Dear all, I’ve said a few words recently after the Minihead and to the RecRowers about the region’s need for more umpires.

I hope we can run some training at Tees over the next couple of months so candidates can start their practice sessions from Chester le Street Regatta in April through the main racing season, and qualify by passing a practical exam before it ends in July.

Almost anyone can become an umpire – you don’t need to have raced or even rowed.  So parents, family and friends can take it up.  You do need to be 18 or over when you take the exam, but otherwise there are no restrictions.  Training is provided free.

Umpires run the racing at Regattas and Heads to ensure it is safe and fair.  The main jobs are Race Umpire on the bank or in a launch, Starter and Finish Judge.  You are expected to do a minimum of 3 competitions each season.

At each one, you would be on duty for one or more shifts of around 2 hours, with breaks and free food provided by the event.  The rota can usually accommodate other activities such as coaching and racing.  Most umpires attend competitions in their own region, but you can officiate at any British Rowing event (and Scottish also I believe).

There are further qualifications for Multilane and FISA (International).  To find out more, please talk to myself or the other umpires at the Club: Dick Wilkinson, Liz Puddick and Ashley Law. The first part of the training is classroom based, going through the Rules of Racing in 3-4 sessions.

I hope to organize these in the evenings at the Watersports Centre starting in February, on evenings to suit those taking part.

Anyone who started the training in the past but didn’t qualify for whatever reason, is welcome to sign up again. You could also link to the British Rowing Umpires page at And a summary of the rules can be found  at If you are interested or want to find out more, please email me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanks for your support, Dilwyn Jones