCA Umpire Development Program should send an expression of interest directly to their Provincial umpires committee (or representative). For more information click here to contact Rowing Canada Aviron:

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